Bathroom Signs

You’ve seen bathroom signs posted beside doors, and you’ve seen these posted on the doors to the bathrooms as well. You may have also seen a few of these mounted overhead, and a few more sitting atop posts. This then begs the question, where exactly should bathroom signs be posted and are there rules that govern the placement of these signs?

Bathroom signs are part of the group of signs that need to adhere to strict ADA guidelines. This means that these signs need to follow strict rules as mandated by the ADA in order for these to be considered useful for everyone, including people with disabilities. This basically means that rules regarding sign color contrast, font, character size, pictogram size and even mounting height and location need to be followed according to ADA rules.

While some states may allow the use of only one bathroom sign for their bathrooms, others, like California, require establishments to install Title 24 bathroom signs, otherwise known as 12” ADA compliant bathroom signs on the doors of their bathrooms. These serve as supplementary signs that people with visual impairments can easily identify with their sense of touch.

These additional signs make determining whether a bathroom is for men, women or unisex due to telltale characteristics. Signs that are mounted on the doors of bathrooms made for the exclusive use of women should be round. The signs that are used on the doors of male bathrooms need to be triangular in shape. If a restroom can be used by both sexes, a round sign with a triangle superimposed on it should be mounted on the door.

Aside from these signs, a rectangular sign that measures 6” wide by 9” high with the same pictograms as the ones found on the door sign should also be purchased. These signs need to be mounted beside the door of the bathroom, at the same height as the door sign, which is 60 inches from the floor. The side of the door this should be mounted on should be the side where the latch can be found.

For ceiling mounted bathroom signs, as well as bathroom symbols that are included in overhead wayfinding signs, the size of pictograms and wordings have to be in line with guidelines set by the ADA regarding readability and distance. The character heights, pictogram sizes and other elements that people see on these signs have to be adjusted according to the mounting height of these signs. A few of these guidelines can be found in an earlier post here.