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ADA Compliant Signage


The Importance of ADA Compliant Signs

One goal of business owners and building managers is to make their spaces attractive and accessible to all customers, clients, and employees. That accessibility includes anyone with a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), introduced in 1990, offers specific guidance on accessibility, including signage.

While regulatory, well-planned and designed ADA signs can still support business success in multiple ways by:

  • Making all guests feel welcome by supporting a positive first impression. Enabling everyone to easily locate restrooms, exits, or meeting rooms helps to elevate the customer’s experience.
  • Incorporating logos and brand elements to increase your brand’s visibility and recognition.
  • Communicating your business’s values, because clients with disabilities will recognize that you’ve prioritized their safety when making it easier to navigate your spaces.

Signs That Must Comply with ADA Guidelines

Signs used for marketing or advertising, company logos, brand names, or temporary purposes aren’t required to comply with ADA guidelines. However, the following types of ADA compliant signs must adhere to these ADA regulations:

  • Signs that identify or inform about facility spaces, permanent rooms, exits/ entrances
  • Signs that direct to or inform about accessible facility features
  • Signs that identify and direct to exits and entrances

Metro Sign’s ADA compliant signs improve safety and accessibility for customers, clients, and building visitors, assist with wayfinding and complement the existing decor while remaining consistent with branding.

Best Practice Recommendations to Align with ADA Guidelines

Metro Sign ensures that all signs we design comply with ADA requirements, when necessary. We use those regulations to verify that all customers can access our signs by creating signs that:

  • Our clients can install in convenient locations
  • Offer easy readability visually and via tactile touch (Braille)
  • Feature a non-glare background
  • Include easy-to-read typeface, with appropriately sized and spaced letters
  • Follow the mounting guidelines placement: a minimum of 48” to the bottom of the lowest tactile character to a maximum height of 60” off the floor to the highest point of the tactile character

Clear, Compliant ADA Signs Can Complement Both Your Building Design and Your Company Brand

Metro’s ADA Compliant signage portfolio offers a wide range of options to meet diverse needs and budgets.

  • Applique signs: Often manufactured form Rowmark, acrylic, or wood/ metal laminates
  • Photopolymer signs: A one-piece integral sign that enables different photopolymer materials to f
    acilitate a wider range of looks and design options
  • Thermoformed signs: Durable, reliable, and vibrant options created by using a mold and then applying heat and pressure to achieve raised copy, symbols, and Braille
  • Direct to substrate signs: Digitally printed with UV links offer the option to print raised, Grade II Braille dots and copy/ symbols on the sign front at the same time
  • Metal signs: Manufactured from aluminum, zinc, bronze, brass, and stainless steel which take well to raised copy and symbols or Grade II Braille and work well as interior or exterior signage
The Row in Somerville

Metro’s design team collaborated with XXS Hotels, a design and brand firm that develops and builds for hotel chains including Colwen, to create a series of ADA signs for The Row, in Somerville. We incorporated the hotel’s brand in both the amenity and room signs and used laminate wood matching in the build-out.

The Metro Process

Metro Sign has been in business for 30+ years, and we have a depth and breadth of experience working with clients and local regulatory officials to deliver win-win solutions. We understand the nuances inherent when working with different architectural specifications or within different municipalities.

We work with our clients to define the type of signs they need and design strategies that incorporate material specifications, shapes, and details that complement the environment, branding, and budget.

We understand the rules and can recommend what you need. Your signage projects include design guidance beyond the standard ADA compliance requirements and project management to ensure on-time installation and approval from local code enforcement groups and the fire department.

We’ll Help You Determine What You Need

To receive a certificate of occupancy, building operators must install ADA compliant wayfinding signs. Compliance includes placing signs at the appropriate height, using Braille/ tactile letters, and incorporating easy-to-read fonts and colors. 

The standard minimum capital height for most signs is ⅝” and standard Braille height for all signs is ¼.” The standard minimum spacing between sign copy and Braille is ⅜”. Most buildings need the following type of ADA signs:

  • Wayfinding
  • Directional
  • Directories
  • Room identification
  • Elevator lobby/ stairwell level indicators
  • Fire safety

Tips for Effective ADA Sign Design

Metro will work with you to design signs that are both ADA compliant and still maintain your brand identity and audience, through the color palette, font choices, and more. We’ll develop a sign strategy that includes taking a survey and planning to determine the number of signs you need plus the specific code and ADA requirements. We create a placement map of each sign with a corresponding sign schedule.

Our team creates the design concepts for each unique sign and — once approved — our production team fabricates the signs, a process that takes about four to five weeks. We’ll work with a general contractor, architect, facilities supervisor, or property manager to install signs in alignment with the buildout phases; labor options include union, prevailing wage, or open shop.

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