The team from Disability and Jesus have put together an impassioned plea for churches to apply three principles in all the literature they produce:
Their argument is based on two premises: firstly, that many visually impaired people are embarrassed to acknowledge their difficulty in reading and go to some lengths to cover it up. So even if your church is producing large-print alternatives to your normal notices and song sheets, they may not be reaching the people who need them, who do not wish to make themselves conspicuous by asking for special treatment. And secondly, we live in an age that is accustomed to good design, and a large print alternative that looks bland and uninteresting will probably land in the bin, unread. David Lucas and Bill Braviner make out a powerful case for churches producing everything in an accessible format, so that everyone can have equal access to the same information produced in a good quality design, without having to ask for some special concession. They reckon that you will be surprised how many people – not only those with overt visual impairments, but dyslexic people and older people who hate to admit that their sight is getting worse – will benefit from this.
The document is a long one – 50 pages are devoted to setting out the argument, although as it is all produced in large (16 point) font, it’s not as long as it seems at first glance. The second half of the document (pages 51 – 84) is dedicated to specific advice about such things as font size and style, type weight, contrast, spacing, positioning of pictures and photographs and many other details which will enable you to produce excellent documents which can be read by almost everybody without anyone having to declare their visual problem by asking for something in a different, accessible format.
The authors recognise that you may find it a bit overwhelming to include every single piece of their advice, but they hope to help point you in the right direction so that your church can produce every printed resource in a format that everyone can use. They believe this will not only eliminate the embarrassment of people having to ask for something different, but will also dramatically reduce the number of publications that end up unread in the bin.
It should be noted that where the document makes frequent reference to the Disability Discrimination Act, this has now been superseded by the Equality Act. Follow this link to find the document, go to and click on the PDF file ‘Clear Print’ at the bottom of the page.