The basic grid of a Braille alphabet character consists of six dots, positioned like the figure six on a die, in two parallel vertical lines of three dots each. From the six dots that make up the basic grid, 64 different signs can be created. Reading direction of Braille is the same as for regular type and the rules for hyphenation that apply for regular fonts also apply in Braille. The guidelines on Braille requirements for pharmaceutical labelling and packaging recommend that an un-contracted Braille alphabet system, conforming to the Marburg Mediumformat, should be used. In un-contracted Braille, each individual letter of the alphabet, punctuation mark etc. is represented by its own Braille character(s).
Braille character sets consist of letters, numbers, punctuation, symbols and special characters. Some parts of character sets are common between countries whereas other parts differ, e.g. Latin versus other alphabets and accented letters.
In the artwork creation process, the Braille character set to be used should be verified as appropriate for the country in which the medicinal product is to be supplied. The Marketing Authorisation Holder (MAH) and packaging supplier must check all Braille artwork for current accuracy and relevance. The EBU PharmaBraille Codes & Guidance area of this website, supported by RNIB and EBU, contains information on many country specific European Braille codes. The International Blindness Agencies Directorycan help to identify Braille organisations for each country.
If multi-market, multilingual packs are being produced with Braille text, the correct character sets should be identified and included in the artwork.
Capitalization should be avoided and trademark symbols omitted as these take up unnecessary space.
The letters a-z are common and standard for most braille country tables.
Note: It is recommended that there is no capitalisation in Braille text on pharmaceutical cartons.
Numbers use the same Braille characters as the letter symbols A to J - with the exception of France.
Note: When indicating numbers the number sign proceeds the Braille number to differentiate them from letter symbols A to J. In Europe the number is always terminated with a space. See example below.
Note: French Antoine Braille number symbols are unique characters and do not conform to the international numbers standard.
Note: A letter sign is required to be inserted between numbers and letters when numbers are immediately followed by letters. See example below.
Great Britain and the United States are two of the few places in the world that use a period to indicate the decimal place. Many other countries use a comma instead. The decimal separator is also called the radix character. Likewise, while the U.K. and U.S. use a comma to separate groups of thousands, many other countries use a period instead, and some countries separate thousands groups with a space. In ink print, thousand separators and decimal places may be either “.” or “,” depending on the country, but in Braille they are usually as shown above. However, please confirm with the relevant country Braille authority that the correct Braille character is being used.
It must be stressed that punctuation, abbreviated characters and accented characters vary from country to country.
Note: While every care has been taken to check the accuracy of the symbols used in each language, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. Please confirm Braille character sets with the relevant local Braille authority . The International Blindness Agencies Directorycan help to identify Braille organisations for each country.