Certain situations require signs that are in compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). The Act applies when the sign:

  • Identifies an exits
  • Designates a permanent space in a building
  • Provides information or direction in the building
  • Displays information regarding features accessible in a building

ADA Signage Benefits

The ADA rules benefit all individuals with difficulty hearing, speaking, seeing, and/or processing information. It also helps those with mental disabilities that impede verbal communication. Those who have special needs are equally in need of your products and services.


Businesses seldom realize how the Act affects their signage. While the ADA suspends the rules for signs whose purpose is marketing and branding, way-finding signs and many other signs are required to be ADA compliant. A common misconception of ADA signage is that many people think it is synonymous with braille signs, but it is much more than that. Overhead, flag-mounted, and wall-mounted signs that direct or identify need to follow ADA guidelines but don’t need Braille or tactile images.

It may seem a daunting task, but if you understand a few simple guidelines you can be more informed and easily identify the ADA signage requirements of your project.

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ADA signs must have:

  • Glare-eliminating backgrounds
  • Contrast between background and letters / numbers
    • Light characters & symbols on dark background & vice versa
    • A 70% contrast between the sign background and lettering. To meet the 70% guideline, the ADA provides a formula that uses light reflectance values to determine contrast.
  • Typefaces/fonts that are easy to read:
    • Use of simple, sans serif fonts, in a medium or bold weight. Use of italics, scripts, or other hard-to-read styles are strongly recommended against.
    • For tactile signs, all text must be UPPERCASE. These include signs with raised or engraved lettering, and textured lettering.
    • For visual only signs, such as directories, directional signs, or overhead signs you can use lowercase letters.
    • Character heights between 5/8” – 2”. Character spacing is important, too; a minimum of 1/8” between the two closest points of any tactile characters
  • Braille:
    • Braille must be placed directly below and line up with the letters / numbers
    • Both visual and tactile print are required, either one sign with both visual & tactile characters or two separate signs, one with visual & one with tactile characters
    • The code relating to Braille specifies the structure of the dot, the cell spacing, and placement – with guidelines for the shape and size of each Braille dot and cell. Note: this can vary from state to state.
    • Grade 2 Braille is shorthand Braille and it is required by the ADA. It was introduced as a space-saving alternative where a cell can represent a shortened form of common words.
  • Standard symbols when identifying accessibility. These include common markers like bathroom and exit placement.
  • Base line of tactile copy should be mounted between 48” height, at the lowest point, to 60” at the highest point. This allows signs of different sizes to be mounted on the same visual plane.ADA Signs - 3

Raider Knows ADA Signage

Each state and municipality has specific rules related to ADA signs. In 1980, California was the first state in the U.S. to institute a Braille standard. Raider Signage complies with all specifications of the CA code for Braille including the proper spacing of braille dots, and we comply with all federal requirements.

Let us ensure your facility’s compliance and help your customers.