Archant Dialogue creates first ever Braille version of the official Jockey Club South West magazine, Kalendar

January 7th, 2020

Archant Dialogue has produced a unique version of the Jockey Club South West’s influential annual magazine, Kalendar, designed to bring its rich content 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. To recognise this, the proposal was to create some specific content in Braille and insert it into the standard version of the magazine.

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 – for example utility bills – to  come up with a solution. Following feedback from visually impaired team members at All Formats and from the RNIB, the ultimate idea presented back to The Jockey Club South West was to not just create part of the magazine in Braille, but to create a complete Braille translation of the entire magazine. This would then be ring bound and provided in three volumes to protect the bossing and make each volume easy to handle.

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.

According to Cheltenham Racecourse: “We have worked with Archant Dialogue for a number of years now on Kalendar magazine, which is a hugely popular publication produced on an annual basis for our customers. We are aware of a number of people who often attend the races here and who are visually impaired and 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.”

Peter Freeman, Super Fan 2019-2020, who received one of the braille copies said: “It was extremely nice of Cheltenham Racecourse to create a braille version for me to read. It was so personal to me and I was very grateful as it was so unexpected. I hope that this encourages of visually impaired people to be involved in racing and I personally appreciate all that Cheltenham is doing to ensure that they are involved. It was 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 was 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.”

Simon Oakley of All Formats added: “As an organisation that has a heritage stretching back over 20 years in producing accessible formats, we were delighted to be asked by Archant Dialogue, to work with them to produce a braille version of The Jockey Clubs Kalendar magazine. From the outset, we could feel the excitement and commitment from the Dialogue team, to produce an accessible and high quality magazine, which would allow it to reach a wider and more diverse audience, whilst maintaining its prestigious feel.”

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