The Importance of ADA Signage

The Importance of ADA Signage

Business signs are most effective when they communicate the store’s message to all customers, regardless of disability status. As a result, ADA-compliant signage is important. ADA signs are a convenience to all customers and must follow guidelines for when and how they are to be displayed.

The US government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. The ADA protects the 20% of the population who live with a disability. Different types of disabilities affect the nearly 57 million Americans who suffer from some sort of disability.

About 14% of individuals with a disability have difficulty with vision, and 11% have trouble hearing; 40% of people with a disability struggle to walk; 38% have difficulty using the stairs; 5% use a wheelchair; and 15% rely on crutches or a walker.


Who are ADA signs for?

ADA signs benefit people who have a disability. Individuals with visual impairments, for instance, are able to follow signs that feature braille. ADA sign systems can also benefit the hearing impaired, people with speech impediments, and those who live with cognitive disabilities.


What are the benefits of ADA signs?

People with disabilities experience greater independence and mobility when ADA signs are displayed in business establishments. Public safety is enhanced, since these signs clearly mark entrances and exits. Guests who are able to easily locate places feel more welcomed by the business.

Businesses, governments, and public places that display ADA signs demonstrate an inclusion of people of all ability levels. Facilitating a comfortable experience for all individuals gives people both a feeling of value and an incentive to return to the business time and time again.


Where should ADA signs be displayed?

In general, ADA signs should be placed at the doorways of public buildings, such as businesses and offices. Braille ADA signs are required at every elevator and locations that include restrooms, stairwells, exit levels, and floors. Visitors to every permanent room should be greeted with ADA signage.

ADA signage must be displayed in certain types of public buildings. Examples of commercial facilities and public accommodations include stores, shops, restaurants, bars, theaters, hotels, recreation facilities, educational institutions, factories, warehouses, apartment and condo buildings, private museums, and assembly areas.

ADA sign


What are the purposes of ADA signs?

Signage that is ADA compliant serves three primary functions: The first is to identify interior spaces that are permanent. Second, ADA signs offer direction or information about these permanent building spaces. Third, using the International Symbol of Accessibility, the signs inform about accessible features.


What features make a sign ADA compliant?

A non-glare finish is essential for people with poor vision who cannot process glare or reflections well. Indoor ADA-compliant signs are manufactured without a glare finish (such as matte or eggshell), allowing all people to read the signs with ease. A non-glare finish is a basic ADA sign requirement.

Also helpful to people with visual impairments are signs with a high level of contrast. When text contrasts with the background, the message is readable and understood by people with vision loss. High contrast can be achieved with dark lettering on a white background or vice versa.

ADA-compliant font can be read by anyone, regardless of disability status. Sans serif fonts, such as Futura and Verdana, are acceptable and easy to read. Fonts on the ADA signs should not be italic, script, or highly ornamental, as these styles can cause frustration for people with vision impairment.

Kerning, or letter spacing, is especially important for people who read signs by touch. On ADA signs, the lettering must be spaced at least one-eighth of an inch apart. Although the spacing can be less aesthetically pleasing, the purpose of enhancing readability is achieved.

Mounting the ADA signs should be done correctly. Hang the signs in a convenient location, namely adjacent to the door they identify. More specifically, ADA guidelines stipulate that the signs be installed a minimum of 48 inches and a maximum of 60 inches above the finished floor.

Display the ADA signs on the latch side of the door, where they will be more easily found. When signs must be hung on double doors, hang them on the right hand side; alternately, if an inactive leaf of the door is present, hang the ADA-compliant sign there.

A few ADA signs require pictograms. The four pictograms are the International Symbol of Accessibility (which displays a person in a wheelchair), International Symbol of a Public Typewriter (TTY/TTD), Volume Control Telephone, and International Symbol of Access for Hearing Loss.

For example, the International Symbol of Accessibility is to be found on signs to bathrooms and exit routes when they are wheelchair accessible. Assembly halls and museums may display signs with the International Symbol of Access for Hearing Loss to direct people to an assistive listening system.

Federal law mandates the display of ADA-compliant signs in all new government, public and commercial buildings and those that undergo renovations. Penalties, including hefty fines, can be issued for noncompliance to hang ADA signs in areas where they are required.

ADA sign

When you need ADA-compliant signs, turn to the most trusted local sign company, Divine Signs and Graphics. Our experienced professionals understand what is required of federal and municipal laws and will ensure that the signs in your office or commercial property are ADA compliant.

Divine Signs and Graphics design teams can create braille and tactile exit signs that are in full compliance with ADA standards. In addition to full-service design, we will print and install handicap restroom signs, stairway signs, room labels, and parking signs that meet the ADA signage criteria.

We’ll also help you identify what ADA signs your business needs to remain in compliance. Rather than risk heft fines, rely on our expertise to create ADA-compliant signage throughout your building. Our designers will incorporate all the features that make a business sign an ADA-compliant one.

Choose Divine Signs and Graphics when you plan to install new ADA signage or update existing ones. Our design teams will create custom ADA signs for your Schaumburg-area business and mount them correctly. Call the sign experts at Divine Signs and Graphics today.  


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April 14, 2022

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