5 Requirements To Avoid Non-Compliant Signage Fees

Written by: Fargo Inc

By Rylee Wznick with Office Sign Company
Photos by Office Sign Company

Let’s take a stroll back to the 1990’s, shall we? Almost 30 years ago, the United States Congress passed “The Americans with Disabilities Act” in order to follow the regulations required of the physically disabled. This law helped to ensure that there was equal opportunity for disabled individuals as far as employment, public accommodations and transportation, to name a few. This Act, which was amended and revised as necessary in later years, was a stepping stone towards becoming a more inclusive and accommodating society. That being said, there is still much action required in order to be true to that law. 

One of the requirements that fall within The Americans with Disabilities Act and directly affects your business involves proper signage. Failure to accommodate these regulations can result in a substantial fine (upwards of $75,000!) from your inspector. Yes, we are in fact trying to frighten you into understanding the necessity behind ADA compliancy. Fret not; there are ways to avoid that looming and terrifying fine, and your local signage shop would be more than happy to help you with your order! Signage industries that offer ADA Braille Signage will be an excellent resource to ensure you meet the requirements of the law, and some regulations may vary depending on your state’s laws. It’s best to be thorough in this type of sign purchase. Knowing these five requirements will give you peace of mind in ensuring your business is up-to-code!

1. Fonts
There are three things to keep in mind with the font you choose for your sign: keep it sans serif (a font without “feet”), all uppercase and keep it at 15 percent maximum stroke. These requirements will ensure readability.

2. Color
Contrast is key! There must be contrast between the lettering and the base of your sign, meaning light lettering against a dark background or vice versa. If you’d like to see the typical range of color options offered at signage companies, visit officesigncompany./ADA-braille-sign-colors to gather ideas for consistent signage around your office.

3. Material
The material and material thickness are major proponents with proper ADA compliant signage. Be sure to use non-glare material (ADA wood, plastic or metal), domed Braille beads and tactile (raised) lettering that is 1/32 inch thick.

4. Spacing/height
The art team designing your proof will take the proper spacing and height requirements into consideration while preparing your custom sign, but we’re about to throw a lot of numbers at you regardless. Reference the image for a visual of said requirements! Behold, the nitty gritty of signage:

The pictogram height (raised symbols on the sign) must be no more than 6 inches high. The lettering must be between 5/8 inches and 5 inches tall with a minimum of 1/8 inch spacing between lettering. The sign should have a 3/8 inch margin around all tactile elements and a 1 inch high space is needed for each line of Braille. The Braille beads should be 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch below the last line of text. Along with that, the line spacing should be within 35-70 percent of character height.

The Braille on your sign must be dome-shaped. It cannot be flat or pointed and it must follow the spacing guidelines above and be lower case (with the exception of proper names, acronyms, or when acting as a letter in a room number – i.e. B12).

These requirements are general requirements which you can find comfort in knowing upon placing your signage purchase. However, we highly encourage you to visit ada.gov to further your understanding, learn more details from officesigncompany.com/ada-braille-sign-guidelines or be sure to check with your state’s laws associated with signage requirements.

Before you start gathering ideas for your office signage, it’s imperative to be aware of these guidelines. It’s also important to know that not all signs need to be ADA compliant. These regulations apply to the permanent rooms or areas such as restrooms, staircases, kitchens and rooms of that nature. If you are at all overwhelmed by the requirements above, be sure to reach out to your local signage company! We will work with you to make sure your sign is just as sleek as it is compliant. 

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Brady Drake is the editor of Fargo INC!