Did you know that every permanent room or space of your business is required to have ADA compliant signage by federal law? What’s more, if your business doesn’t meet ADA regulations, you can face up to $75,000 for one signage violation and up to $150,000 for subsequent violations – ouch!

Here at Abbott Image Solutions, we get a lot of questions about ADA signage. So, we’re here to tell you why it’s important, what it means for your business, and how to ensure you’re up to code.

First things, first…

What is ADA Signage?

“ADA” stands for “Americans with Disabilities Act” which was passed in 1990 and, as of 2011, is enforceable by federal law. Since the act was passed, all permanent signage (including exit signs) must be conveniently located and easy to read both visually and through tactile touch with braille.

ADA compliant signage plays a large role in making sure you’re providing the best experience to all your customers – including those with visual disabilities. Chances are, you’ve been to an establishment with ADA compliant signage. Below are common examples of ADA signs:

  • Exit Signs
  • Bathroom Signs
  • Directional Signs
  • Elevator Signage

ADA Sign Standards & Guidelines – What You Need To Know

The world of ADA signage parameters can be overwhelming and is subject to change year to year. We’ve outlined the most pressing, up-to-date guidelines below:

General ADA Standards:

Using Character Properties & Braille Dots

Credit: Inpro

  • Raised characters must be uppercase, sans serif and free of oblique, script or italic characters.
  • Raised characters must be raised to a minimum of 1/32 inch from their background.
  • Raised characters heights should be between 5/8″ inch and 2 inches.
  • These characters need to be accompanied by Grade 2 Braille dots and positioned directly below the corresponding text.
  • Braille must be separated a minimum of 3/8 inch from raised text and other raised objects.
  • Braille dots are to be domed or rounded, not flat or squared.
  • Overhead and projection mounted signs do not require raised characters or braille dots, but the characters should be designed to meet their required viewing distance.
  • Overhead signs should have a minimum of 2-inch character height for visibility.
  • Visual characters must use an easy-to read font that is not italic, script, or otherwise unconventional and decorative.

The background and characters must contrast (light on dark or dark on light) and have a non-glare finish.

Credit: Inpro

ADA Placements

Credit: Inpro

  • Pictograms must be placed in a 6-inch high “field” area, which should be free of raised characters or braille dots.
  • When text and Braille dots are used with a pictogram, they should be placed directly below the pictogram field.
  • Like the characters on a sign, pictograms should have a non-glare finish and contrast with their background with either light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a light background.

ADA Heights & Positioning

Photo from Inpro

  • Signs with raised characters should be mounted on the latch side of the door.
  • The distance between the finished floor and the baseline of the raised characters must be between 60 inches (from highest tactile character) and 48 inches (from the lowest tactile character).
  • The sign should be located so that a clear floor space (18 x 18 inch minimum, centered on the tactile characters) is provided beyond the arc of the door.
  • Overhead signs must have a minimum clearance of 80 inches from the bottom of the sign to the finished floor.
  • If a projection mounted sign extends more than 4 inches from the wall, it must also have an 80 inch clearance from the bottom of the sign to the finished floor.

Read up on more ADA signage details here.

So, Is Your Business up to ADA Signage Standards?

If so, great! You’re one step closer to delighting all of your customers and clients.

If not, let’s talk about next steps. At AIS, we’re always happy to chat about how we can make effective signage solutions for your business. We want to help make your establishment as accessible as possible for people with disabilities – and, of course, help you avoid a huge fine.

Are you ready to make your establishment ADA compliant (and avoid a huge fine from the DOJ)? Get in contact here, or head on over to our services page to learn more about our ADA signage services.