As if always being responsible for spellchecking your clients’ print ready files isn’t enough, part of your responsibility as a print service provider is to ensure that your customers’ signs comply with the guidelines outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These guidelines are important because they not only help people with disabilities more easily access and navigate buildings, but if a business violates these guidelines, it faces the possibility of hefty fines up to $50,000. As signmakers we must be the experts to help our customers stay compliant.

Do all signs need to follow ADA guidelines?

No, signs that do not apply are building addresses, directories, menus, seat and row designations in assembly areas, occupant names, company names and logos, parking signs and temporary signs. Signs and banners used for advertising and marketing purposes also do not need to comply.

Signs that do need to follow ADA guidelines are those that identify permanent rooms and spaces in a building, as well as those that identify, direct to or inform about accessible features of the facility.

Do all ADA-compliant signs require Braille?

No, Braille is only required when ADA signs that identify rooms and spaces are located adjacent to the door they identify so they can be located by persons who are functionally blind.

ADA guidelines you should know:

  1. Text must be upper case, unless the sign is visual-only, such as a directional sign.
  2. Font must be simple, sans serif in a medium or bold typeface such as Trebuchet, Futura or Verdana.
  3. Signs that contain visual characters must have a high dark-to-light contrast, which helps with readability for those who are visually impaired.
  4. Signs must have non-glare backgrounds and characters, unless it is used for reflective parking or other traffic signs.

Is printing Braille with an Acuity Flatbed possible?

We are frequently approached about printing Braille with an Acuity flatbed printer, which jets UV ink to lay on top of the media. With multiple passes a height similar to the ADA guidelines can be achieved. See ADA Requirements.

“While the process of ADA certifying this method is neither held by Fujifilm or our OEM partners, we never like to limit the innovations of our users and encourage them to seek certification with their own processes.”

– Heather Roden