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ADA Signs

ADA signs are those signs mandated by the 1992 Federal Americans with Disabilities Act which was enacted to help make public places more easily accessible to Americans with disabilities.

To help those with visual impairments, ADA signs must be finished with matte or another non-glare surface, and they must also have the proper width to height ratio.  Characters and symbols must contrast with their background, meaning a light background would require dark lettering, or a dark background would require lighter lettering.

There are also many different requirements for signs that are permanent, international signs, wayfinding signage or regulatory signs.  For instance, some ADA signs must also incorporate the use of pictograms, braille and tactile characters which are raised 1/32 of an inch.  The characters used must also be a minimum of 5/8 of an inch up to a maximum of 2 inches.  The font must be Sans Serif and upper case in the event that the sign indicates room identification.  Temporary signage does not have to comply with federal guidelines.

Signage requirements may also vary slightly from state to state.  However, most states have similar requirements. State and local requirements for ADA signs can also vary, so before erecting a sign make sure to check what the specific laws might be in your area.

There are many places where you will see signs of this nature outside of buildings such as wheelchair accessible building entrances, rooms within buildings and parking spaces that are designated for individuals that are handicapped.  They will also note wider walk ways, mark entrances and exits designated for handicap individuals, identify passenger loading and unloading zones, identify rescue assistance areas and provide assistance to the nearest accessible facility. 

Inside you will see signs that provide guidance to elevators, hoist ways, restrooms, identify volume control phones, mark permanently designated rooms and identify functional areas.

The Americans with Disabilities Act outlines important requirements such as the placement of signage.  There are also guidelines for specific lettering, sign design, colors, contrasts, finishes, and the use of various pictorial symbols.

There are generally four types of pictorials or pictograms that are designated for signage.  One is the wheelchair symbol or the international symbol of access.  It allows persons with mobility impairments to identify areas that are accessible by wheelchair.  The other three are specifically designed for hearing impaired individuals.  The “ear” pictogram is universally accepted as the International Symbol of Access for Hearing Loss.  The “keyboard” pictogram stands for TTY or text telephone.   The “phone” pictogram accompanied by wavy lines indicates access to a volume controlled phone.

Most public buildings are covered by ADA requirements, while residential homes are not, unless they are complexes with five or more housing units.  ADA signs are required for all new public buildings.

ADA signs are not only a federal requirement but more importantly, they mean that people who have disabilities can enjoy the same freedom and accessibility that everyone has to go about their daily routine.  Using this signage means that people who have hearing, sight, or mobility impairments be able to maintain more independence by navigating building entrances and interiors safely and more freely.

Kaiser International has been makig signs for over twenty years, and our experts know all the requirements for these signs and can help you incorporate them into your branding and premises so that you can accomodate all of your clients and customers--with and without disabilities. We can also help you with all of your custom signs including acrylic fabrication, banners, and vehicle graphics and wraps.

Related Topics:
  • Bathroom Signs
  • Handicap Signs

  • Back to main topic: ADA Signage
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