For a flash free version, click here

Illustrations for low literacy communication

CDS-owned illustration system (2010)

Adobe illustrator

Brief: CDS Easy Read was looking to expand upon its highly successful illustrated Easy Read publications (designed for an audience with visual and/or learning difficulties). A different style of illustration was required for an audience who needed Easy Read words due to low literacy, rather than disability.

Being aimed at a low literacy audience, it is very important that the characters do not appear at all childlike, as that could be insulting. The illustration style has to be more like an instructional diagram, not a children's book, with simple keylines and flat colour.

The key to developing this illustration system was the faces. One standard face is used across all the characters, and is available showing many different emotions, each one in face-on, profile, and three-quarter positions.

There are distinct male and female bodies, again drawn face-on, in profile, and three-quarters-on. The bodies are 'jointed' for easy positioning, and come with a full range of clothing types. By selecting the correct face and body, adding a hairstyle, and adjusting the skin tones, any adult character can be created with minimum drawing time and maximum consistency.

A separate range of faces and bodies for children completes the character range. Together with backdrops and objects, these characters form the basis for a complete, flexible illustration system owned entirely by CDS, and licenced for use in publications.