Unique Braille Kalendar magazine brings Jump racing to visually impaired

Dialogue has produced a unique Braille version of the Jockey Club South West’s annual magazine, Kalendar, designed to bring Jump racing to an audience that includes the visually impaired.

Kalendar magazine is aimed at fans of Jump racing, and centres around the world renowned Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire. In 2019 The Jockey Club South West approached Dialogue with a brief to do something different with the 2019-2020 issue of its glossy magazine. Some racing fans are visually impaired, including Andrew Gemmell, owner of Paisley Park, who won the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle at this year’s iconic Cheltenham Festival so to recognise this, the proposal was to create some specific content in Braille and insert it into the standard version of the magazine.

Consulting the Braille experts

Dialogue worked with the RNIB to assess how this might be done, it quickly became apparent that the weight of a 164 page magazine, packaged up and posted to racing fans, meant that anything in Braille that was inserted with the publication would be at least partially ‘de-bossed’ – meaning that the raised dots which enable Braille readers’ hands to pick up the words would be flattened by the existing pages, leading to an incomplete experience for the visually impaired.

Having quizzed many printers, Dialogue then found a Birmingham-based specialist printer called All Formats which has experience in creating Braille documents in quantity to  come up with a solution. Following feedback from visually impaired team members at All Formats and from the RNIB, the idea presented to The Jockey Club South West was to create a complete Braille translation of the entire magazine which would be ring bound and provided in three easy to handle volumes.

A unique racing experience

As part of the process, every element of the magazine was re-examined for Braille suitability, and many pages re-worded by Dialogue’s editorial team to provide a clearer explanation for readers who do not have the benefit of visual design cues. This included ticket pricing tables, social media references and QR code links. The final version was then proof read by Braille readers to ensure everything flowed properly and that it was a good reading experience. 

Positive response for Braille edition

Jockey Club South West was pleased with the Braille edition and commented: “We have worked with Archant Dialogue for a number of years on Kalendar magazine and we are aware of a number of people who often attend the races who are visually impaired so we felt it was important for us to produce a copy of the magazine in braille. It has received a really positive response from those customers.”

We’re very proud of Kalendar’s high production values which really capture the spirit of The Jockey Club South West, and the opportunity to bring it to a visually impaired audience was inspiring.

Laura Stringer, Account Director, Dialogue

Super Fan 2019-20 Peter Freeman was thrilled to receive a braille copy: “It is extremely nice of Cheltenham Racecourse to create a braille version for me to read that is so personal to me and I am very grateful as it is so unexpected. I hope that this encourages visually impaired people to be involved in racing and I personally appreciate all that Cheltenham Racecourse is doing to ensure that they are involved. It is a wonderful gift to receive and I cannot thank The Jockey Club enough.”

Laura Stringer, Account Director, Archant Dialogue said:  “It was an incredible opportunity to get involved with this project. We’re very proud of Kalendar’s high production values which really capture the spirit of The Jockey Club South West, and the opportunity to bring it to a visually impaired audience is inspiring. We had enormous help and encouragement on the project, not just from The Jockey Club, but also from the RNIB which applauded the concept and really got on board, helping us to understand the importance of Braille as well as the challenges involved in producing a large publication in it. Luckily our passion for bringing this project to life was shared by our transcription and printing partners All Formats, and we’re very proud of the end result.”

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