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Everything You Need To Know About ADA Signage

Examples of ADA Compliant Signs
Photo Credit: Graphix Solution

The term ADA stands for American with Disabilities Act, a federal law that makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities. One focus of this act includes creating public environments that are inclusive and accessible for all which includes ADA signage. With in your business, it is required by law that certain spaces and rooms are identified such as restrooms, elevators, exits, and emergency exit. ADA compliant signage features braille dots, visual characters, raised characters (also called tactile characters), and/or pictograms, depending on the area or room the sign is identifying.

Graphix Solution partners with Graphic Components of Greensboro, NC in the fabrication of their ADA Signage. They have composed a "ADA Artwork Cheat Sheet" that highlight some of the major points of the ADA guidelines. Details of the cheat sheet can be found below:



"Permanent rooms including room identifying signs, exit signs, and restroom signs must have raised, all capitalized text, and Braille. Not all signs need to have all elements of ADA compliancy. Directional and Informational signs do not need to have raised text, all capitalized letters, and do not require Braille. Temporary signs do not need to be ADA compliant if they are up for less than 7 days."

Regulated Signs Example
Credit: Graphic Components


"A general rule to start off with is the font you select may not have serifs, may not be too bold, or may not be too thin/light. The raised text must be in all capital letters. A few examples are Arial Regular, Future Book, Future Medium, Gill Sans, Helvetica Regular, Myriad Regular, Optima Regular, Trade Gothic Regular, Univers 55, and Verdana Regular."

ADA Compliant Fonts Example
Credit: Graphic Components


"When selecting the text and background colors, the main concern is selecting colors with a significant contrast. Make sure there is a clear contrast definition by selecting light letters and graphics on a dark background, or vice versa. The recommended contrast ratio of 70%, determined by the light reflection values."

ADA Compliant Contrast and Colors Example
Credit: Graphic Components


"These two items are key when designing your ADA signs. All raised text must be a minimum of 5/8" tall and a maximum of 2" tall. There must be at least 3/8" spacing between all lines of text, Braille, graphics, decorations and borders.

ADA Compliance Size and Spacing Example 1
Credit: Graphic Components

We will insert the correct Grade II ADA compliant Braille into your artwork, but be sure to leave a place holder and enough space. Braille requires 1 / 4" height for the Braille itself, and the length will be determined by the amount of text. If you have multiple lines of text, the safest bet would be to account for multiple lines of Braille (and remember the 3/8" spacing between lines, and from the border!). Pictograms require a 6" vertical void that contain no other characters or Braille.

ADA Compliance Size and Spacing Example 2
Credit: Graphic Components

Knowing this spacing requirements will help select the size for your customer's ADA compliant signs. Adding the above together will determine your minimum sizes, and you can always go larger. The minimum height for a Room Identification sign would be 2", and the minimum height for a Restroom Sign would be 8". The length is determined by the length of text and wall size available."



ADA Compliance Thickness and Decoration Example
Credit: Graphic Components

"Don't forget about the third dimension when designing ADA signs, that's an area with

flexibility. The standard is 1 /8" thick, but you can always go thicker or add additional layers or back plates. You can also add stripes, multiple colors, accent pieces, or logos as long as you keep the correct spacing away from the ADA regulated elements."



"ADA guidelines have set a variable installation height so that the top of any size sign in a hall can be mounted on the same line. The baseline of the lowest line of text must be mounted between 48" and 60" from the ground. The sign must be placed on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door."

ADA Compliance Installation Example
Credit: Graphic Components

To view and download original article, you may click the link below.

ADA Artwork Cheat Sheet - Graphic Components
Download PDF • 1.94MB


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