Guest Blog by Clarke Reynolds, Outside In

Here’s a guest blog from Clarke Reynolds, a visually impaired artist who has been working with the museum’s collection as part of our collaboration with charity Outside In.

Wow, what a day!

I believe we made history using the Stanhope Press that printed out the original  London Underground posters back in the day. Myself, a visually impaired artist, Clarke Reynolds and a professional Printmaker, Typographer Tom Boulton printed out Braille.

Yes, you heard it here first! Braille – a tactile typeface used to help blind people read…

But if you took Braille out of its context and looked at the pattern, it’s a beautiful graphic design and, for an artist who can’t see, I still appreciate good design.

The way the dots in a simple domino pattern create graphic shapes especially when you write sentences – as the negative space is as important as the positive..

So as an artist, I had this idea of producing it in print and this course has allowed me to fulfil this ambition with the help of Tom, who fully embraced my ideas, making a box of dots and blanks plus cheat sheets as you have to mirror the Braille and you can imagine how hard that is with letters that are different – try it with the same shape as a circle..

I feel really blessed to be producing work on a press that has so much history, with all the guild members printing books and posters ..To be allowed to follow in their footsteps is a great honour and I hope I’ve done the ethos of the guild proud.

So we achieved history, I think, by printing out A-Z in Braille using black ink on yellow paper, as this is a high contrast for visually impaired people. For me as an artist, the process was exciting, pushing the boundaries of typography and what Braille can be. In the future I want to take Braille beyond what you normally touch and see, allowing people who can see  to appreciate the design. Teaching Braille through pattern recognition not just about tactility -they also can learn Braille just like I have through my art.