Below is a copy of John Slade’s text taken from his old Vision Awareness web site which details his background.

John has now retired and passed all of his previous work, designs, patents, Visual Impairment learning equipment etc, over to Kevin Foley now the only supplier of Johns Sladecolour products.


New maths symbol pegs are currently being tested and may become available in the near future, along with an acrylic peg board which is more robust, easily cleaned and has shaped edges to assist orientation.


You can contact Kevin via email. Please see the contacts page for details



I have been visually impaired from birth with two daughters at the time inheriting my eye condition. My attention was drawn to the need for something to be done about the provision of board games for people like us through the difficulties my daughters were having in playing games with their sighted friends from across the road. Although my daughters and I can see colour our poor vision made it difficult to play and enjoy most of the 'shop bought' games available at the time for a number of visual and tactile reasons. The only tactile games available at the time from the RNIB were devoid of any colour and mostly only for two players and unsuitable for our needs.

Shaped coloured buttons

Before I was able to introduce the first board games in 1980, I realised that as well as producing the shapes for the playing pieces in board games, it would also be helpful to use this system for other purposes where easily identified shapes could provide a simple to use means to identify the colour of clothing and other items around the home. So in 1978, the initial shape colour system (later extended to 16 shapes and colours) was used to produce a range of colour indicating buttons, which we were able to introduce two years before the games.

Shaped coloured playing pieces

The task of finding a way to convey colour by touch by matching colours to shapes as seen here, turned out to be the easy part of this R&D. The difficulty came in finding a way to produce the playing board itself giving adequate tactile information for the games we wanted to produce in equal tactile/visual graphics. This was ten years later. In the meantime, I was able to introduce a limited range from 1980 onwards in association with the RNIB, starting with the game of Ludo

Understanding the need for blind people to be able to relate to colour

The need for blind people to have access to the printed word has been long recognised. But the need and the social advantage for blind people to have a means to relate to colour by touch has so far in the main been unappreciated. This is an issue that is linked to all the projects in which I have an interest. Finding people with the necessary skills to assist in evaluating this issue is another objective towards achieving equal accessibility.

John T Slade

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