ADA Signage

One of the things that you need to make sure of when you order your signs, and even when you are assessing the signs that you already have up around your facility, is whether or not every single one is compliant with ADA standards.

Different kinds of signs come with different sets of rules for compliance, which means you will need to know which set of rules applies to every sign you have or need to have. To help you with this, here are some of the more commonly used signs in and around establishments, and what basic rules you need to adhere to when it comes to ADA compliance:

Permanent room signs – these are signs that are used on rooms and spaces that are not going to change usage anytime soon. Examples of such rooms and spaces include closets, bathrooms, kitchens and the like. For the signs that are used for these spaces and rooms, you need to follow rules that include:

Color contrast – these signs need to have a 70% color contrast between the characters and the background. This is to ensure that what is written on these signs can be easily read by everyone. This is also to make sure that signs are not made using colors that are too close in color to each other, which will make these signs rather hard to understand.

Tactile features – tactile features include letters, numbers, pictograms and Braille translations. These are parts of the sign that a person can understand with the use of their sense of touch. These features are added to signs to help people with visual impairments understand what is on them. The use of both tactile characters and Braille translations on these signs is due to the fact that not everyone with visual impairments can read Braille, hence the need for tactile letters and numbers.

Fonts used – the fonts on these signs need to be sans serif, or without those stylish extra strokes that you find on serif fonts. Sans serif fonts are easier to read, both visually and with the sense of touch, since these do not confuse readers due to the removal of the extra strokes that some fonts have. Some sans serif fonts that you can use include Verdana, Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, and Trebuchet MS, to name but a select few.

Directional signs – these are signs that are utilized by most buildings to help show people where to go and where to find certain rooms as well as facilities. These do not have as many rules to follow as permanent rooms signs, however some of the rules that cover the former is also required with this particular type of signage. For instance, rules regarding color contrast and font usage are required here, but tactile features are not. Here are some of the other rules that need to be followed when it comes to these signs:

Character height as per mounting height – when it comes to directional signs, and other signs that may be mounted overhead, or at a higher level than 60 inches off the ground, the size of the characters on these need to be adjusted for proper reading at a specified distance.  The higher up the sign, the bigger the characters should be to allow for easy reading even from a distance. 

Non-glare and non-gloss finish – this is actually required of all signs that are considered ADA signage, since this ensures that no light reflects off of the surface of these signs when these are being read. Matte and flat colors are encouraged when these signs are being created to assure of this feature.

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