Do My Signs REALLY Have to be ADA Compliant?

How important is ADA compliance, really?

You may find yourself wondering why it really matters to make sure all your signage follows the rules set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some of those rules might not even really make sense to the average person, like the rules about text size. What’s the difference if the text is a little smaller than ⅝”? Who cares if I use a serif font instead of san serif? Is anyone really going to notice?

These may seem like inconsequential details, but the truth is that these are all rules for a good reason. The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines is to be sure that signage, as well as public spaces in general, are accessible to everyone. If you’ve lived your whole life without any sort of physical disability or vision impairment, chances are good that you barely notice things like the size of the text on a sign, or the wheelchair ramp outside of a building.

However, for someone who uses a wheelchair, or who has vision impairment, the lack of a wheelchair ramp can ruin a whole day. Imagine arriving somewhere and finding out that you aren’t able to enter the building safely. Whether it’s for a doctor’s appointment or a dinner with friends, this sort of setback is a big deal.

The Real Cost of Inaccessibility

A lot of us take accessibility for granted. In fact, for a company in charge of the signage portion of a building project might have a planned budget for signage. When their signs have to be slightly larger than originally planned in order to accommodate text at the necessary size, it can be frustrating– larger signs often equal more expensive signs when pricing is determined by surface area.

Sometimes, sign size is planned based on available wall space. If a sign ends up having to be larger, additional planning is required to figure out where the sign should be placed.

However, if a company decides to go ahead with a noncompliant sign, there’s a real risk involved. If there happens to be an inspection and the signage is deemed noncompliant, your company will be fined $75,000 for a first offense and $150,000 for any subsequent violations. That’s why it’s imperative to plan ahead of time and make sure your building meets the guidelines. It may cost a little extra at the start, but that extra cost is worth it when compared to a potential $75,000 fine.

The Problem with ADA Compliant Signage

As previously mentioned, signs often have to be redesigned in order to accommodate larger text. The ADA guidelines state that tactile text must be a minimum of ⅝” tall. Not only that, but there must be a certain amount of space (⅜”) between the text and the edge of the sign or any other sign elements, like Braille or pictograms.

Typically, construction companies, general contractors, and architects tend to design signage as small as possible to cut down on cost. However, if the text has to be larger in order to meet ADA minimums, the sign must be made larger accordingly.

This can be a frustrating part of the process for those in charge of the signage portion of various building projects. Space is often at a premium when the building has been planned down to the last square inch, and an upset in this planning can put a halt on completion of construction.

In short, making sure that signs adhere to ADA guidelines and are 100% compliant can add some cost and extra planning onto a project.

Note: If you’re a sign shop that specializes in ADA signage and a customer insists on signage that isn’t compliant, it’s best to clearly mark that the signs are NOT compliant on the proofs you put together for them. Even better if you can get written acknowledgement from your customer that they’re aware the signs aren’t compliant. 

A Task for Experts

There is good news in all this: there are people who are extremely well versed in the construction and design of ADA signage. Our graphic designers happen to be part of that group!

You don’t have to pore through the ADA guidelines and try to figure out exactly what’s required of the signage for your project. All you have to do is contact someone whose job it is to know these guidelines and have them walk you through the project.

The aesthetics and design of your signs doesn’t have to be negatively impacted by ADA compliance, either. We’re able to make signage to match virtually any color or style.

At the end of the day, when you contact us for a free quote or a design consult, you’ll end up with signs that look great, last a long time, and above all, won’t cost your company $75,000 in fines. Everybody wins!

Top 5 Ways to Create High-Visibility ADA Signage

Considering the visibility of ADA signs is important when purchasing signage. ADA guidelines are designed to make sure that signage is accessible to those with vision impairment. But this means a lot more than just making sure each sign has compliant braille on it!

The color and contrast specifications in ADA signage laws exist so that signs are easily findable. A sharp contrast between text and background means that the signs are easier to read from a distance, too.

You’re already familiar with the huge variety of materials available for making ADA-compliant signage. It’s possible to create a compliant sign to match just about any existing interior design or company brand. But making sure your signs are eye-catching is about more than just unique design– it’s about accessibility!

1. Dimensional Signage

A great and affordable way to give your signs maximum visibility is to design dimensional signage.

Quite simply, signs that are dimensional and stick out just a little bit further from the wall are more eye-catching.

Adding a brushed aluminum or contrasting acrylic backer is a great way to add a little extra “pop” to your signage.

You can also use standoffs to achieve a little extra dimension. Standoffs are available in a wide variety of colors, materials, and finishes.

LED Standoffs

You can also find standoffs with built-in LED lighting that adds a subtle glow to your signage. This is especially useful in rooms that may be darkened– like a conference room during a presentation.

LED standoffs add a contemporary touch to your signage. The LEDs can even be made in any color you want!

Super-Tactile Lettering

The required dimension of tactile lettering on ADA signage is 1/32” from the face of the sign. But you can create extra-dimensional lettering and pictograms by using different thicknesses of acrylic material.

This has the same effect as using dimensional sign backers– it’s more eye-catching. It’s also a unique way to display room numbers!

UV Printed Backers

Our in-house UV printer is able to print gorgeous digital images on virtually any surface. You can’t go wrong with classic, solid-color ADA sign backers, but if you want to add a little extra something to your signage, consider a UV-printed backer.

Photoluminescent Signage

In the event of a power failure, wayfinding can become a safety issue. If your building’s dark, it doesn’t matter how compliant your signage is– you can’t see it without any light!

To avoid this situation, you might want to consider using photoluminescent, or “glow-in-the-dark” signage. These signs will glow in a dark room and let people know how to safely find their way to the exit.

Check out our Pinterest page for design inspiration, and reach out today to discuss how you can make sure your company’s signage is visible to everyone. We’ll walk you through the process and provide a free quote for the signage you need!

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ADA 101 Part 2: The Basics

Sample pictograms that might be present on ADA signs.

You already know that ADA signs are required by law in public buildings and why. You already know that ADA signs don’t all have to look exactly the same– you can follow the guidelines and still have signs that look unique. There’s a wide range of colors, materials and styles available for ADA signage, and there’s no one way an ADA sign has to look.

But… what exactly are the rules?

Let’s start with the basics:

ADA signs that identify a room, space, or area must have raised characters and braille. They are required for both public access areas and all employee areas.

This means that the two basic characteristics of ADA signage are tactile lettering, which is dimensional above the main surface of the sign (typically 1/32”), and braille, which is a tactile form of writing in which characters are represented by patterns of dots.

A closeup image of braille lettering.

The tactile lettering also has to be a certain size in order to maximize its visibility for those who have vision impairment.

The accepted letter height for tactile lettering is ⅝” to 2”.

The letters themselves have to contrast a certain amount from the sign face, too. A light background should have dark lettering, and vice versa. The braille itself can be clear, since it’s designed to be touched, not seen.

The lettering has to be in a sans serif font.

An image showing the differences between serif fonts and sans serif fonts.

It also has to be in all capital letters. Sans serif fonts are typically easier to read from a distance, or at a glance, since their lines are simpler and cleaner.

Bold, italic, and decorative fonts are also not allowed, for the same reason: they are more difficult to read.

There are also rules about the finish of the sign itself.

The sign can’t be too shiny or glossy.

ADA signs are required to have a matte, nonglare finish.

If a sign happens to be too shiny or reflective, it won’t be as easy to read.

Sample pictograms that might be present on ADA signs.

Pictograms have to be within their own 6×6” field, which ensures their visibility.

Other elements within that field could be distracting or even obstruct the pictogram itself.

Mounting height is important, too.

A diagram of the appropriate mounting height for ADA signage.

ADA signs must be installed a minimum of 48” above the floor, and can’t be installed any higher than 60” above the floor.

There can be lots of room for confusion within these guidelines. If you aren’t sure whether a sign requires a pictogram, or whether a certain font is compliant or not, you can always ask our ADA experts!

We’ll work with you from beginning design to final installation to make sure your signs follow all the rules and look great, too.

Contact us for a free quote today!

Granite Backed ADA Signs

Granite ADA Signs Wholesale

Granite ADA Signs WholesaleGranite ADA Signs are a beautifully elegant way to display required ADA signage. Not only are granite signs a professional approach when used at your your business, but they are durable. Granite resists most abrasion, resists weathering, is easily polished, and can make a simple hallway look beautiful.

While granite is often used for signs outdoors, it is also beautiful inside your business. Homeowners and business owners love granite for it’s glossy finish and nearly invincible properties, so it often makes your customers feel right at home! Granite signs make for a sophisticated, dramatic design, perfect for expressing the importance of your business.

Take a look at our ADA Sign Types to see how you might want to use granite on your ADA Signs! Granite is affordable when you buy from ADA Signs Wholesale!

Call ADA Signs Wholesale today to find out more about custom Granite ADA Signs. 1.440.951.6651

Request a Quote on Granite ADA Signs!

Evacuation Signs by ADA Signs Wholesale

Evacuation Signs by ADA Signs Wholesale

Evacuation Signs are often included in the ADA Sign specs given to sign shops or building managers by the architect. Sometimes when the evacuation sign specs are received, the sign shop or the building manager, or whoever else may be in charge isn’t quite sure what to do with those evacuation sign drawings. We can help, and we can include it in the wholesale ADA Sign order!

Naturally, we all realize that the evacuation signs are very important. As of this writing (Thursday May 25th, 2017), ff you visit OSHA’s website you will see their guidelines for evacuation procedures. Additionally, Osha’s website has a page with an example evacuation map. If you would like to see the text from the Occupational Safety and Health Standards that pertains to evacuation,  It is currently available here, and it is in this section: 1910.38(c).

Besides OSHA insisting that you have evacuation routes posted, and an evacuation plan in place, don’t you want visitors and employees to easily and safely leave your building in an emergency? The Evacuation Map is clearly not a sign you can afford to skip. So don’t!

Evacuation Signs by ADA Signs Wholesale

What to do with those Evacuation Route specs often included in your ADA sign specs from your architect?  A few things:

evacuation route sign by ADA Signs Wholesale
Evacuation route signs could save your business from a large number of terrible outcomes, if they are easily visible and properly placed.
Your ADA Signage throughout your business, has a uniform look. People notice the ADA Signage, even if that individual has no obvious need for the ADA features of the sign. ADA Signs stand out and scream, “Look at me! I’m official!” This is the same message your evacuation route signs should send.

In an emergency, the evacuation route signage, the ADA Signage and the Exit signs must be clear.

ADA Signs Wholesale is already covering your ADA Signs, so why not add on your evacuation signs, as well? The only other option is to pay full price for them elsewhere. Skipping the evacuation route signage is never an option.

Wholesale ADA Signs Customized for The Gorilla Glue Factory, Offices and Warehouse

ADA Signage for Warehouses

Wholesale ADA Signs Customized for The Gorilla Glue Factory, Offices and Warehouse!

ADA Signage for Warehouses
ADA Signs with Custom Cut Outs for Gorrilla Glue!

Signs PDQ and ADA Signs Wholesale are always glad to start a new ADA compliant sign project. We have to admit though, we have a lot of fun when we get to do something a little different from the usual day to day.

We got to do a project that was just a bit different just the other day. Have you ever heard of Gorilla Glue? Sure you have. It’s the glue in the orange bottle that has a Gorilla on it!

You’ve heard of the glue, you’ve used it, you know it’s good stuff and you know it’s made right here in the USA. But, did you know that Gorilla Glue is based in Cincinnati, Ohio? Don’t take my word for it, check out the virtual tour on their website.ADA Custom Signage for Glue Warehouse

“The Toughest Glue on Planet Earth”, that’s what we’ve always experienced, seen and heard, when it comes to Gorilla Glue products. We know their glue is mighty tough, but the folks at Gorilla Glue were certainly a joy to work with! Everyone we met was very professional and more than happy to go the extra mile to be certain to meet all of the ADA requirements for signage at their Cincinnati Headquarters. They follow ADA regulations to the letter, not only because it is required by law but, because they are committed to serving ALL of their customers, vendors, employees, visitors and anyone else that comes to their business.

When the folks at Gorilla Glue said, “We want a glue bottle on our ADA signs, but it’s most important that we are in compliance with the ADA?” we knew we were in good company. And why shouldn’t they have their flagship product on their ADA Signs? Their glue is their business! Their adhesives are on shelves in thousands of stores all over the USA and Canada. Their glue is how they have jobs, and how they were able to hire us. Naturally, we were glad to help them create the right design.

If you’ve got an ADA Sign project and you need custom made ADA compliant signs at wholesale prices, you should call ADA Signs Wholesale at 1-440-951-6651. Whether you need simple ADA signs, unusual ADA signs or signs that seem complicated, we can do it. Request a quote from us.

Custom Wholesale ADA Signs