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All About Codes For Signs

There are specific codes for signs that are part of the ADA or the Americans with Disabilities Act.  This is important information that you want to acquaint yourself with before erecting any notice in a public building.  The ADA has strict guidelines that must be adhered to in order to make sure that everyone, regardless of their individual handicap or disability, can properly utilize the placard for independent guidance.  This often means the inclusion of Braille for the sight impaired and pictograms as well. 

In addition to Braille, other codes for signs include proper placement, depending on what the area is designated for and where in the building it will be needed.  Some of these guidelines state that all fonts must be in an eggshell color that is glare resistant when being included in a notice behind glass.  There is a height/width ration that must be complied with when designing placards as well.  There must be contrast in accordance to the lettering, meaning that lighter letters are assigned darker backgrounds and darker letters are assigned lighter backgrounds for optimal reading ability.  Guidelines also dictate that pictograms and lettering used for room identification must be raised and situated in a six inch high area.  There must also be Braille and raised text below it. 

There are guidelines for each individual type of directory, so the codes for signs vary with the designated purpose of that signage.  For instance, when they are overhead they must be at least eighty inches high, and the font on these suspended signs must be at least 3 inches high and printed with uppercase lettering.

There are many other stipulations that mandate what the codes for signs are, and these also vary depending on their intended usage.  The ADA signage is very clear and distinctive about what types of font are allowed, how far apart the lettering is to be placed, how high it should be on each, the colors that are permitted to be used, proper placement, as well as what types of information must be included, again depending on what the purpose is to be.  Way finding directions have different regulations than room identification.  There are many different types of codes for signs, and all of these should be investigated before you attempt to post any type of placard to make sure that you are in correct compliance with this law.  Failure to maintain these and adhere to the regulations can result in serious consequences such as lawsuits and steep fines.

There are some instances where the ADA makes an exception to its rule, such as temporary placards.  Something that is designated as temporary is not required to maintain the ADA requirements.  This type of signage is described as menu board or those that contain non-permanent information about a room, such as the occupant’s name. 

Any building or structure that is considered new construction must comply with the ADA guidelines that are set forth in order to make the building or structure accessible to everyone, regardless of handicap, impairment or disability.


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