Awards & Engraving

September '18

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Back in 1991, when rumors started circu- lating in the engraving industry that a new law called the "ADA" might put engravers out of business, the United States Depart- ment of Justice wrote a reassuring letter. Many signs could still be engraved. Only restrooms, exit doors, and doors that were already numbered needed Braille signs. Everything else could still be engraved. A few years later, the engraving industry has stepped up. Most ADA signs were being made by engravers who were part of the sign industry, using new ADA application and substrate materials, Raster Braille, and spe- cially fitted engraving machines with Braille software. The ADA became a niche market for many sign companies, especially those with a background in engraving. However, engraving shops specializing in awards of all kinds tended to hang back. It seemed easier to send customers to the sign shop down the street than to learn about the ADA rules. We say, don't let fear of the rules hold you back! If you have been turning away customers who ask for ADA signs, it's now time to say, "Yes," to the ADA. In 1991, Sharon Toji, the "ADA Sign Lady," heard that the Americans with Disabilities Act was going to impact signs. She called Washington D.C. and spoke with the U.S. Access Board about their planned regulations for signs. Sharon was able to figure out what the intent of the standards were, and to write a more clearly worded set of rules. The Access Board staff agreed with her interpretation. She wrote an article for the then-titled Sign Business Magazine. Getting answers for questions became Sharon's new career, and after she was appointed to represent the signage industry on the American Standards Institute's Committee for Accessible Buildings and Sites, she became a standards writer herself, and authored, "Signs and the ADA." Contact Sharon at By Sharon Toji Adding ADA signage to your business SAY YES TO THE ADA! 8 • A&E SEPTEMBER 2018

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