ADA Signs

You may have heard of ADA guidelines, and how these can affect the many features of a building or establishment. Did you know that these very same guidelines also dictate how your office and business signs should look? The ADA is a law, after all, that clearly states what you can and cannot do when it comes to certain features of your buildings. These also have guidelines written for signs, and in order for these to be considered usable by everyone, such rules need to be strictly followed.

The guidelines that the government has put together for signage outline what features need to go onto each type, and which features can be omitted. For instance, if you are putting together signs that are to be posted beside office doors, the features you add to these will be dependent on whether these doors lead to rooms that are considered unchangeable (i.e. bathrooms, kitchens). If these are indeed rooms that are considered permanent, then guidelines for permanent room signs are what you need to follow.

This is how ADA rules dictate what go on your different signs, and what can be safely kept off. Not all signs are made equal, after all, since some signs have more features than others. To demonstrate this, let us compare permanent room signs with standard door signs.

Not all door signs require the use of braille or even raised characters, but all permanent room signs should have these. This is because permanent rooms, as the name implies, do not change usage anytime in the near future, so the signs that are on these carry unchangeable content as well. For other rooms, since these can change usage or users anytime, these may carry areas for sliding in names while the room number stays the same. The room number of these signs can be made in tactile letters and can come with Braille translations.

Other rules that are also used to dictate ADA rules include those that cover color contrast, fonts being used, and the finish of the material that the sign is made out of. All signs need to be made using a 70% color contrast. This is to enable everyone to easily discern the sign text from the sign background. This is why you can see signs that have either very dark background with rather light copy on it, or vice versa.  Fonts that are to be used on ADA compliant signs need to be sans serif, and the material finish of these should be matte, non-gloss, or non-reflective.

These are just a few of the guidelines that dictate what your signs should carry for these to be compliant with ADA standards. To find out more about ADA signs, and the many guidelines that cover these, as well as other ADA rules your establishment should follow, you should check out the ADA standards page for these.

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