Aktion Mensch e.V.

Die Bunte Bande

How about that? All children can read the same book. Visually challenged children, blind children, deaf children, children with learning difficulties, your children. There’s no special treatment, no complicated separate way anymore. One edition for everybody. Easy-Peasy?


That’s exactly the kind of groundbreaking and important book project we inkl.Designers are tackling together with “Aktion Mensch”, for the very first time in Germany.

The children’s book series “Die Bunte Bande” (“The Colourful Gang”) around the five friends Tessa, Tom, Jule, Henry and Leo – each with their individual strengths and weaknesses – introduces topics like diversity and inclusion in a way that’s exciting and suitable for children at the same time.

In earlier editions of “Bunte Bande” only its content was related to inclusion. But quite quickly it became clear: it’s all or nothing. The goal had to be a fully inclusive edition.

Because there were no comparable books on the market for the target group – children between the ages of eight and eleven – we had to become experts ourselves in order to develop a completely new, inclusive book for all new readers. For younger visually challenged and blind children there are a handful of well-designed picture books.

But when the sensitive phase of early support ends with school entry, it looks pretty dark as far as appealing book material is concerned.

But what special needs do challenged children have when they are learning to read? How can large print, Braille and Easy-to-Read Language be elegantly and reader-friendly reconciled? Together with experts from special education, didactics and everyday experts, we have developed suitable theories and found convincing solutions.

Not only in terms of design, but also in the large-scale production of a circulation of 2,000 books, we have broken new ground with the “Bunte Bande”.
The fifth volume “The Stolen Bike” is pioneering. We are proud of our first inkl.Design children’s book. And we can be, because the edition of the children’s book series realised by inkl.Design with partners is winner of the German Design Award 2020 in the category Universal Design, won the Silver Award 2019 from the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD), received the prize “Outstanding Books for Young People With Disabilities 2019” and was awarded the Kimi seal for diversity 2018.

And by the way: to make sure young readers can enjoy the earlier adventures of the „Bunte Bande“ as well, we subsequently realized also them as inclusive books in the combination of Easy-to-Read Language, large print and Braille.

A Glance at the Book

Cover of the book "Die Bunte Bande, Das gestohlene Fahrrad". In the upper left corner of the picture a black circular sticker. In it, 5 colourful hands are visible. On it is written in large white letters: \"Inclusion in Germany\". In the lower left corner the seals of the prizes for the Bunte Bande
Close-up of an inside page of the book with all members of the Coloured Gang and Braille
Close-up of an inside page of the book. At the top left of the picture, an illustration is visible in which an educator is applying make-up to a child. Below this is a text in both black and braille. At the upper right edge of the picture, a pictogram with Braille is arranged. An arrow points to the braille of the book page.
An open double page of the book. Across the entire format is an illustration of the colourful gang with educator Ben. Again, blackletter and braille are combined. The next easy-language page is already peeking out from the right edge of the book.
Close-up of a blue easy language page, which always follows a double page with everyday language and Braille. In the upper left corner of the picture is a pictogram for easy language. An arrow points to the book page.
Close-up of a blue easy language page, which always follows a double page with everyday language and Braille. In the upper left corner of the picture is a pictogram for easy language. An arrow points to the book page.
Excerpt from the presentation of the inclusive children's book ”Die Bunte Bande” with marking of visually impaired-friendly design elements
In a row, the issue of the Bunte Bande \"Das gestohlene Fahrrad\" (The Stolen Bicycle) lies next to other subsequently inclusive issues of the Bunte Bande.

Inclusion in Use

Graphic of a double page with explanations of the individual elements of the page
Graphic explaining the structure of the book
Photo of a blind woman reading from The Colourful Gang to three interested sighted children
Photo of a blind woman with two girls sitting next to her, feeling the Braille dots in the coloured ribbon
Photo of a blind woman reading from an inclusive children's book to three sighted children. Everyone is visibly enjoying themselves and laughing merrily.
Six incl-designers celebrate the children's book award with confetti and streamers. They hold a banner that reads: 2019 Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities.

Project Details

Project Scope: Development of a publication concept for the first inclusive children’s book in Germany, Consulting of illustrators, Advice on technical production issues (Braille, book binding, logistics), Consulting (typography, fonts, contrasts), Realisation of the braille text, Proofreading of the Braille texts, Checking the design for accessibility

Earlier Bunte Band issues lying side by side.
A boy looks over the top of the book with wide eyes.
a red coloured area
A hand feels the Braille letters in the Bunte Bande book
A grass green coloured surface
A girl and two boys are sitting side by side on the floor with their backs against a wall. The girl reads the stories of the colourful gang to the two boys.
Cover of a proof copy of the book "Die Bunte Bande, Das gestohlene Fahrrad" (The Colourful Gang, The Stolen Bicycle) with many yellow correction slips in it
Close-up of a hand sticking a correction note into the boo
Close-up of the book cover "Die Bunte Bande, Der neue Bandentreff".
A dark blue coloured area
A cosy listening room can be seen. The book "Die Bunte Bande" (The Colourful Gang) is being read aloud on the stage. On the floor in front of it, children sit and lie on colourful cushions and listen intently.
A bright yellow coloured surface
Close-up of an illustration of a girl with a correction slip on it
A child reads a Bunte Bande book and feels over the braille letters.
Close-up of an illustration from the book. A magnifying glass enlarging a text