Braille & Symbol Signs - Jan 2011

Gravograph wins Technical Innovation award for new automated Braille system

Gravograph’s Braille kit Jesus Cervantes, Head of Product Development, and Franck Martinez, Head of European Operations. Toilet Braille Sign
Gravograph was awarded the first prize at the Icona d'Or award ceremony in the Technical Innovation category for its new fully automated Braille system. The competition was organised by professional sign association Synafel. Gravograph's Braille kit comes at a time when demand for Braille signage is considerably increasing in response to stricter requirements following the 2004 Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

So what's different about Gravograph's Braille kit? Other systems rely on drilling holes into the sign, covering the signs with beads and using a simple press to push some of the beads into the holes. This method is somewhat messy as beads invariably end up on the workbench or floor and is described by some users as 'hit and miss' as several attempts are generally required to get all the holes inserted with a bead.

In response to this problem Gravograph has developed a bead dispenser kit that fits onto the engraving machine's head. The machine starts with drilling the holes and will then quickly and accurately insert a bead into each hole. The kit remains on the machine even when not in use, eliminating any time consuming set-up time when Braille signage is required. The company has also developed a range of tools specifically designed for drilling into Gravotac™ engraving laminate, acrylic, brass, aluminium, stainless steel and more. Gravograph's GravoStyle software also includes a Braille wizard that will ensure that even inexperienced users will create fully DDA compliant signage, says Gravograph.

Gravograph's Braille kit was praised for its ease of use as well as efficiency and recognised as a significant step towards improved Braille sign making.

For further information and to arrange an on site demonstration, contact Gravograph on 01926 88 44 33 or go to the website

Seek the right advice at the design stage, says Fastsigns Chelmsford

Jenny Boreham of Fastsigns Chelmsford (right) FASTSIGNS Chelmsford has been in business since 1995, using innovation and technology to make the sign buying process simple for its customers, from concept to completion. The Fastsigns team regularly supplies customers within Essex and London with Braille and tactile signage.

Business owner Jenny Boreham, has a few words of wisdom: "With Braille signage it's very important to fully understand the Disabilities Discrimination Act (DDA) to avoid applying Braille to signs either unnecessarily or in unsuitable locations. A recent, typical example I came across was a large construction project where the architect had specified Braille/tactile information on a directory board, which was installed at above head height and therefore completely inaccessible. My advice would be to first seek the advice of a signage company that fully understands the DDA, at the design stage, to avoid wasting time and money. FASTSIGNS centres have the expertise to challenge unnecessary decisions, and advise how and where Braille signage should be applied."

To contact Fastsigns Chelmsford, telephone 01245 350450 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pictograms used in way finding

Icons used alongside text mean this sign can be understood by more people. Signage by Vista System International. A sign with a laser cut-out pictogram built in at the top.
Pictogram, as defined by Webster Dictionary, is a "figure which describes a situation or prescribes specific behavior and which is used on a signboard or illuminated surface".

Pictograms and icons are a keystone of nonverbal communication. The earliest examples of pictographs include ancient or prehistoric drawings or paintings found on rock walls. Early written symbols were based on pictures which resembled what they signified (i.e. pictographs) as well as symbols which represented ideas (i.e. ideograms).

Pictograms remain in common use today, as a means of conveying information (concept, object, activity, place or event). Because of their graphical nature and fairly realistic style, they are widely used to indicate public areas such as information stands, toilets, security check post, and many other places.

Simply stated, Pictographs often transcend any one single language in that they can communicate to speakers of most (if not all) languages effectively. Accordingly, one can see pictograms widely used in direction of road traffic as well as pedestrians.

Several different pictogram regulations and programs exist worldwide (EC sign regulations, UK sign regulations, Disability Discrimination Act, American with Disabilities ACT, American Professional Association for Design, DOT Program, etc.); however, in an effort to create a unified language, a standard set of pictograms was defined in the international standard ISO 7001 (Public Information Symbols), reflecting the increasing needs and desires of humankind to communicate with one another without barriers.

Pictograms are most commonly used within the sign frame as part of the displayed message. However, unique solutions, such as laser cut-out pictograms offered by Vista System, are available and offer added value to the basic design.

* Danny Schneider is director of business development for Vista System International, which offers way finding sign systems.

For more information, visit

A simple and effective laser cut-out pictogram.
Design by