Saturday, April 18

Can-Am Braille

Greetings. I received the following press release from a friend and thought it was appropriate to post here. Please excuse any formatting errors. Links are provided where appropriate. Enjoy.


The following press release was received via the National Federation of the
Blind and forwarded herein for your information.

It is an interesting announcement that will hopefully include many consumer
product-oriented industries down stream, including food and pharmaceutical,
and will make product information more readily available for the blind and
visually impaired.

Given that this announcement of a US and Canadian standard will likely lead
to making Braille labeling available and commonplace on millions of packages
over time, this is an even more compelling reason to encourage and support
Braille literacy for all age groups.

Mike Vandervoort
Board Member,
NFB of Texas, Abilene Chapter

PRESS RELEASE -- Converting Magazine, 3/19/2009 9:15:00 AM

To better satisfy the needs of the visually impaired in North America, the
International Association of Diecutting and Diemaking (IADD), located in
Crystal Lake, IL, has created "Can-Am Braille," a set of guidelines and
recommendations for the use of Braille on packaging.

The IADD worked in conjunction with the Braille Authority of North America
(BANA) over the past 18 months to develop the standard, whose official
release is set for Friday, May 8, at the 2009 IADD.FSEA Odyssey in Atlanta,

An informative technical workshop, "Let Your Fingers Do the Talking: Braille
on Folding Cartons" will review the North American standard in detail. All
participants will receive a copy; further distribution will take place
postworkshop through the IADD and BANA websites to reach out and bring
together the printing, paperboard packaging and pharmaceutical industries.

The standard has been reviewed and received its final approval by the IADD
Executive Committee and Board of Directors in January 2009.

"The use of Braille in packaging will continue to increase over the next
several years," predicts Stephen Brighton, IADD Braille Task Force Chair,
"following European pharmaceutical and food product packaging trends in

Brighton explains that in October 2005, a previous directive of the European
Commission regarding the use of Braille for pharmaceutical packaging was
implemented as law for newly approved medicinal products. To address these
requirements, the European Carton Manufacturers Association worked closely
with national carton associations from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France,
Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the
United Kingdom to develop a standard that is being used as a set of
guidelines and recommendations for the use of Braille on packaging. Can-Am
Braille is derived from this standard.

Already the Canadian and U.S. packaging markets are experiencing the effects
of the European requirements, with some larger pharmaceutical companies
incorporating Braille on their packaging for the last few years. It is
essential that a common standard be in place to ensure that blind and
visually impaired individuals will be able to benefit from its use. When
asked why the IADD chose to base its standard on a European one, Brighton
elaborates, "There is nothing about Braille that we can hold autonomous. We
have had the opportunity to collaborate with BANA to marry their knowledge
of Braille with our knowledge of what's practically possible when applying
Braille to paperboard substrates. What we are really dealing with is the
independence of the visually impaired. Our responsibility is to ensure that
their independence is respected and that we, as an industry, do the best
that we can to produce pharmaceutical, fast food or other types of
paperboard packaging with the best quality braille for readability and
continuity through the use of the standard. Otherwise the purpose of
producing the Braille and the resources it takes in these economic times
ends up being an exercise in futility for everyone involved."

"We are looking forward to the implementation of this standard," said Judy
Dixon, chair for the Braille Authority of North America, "It will have the
effect of making more Braille labels to help blind people identify the
packages in their everyday lives and this will be a very positive step

Interestingly, no government legislation similar to that of Europe is
currently proposed in the U.S. or Canada that would require pharmaceutical
packaging to have Braille on it. The original concept of creating a North
American standard stemmed from a Braille workshop and discussions at an IADD
Can-Am Chapter meeting. Some members had participated in a Braille workshop
at the IADD Annual Meeting in Switzerland in November 2006. It was felt that
a proactive approach on the part of industry to develop and implement its
own standard would be a way of reducing or even eliminating legislative
intervention. This has allowed the standard to be developed in a time frame
that fosters continuity, making it more of an international standard, and
that ensures it will work from a practical standpoint.

The IADD Board approved the Can-Am Braille standard in January 2009. The
BANA Board reviewed and has approved the IADD Can-Am Braille standard in
November 2008.

Contact: Jill May, IADD Chapter Relations Coordinator, International
Association of Diecutting and Diemaking.

For more information about the IADD, visit

For more information about BANA, visit

1 comment:

  1. thanks for posting the press release. I look forward to the day that I get packaging that has braille on it.