Sign & Digital Graphics

December '19

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These choices and more are part of a business's need to comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was passed in 1992 and requires publicly accessible build- ings to include Braille on interior wayfinding signs that mark rooms with permanent functions and other areas like stair- wells and exits. Signs that are not compliant can be fined a maximum of $75,000 for an initial violation and a $150,000 maximum for subsequent violations. "There are some key points to the standards that you have to stick to and design around," says Derrick Anderson, owner of ADA Central Signs in Cairo, Nebraska. "You can be more flexible with designs on the background adding graphics or wood grains… as long as you have enough contrast and it's not too busy in the background." ADA Requirements ADA-compliant signs appear in public spaces that include commercial buildings, restaurants, hotels and hospitals. They are required to identify restrooms, room numbers, conference rooms, offices, floor levels, elevator frames, entrances, exits and stairwells. They also are used to point out accessibil- ity outside of a building, such as wheelchair- and parking- accessible locations, entrances. Visual requirements, such as letter height and contrast are further requirements effecting directories and directional signage. The signs need to include Braille dots and raised letters, numbers, punctuation marks and pictograms to communicate messages to those who have low vision or are blind. Fonts are to be produced only in sans serif, which, like color contrast, is for easier readability. "If the environment is more traditional, we may try to find a font that meets the requirements and has a more traditional look to it," Kelly says, adding that other fonts can be chosen for a more contemporary look. "Each font has its own char- acteristics that give it a certain feel." ADA signs can be produced from a variety of substrates as well as variable thicknesses but the graphic images on top must be 1/32nd of an inch. The Braille needs to be grade 2, the Photopolymer 1/8-inch thick, surface-painted signage for small detail maps that are ADA compliant. Image courtesy of Bell Company. A sample of a wood-grain laminate as a background for ADA-compliant signage that has white raised letters and Braille dots. Image courtesy of ADA Central Signs. Image courtesy of Bell Company. S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • December 2019 • 17 The signs need to have a non-glare finish and meet specific mounting height and location guidelines, including the size of the letters relative to viewing distance.

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