Running a business means paying attention to a lot of things, and that includes signage. Today we take a closer look at ADA Signage, from a basic definition to the reasons why it is so important for your business.
What Is ADA Signage?
The term ADA signage refers to signs designed to make public facilities easier to navigate for people with disabilities.
The feature that most people notice about ADA signs is that they include braille. While braille is an important part of ADA signage regulations, many other factors are considered when creating ADA-compliant signs. We’ll take a look at those requirements in the next sections.
ADA signs are important for a very simple reason: they are required by law. In fact, “ADA” stands for Americans with Disabilities Act, a law enacted in 1990 to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, from transportation to jobs and education and everything in between.
The ADA includes very precise regulations about how to design ADA-compliant signs. These regulations are called the ADA Standards for Accessible design and include some of the following requirements (to read the full specifications of the ADA Standards, click here):
- Raised characters. Must be at least 1/32 inch above their background, in uppercase, and duplicated in braille.
- The braille used on ADA-compliant signs must be of the type known as contracted (Grade 2). The braille dots must have a domed or rounded shape and comply with a list of dimensions included in the ADA standards.
- Installation height and location. Tactile signs must be at least 48 inches above the finish floor or ground surface measured from the baseline of the lowest tactile character and 60 inches maximum above the finish floor or ground surface measured from the baseline of the highest tactile character.
- Visual characters. A non-glare finish must be used. Characters must contrast with their background by using either light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a light background.
- Pictograms. Graphic symbols like the little person used on bathroom signs must have a field height of six inches and the characters and braille must be located outside the pictogram field. Pictograms must have a non-glare finish and must contrast with the background by using either a light pictogram on a dark field or a dark pictogram on a clear field.
Does My Business Need ADA Signs?
Most businesses are required to be ADA compliant, and therefore must have ADA signs. If your business caters to the public or has more than 15 employees, you probably must comply with ADA.
Adhering to ADA regulation is an essential part of starting or running a business. On one hand, having accessible facilities means that you can welcome all types of customers. On the other nad, not only is ADA a federal law but there are also local laws you need to keep in mind.
For example, the California Disabled Persons Act makes a violation of the federal ADA a violation of California civil rights law and allows people to sue a violating business to recover monetary damages (source).
As you can see, ADA compliance is key to almost all types of businesses. In the next section, we’ll review the role that signage plays in ADA, and the specific areas and places where ADA signage is required.
Where Is ADA Signage Required?
The ADA Standards for Accessible Design divide signs into eleven categories:
- Designations (signs identifying rooms and spaces)
- Directional and informational signs
- Means of egress (exits)
- Toilet rooms and bathing rooms
- TTYs (teletypewriters)
- Assistive listening systems
- Check-out aisles
- Amusement rides
A non-exhaustive list of businesses that typically need ADA-compliant signs includes hotels, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, bakeries, any sales/retail outlet, banks, laundromats, dry cleaners, public transportation, recreation venues, schools, and gyms.
The ADA standards outline very specific rules that encompass a wide range of situations. For example, when a tactile sign is provided at a door, the sign must be located beside the door on the latch side. In the case of double doors with an inactive leaf, the sign must be located on the inactive leaf. If both leaves are active, then the sign must be located to the right of the right-hand door.
Just like the example above, there are regulations that cover almost every possible configuration of doors, bathrooms, and buildings in general.
Additionally, California has its own set of laws, which business owners must also keep in mind, especially when it comes to restroom signs. To learn more about these requirements, check out California AB 1732, and Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations.
Why Choose CR&A Custom for Your ADA Signage
Looking for high-quality ADA Signage? At CR&A Custom we design, proof, print, and install fully compliant ADA signs for your business following all relevant regulations according to your industry.
We are a large format printing company based in Los Angeles known for our drive to serve our clients and our advanced technical capabilities, including the world’s fastest ADA/braille UV printer.
Contact us today by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone (213-749-4440), or social media (Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn) for a free estimate or to learn more about our full range of large format printing solutions: building wraps, wall graphics, window decals and graphics, vehicle wraps, and more.