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!