How to read a BrasCode
When we look at a BrasCode, there are three different elements that are important:
Letters (on a shape)

Let's look at those elements step by step.

A BrasCode is divided into squares by some sort of invisible grid (like a checkerboard). The different fields in the grid can have two different shapes (unless the field is empty):

A Cross:

A Square (with different possible colors):

Of these two shapes the "Cross" is the most important one. It tells us where the hidden message begins. So this is the place in the grid where we start reading.

In short: X marks the starting-point.

Each color represents a "vowel" (and a direction but we'll get to that later) as shown below:

 = A
 = I
 = E
 = O
 = U
 = The start of a new word (the "Cross" is also black)

So if we arrive at a red square during the "reading" of a BrasCode, we now know it represents the letter "E", and a blue square the letter "I", etc... So we add that letter to the message we're trying to read. The letters that are visible on the shape (if there are any) come afterwards.

Letters on a shape
A shape can contain 0-5 letters (no vowels) on it. When we arrive at a shape that has letters on it, we add those letters to the message we're trying to read. The letters on the shape will always be shown in this order:

1. 2.
3. 4.

This is the order in which you read the letters. It is also possible that a shape doesn't have any letters on it. In that case you can just move to the next shape without adding letters.

At this point you're probably still very confused about all this, but there are already a couple of things we've learned:
X marks the starting-point
Each shape with a color represents a "vowel"
The color "Black" means it's the start of a new word
When reading, the color ("vowel") comes before the letters on that same shape

The BrasCode Compass
To make reading a BrasCode easier, I've created the "BrasCode Compass":

This compass shows not only the color of each vowel but also the direction you needed to go for that vowel:
A = UP
U = UP

As you can see both "A" and "U" are UP.

The direction of a colored shape (and the represented "vowel") means that that colored shape is always located in that direction from the shape you came from. So if the shape is PURPLE, it's always located ABOVE the shape you came from. And if the shape is BLUE, it's always located on the RIGHT side of the shape you came from.

Let's look at an example of a BrasCode and try reading it:

(this one says: "TEXT TO READ")

In this example we can clearly see a Cross shaped field in the upper-right corner. So we know where to start reading. We already see our first letter on this shape. It's the letter "T". This is the first letter of the hidden message.

Now comes the hard part. To continue reading we have to go either UP, DOWN, LEFT or RIGHT from the starting-point. In this case all the fields arround the cross are empty except for the one below. This means that if we want to continue reading we need to go DOWN.

If we look at the compass we see that DOWN also represents the letter "E". And we also see the color RED so we know the direction and the letter is correct, so we add the letter "E" to the "T" we already had. We also see two extra letters on the shape. The "X" and another "T", so we add those as well. If you now read the letters in the order you added them you should read the word "TEXT".

But we can still see a lot more shapes we haven't read yet. So let's continue. We can see there is only one (unread) BLACK shape below the RED shape. This means we go DOWN one field and the message continues with a new word.

IMPORTANT: A black square (start of a new word) is always located in the same direction (from the shape before) as the last direction you went. So in this case our last direction was DOWN so the black square (start of our new word) is located DOWN from our last shape.

Since the shape is BLACK (instead of a color), we don't get to add a vowel to our message but a SPACE. Now we add the letters on the shape again. In this case another "T" (so we should now have "TEXT T").

The next unread shape is located on the LEFT so we add the letter "O" (as shown on the compass) to the message.

The next unread shape is also located on the LEFT but is BLACK. So instead of a vowel we add a SPACE again and a new word starts. On the BLACK square we see the letter "R" so we add it to the message.

Now we encounter something new. Both UP and DOWN from the BLACK square are unread shapes. And both colors of the shape are in the correct direction if we look at the compass. This means we can either go UP or DOWN. Both ways would be correct so this message could have two different outcomes. Let's have a look.

If we choose to go UP first we get the vowel "A" (green square) and the letter "D" (letter on shape). Now we go DOWN to the next unread shape. But what's this??? Our way is blocked by the (already read) BLACK square! No worries. We just over all of the "already read" shapes (in this case just one) to the next unread shape and add the vowel "E" (red square) to the message. The message is now complete.

If we choose to go DOWN first we get the vowel "E" (red square). Now we go UP to the next unread shape. So we jump over all of the "already read" shapes (in this case one) to the next unread shape and add the vowel "A" (green square) to the message. The message is now complete.

If you went UP first the message would be: "TEXT TO RADE".
If you went DOWN first the message would be: "TEXT TO READ".

Accourding to the reading rules described above, both messages would be considered correct. You can determine for yourself which of the two messages is the correct message. ;)

In short
So in (very) short it comes down to:
Go to starting-point:
1. Add letters on shape.
2. Goto next unread shape and add "vowel" (if shape is BLACK add SPACE instead).
Repeat step 1 and 2 till you have the message.

It might still take some practice to read a BrasCode correctly. And of course you can still encounter some tricky situations (fields where you can choose between different directions with unread shapes for example), but if you practice with the examples and puzzles shown on this website, you'll quickly get the hang of it. :)


Copyright 2012-
All work, content and images on this site are copyright of Anne Bras, all rights reserved.