Architectural Signs

Putting together an architectural signage system requires that you come up with numerous signs for the many signage needs of your business. This will include signs that you will use outdoors and signs that are used indoors. This will also mean that some of your architectural signs will need to meet the compliance requirements set by the ADA for signs.

So, what are the signs in your architectural signage system that need to meet ADA rules and what rules are these? The ADA requires that specific signs follow very specific rules in order for these to be deemed compliant and usable by everyone. Since these rules are considered mandatory, failure to follow the rules set by the government for these signs can result in penalties and fines.

Since architectural sign systems consist of both indoor and outdoor signs, you will need to determine which ones need to have ADA elements on them. Not all of these signs need to follow the strict guidelines set for such signage, so knowing which ones to tweak, and which ones can carry the original design you have planned for these, will help you avoid problems brought about by non-compliance.

For starters, signs that are to be used indoors are generally perceived to be ADA signs. While most of the signs that are used indoors are indeed subject to the rules of the government, not all of these need to have ADA features on them. The type of sign that actually needs to follow the most number of rules from all the architectural signs you have is the one they call permanent room signs. These signs are the ones you see marking rooms and areas that are not going to change usage anytime soon, such as auditoriums, locker rooms, bathrooms and kitchens, to mention a few.

Permanent room signs need to follow more ADA guidelines than any other ADA signage that you might have in your architectural signage system. These need to have tactile characters on them such as tactile letters, Braille translations, and tactile pictograms. These also need to follow the requisite color contrast percentages set by the ADA, the proper character height and size to signage size ratio, and the use of fonts that are sans serif.

Also part of the list of rules that need to be followed when it comes to permanent room signs are the use of non-glare and non-gloss finishes, the right placement of pictograms and characters, and the proper mounting height as well as location of these signs. While the last rule has nothing to do with design ideas for architectural signs, it does play a big part in compliance requirements since these signs need to be reachable by human hands for the tactile characters on these to be of any use.

For other signs, those that are not used to mark permanent rooms and spaces, a few of these rules still need to be followed. Signs like directory signs, directional signs, and informational signage, need to adhere to such ADA sign rules like color contrasts, non-glare and non-gloss finishes, proper mounting height, and character size as per mounting height ratios. You will also need to ensure that the wordings on these signs are easy to read, although the use of sans serif fonts is not a requirement for these.

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