You Didn’t Know You Needed ADA Signs… Until Now
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve probably heard of ADA laws and regulations, but you haven’t put much thought into what they mean or why they matter to your company. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established in 1990 to ensure that people with disabilities have the same access to buildings and businesses as those without disabilities do, and it applies to any place that is open to the public, including the interior of buildings, parking lots, and private spaces that are used by the public, such as shopping malls or doctors’ offices.
ADA Signs: Design Rules
There are a number of requirements that govern ADA signs, but there is flexibility in how they can be designed and placed. This is because there isn’t a prescribed size or typeface, only general guidelines on layout and language. That said, ADA signs should look professional and clear so as to avoid distracting people with disabilities or misleading them about their rights. Here are three basic design rules to follow when designing ADA signage for your office:
- Use upper- and lowercase letters: Capital letters are reserved for acronyms, abbreviations, numbers (e.g., NO SMOKING), or words used as names (e.g., EXIT). Additionally, capital letters must always be used at the beginning of sentences on signage.
- Don’t make the text too small: The minimum font size for all ADA signs is 14 points; however, you should use larger sizes if possible — the larger the lettering, the easier it will be to read from afar.
- Make sure colors contrast well: When choosing colors for your sign, consider its background color and lighting conditions — it should contrast well against both dark and light backgrounds as well as against its surroundings.
Why Include ADA Compliant Signage for Your Business?
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance for commercial spaces is not just recommended — it’s required. First, in order to comply with ADA standards, any business space needs at least one accessible entrance. This means an entrance that can accommodate wheelchair users and those who have trouble navigating stairs or steep inclines due to mobility issues or other reasons. These entrances should be clearly marked as such — ideally with a sign that’s visible from both inside and outside of your building. Second, you’ll need signs within your building directing visitors to these entrances. Not only do these signs help people find their way around your building; they also help them feel welcome. Plus, ADA signage sends a positive message to your employees and customers that you are inclusive and accessible to all, regardless of ability.