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The American Disabilities Act (ADA) was introduced over 20 years ago to ensure that people with disabilities would have the same rights and access to buildings and facilities as everyone else. At first, the act was only enforced for new businesses and construction, but since 2010, it has applied to everyone. Along with entrance ramps, elevators, handicap accessible restrooms, and parking spaces, the ADA extends to signage - often the most overlooked aspect of the act.

This transition didn't happen overnight and it eventually became the law. On March 28, 2014 the US Department of Justice officially ruled that from that point forward ADA violations were now deemed to be Civil Rights Violations. As a result, the DOJ stepped up the penalties (up to $75k for the first violation) and ADA code enforcement.

Meeting the numerous, often complex requirements for signs on your own can be difficult, especially when you need to also create a great design.
A-to-Z Signs understands the requirements and has experience creating signs to meet ADA regulations.
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Basic ADA Guidelines
Here are a few basic guidelines to ensure that your signs meet the requirements and are compliant:

FONT: Characters must be clean, uppercase and with no serifs.

KERNING: Also known as spacing between characters. There must be at least 1/8 inch between the two closest points of any tactile characters.

CHARACTER SIZE: The maximum height of a tactile is 2 inches, the minimum 5/8 inch - with the exception of raised characters, which can be just 1/2 inch.

BRAILLE: Braille dots must be domed or rounded.


MOUNTING: Tactile characters on signs should be located a minimum of 48 inches above the floor and 60 inches maximum.


Many businesses are totally unaware of the ADA requirements for sign compliance, but knowing the above is key to avoiding serious fines and insurance liability claims.  

Are You Compliant?
Test your knowledge of ADA compliance with this quick quiz:
You have raised lettering, braille, a wheelchair symbol, and black and white coloring on your restroom door signs. Are you compliant? Most people would answer yes, but the answer is actually a resounding no. To comply, you must also place signs near the door jam approximately 65 inches above the floor on the door handle side, as this is where visually-impaired  people expect to find signs.

Do you need ADA signs on janitor closets, storage rooms, and utility rooms? If you answered no this time, you would be wrong. If a visually-impaired person entered a utility room thinking it was a restroom and then suffered an injury, you could be subject to a severe insurance liability. For this reason, ADA signage is necessary for all doors. 

Does Connecticut use generic signs for handicapped parking?  The answer: No - Connecticut has specific size and wording requirements.

If your parking lot signs don't look like this...You are subject to receiving a fine for not following the ADA guidelines.
Create an Attractive Sign and Be Compliant
A common misconception is that tight regulations equal boring signs in block fonts with a lack of color, but this could not be further from the truth.

At A-to-Z Signs, we create designs that comply with ADA requirements for font type, size, and colors but give them a flair that matches your brand image. Just check out these examples.
Share this newsletter with other businesses, property and building managers in your list of contacts and help them to become more familiar with the ADA requirements that could protect them from future penalties. So this newsletter to them. I'm sure they'll appreciate the information!
At A-to-Z Signs,  we believe that there is no need for compliance to be dull. We will design signs for your business that help avoid penalties and liabilities and still look great. Call A-to-Z Signs for all your signage needs.


Ray McClelland
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