What is ADA Signage?
According to the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, ADA signs are signs specifically made so that individuals, including those with visual or other sensory disabilities, are able to easily locate and read them, visually or through braille or tactile touch.
ADA signs are specially designed to be posted in most public buildings (specified below) that ensure that individuals with disabilities will have equal access to public buildings as do those without disabilities. ADA signage is required to present the same information to all people irrespective of physical limitations.
Why ADA Signage is Necessary
Federal Law mandates that all public buildings and spaces must maintain proper, up-to-date ADA signage throughout their facilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was enacted to strictly prohibit “discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.”
Another key reason that ensuring ADA compliant signage is properly posted throughout your buildings is to eliminate the possibility of your organization being charged with lawsuits, government penalties, and fines. While ADA requirements are simple to follow, many facilities fail to take the time or make the effort to post the appropriate signage and end up facing unnecessary and expensive consequences.
What Buildings Qualify as Commercial Buildings Needing Proper ADA Signage?
According to the ADA, any building used as a place of public accommodation is required to post ADA signage throughout. These include, but are not limited to, office buildings, school campuses, manufacturing plants and warehouses, hotels, restaurants and bars, and municipal buildings.
When Are ADA Signs Required?
Braille/tactile signs are required for:
- Signs that display the locations of floors, stairwells, and all exit levels
- Signs posted at every elevator
- Signs that display the locations of all restrooms
- Signs posted at every permanent room (such as a conference room, lunch room, storage room, or closet that will not change function for the foreseeable future)
When Are ADA Signs Not Required?
ADA compliant signs are not required for rooms including the following (among others):
- Rooms that do not serve a permanent function or that are temporary in nature, such as classrooms and individual offices – these rooms can be identified with a simple room number sign
- Temporary signs (posted for seven days or less)
- Building directories
- Building addresses
- Parking signs
- Advertising/marketing signs
- Company logos and names
Keeping ADA Signs Compliant
ADA signage must be kept current and coincide with the latest official ADA regulations. This should be monitored regularly to ensure that your buildings are up-to-date at all times. Please visit the United States Access Board for the most recent updates and current regulations.
ADA Sign Basics
- All ADA signs must include lowercase braille and uppercase tactile letters. Braille letters must be rounded and domed.
- All ADA signs must be made of highly contrasting colors (dark/light or light/dark) for easy readability.
- All ADA signs must use san serif fonts and include spacing of 1/8 inch between adjoining characters for easy readability.
- Placement – All ADA room identification signs must be placed next to the doors they refer to. All permanent signs must be mounted between 48 and 60 inches from the ground.
- All ADA signs (other than traffic and reflective parking signs) must have non-glare backgrounds and characters.
- ADA signs include four universal accessibility symbols:
- Wheelchair, symbolizing mobility
- An ear, signifying the availability of an assistive listening device
- Keyboard, representing a text telephone (TYY)
- Phone symbol with sound waves, representing the availability of a volume control phone
Choosing A Reputable ADA Sign Manufacturer
There are many companies that supply ADA signage. When you’re equipping your buildings with required ADA signs, it is key to choose a company that is diligent about keeping up with current ADA requirements and producing appropriate ADA signage. Our Customer Focus Team at CustomSigns.com is here to answer your questions and guide you every step of the way.