ADA Signs: Don’t Ignore the Color Contrast Rules

ADA Signs

ADA Signs are not only the industry standard and an ethical best practice – they’re also required by law. That’s why all business owners should pay careful attention to ADA Signs when operating a business in Austin.

For anyone who may be unfamiliar with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines, they are rules and regulations set out to establish a national protocol on how to create adequate signage to support people with disabilities. They are many types of ADA signs and they should be incorporated in both the interior and exterior architecture and design of your building.

One form of ADA signage that is especially popular and helpful are ADA restroom signs. ADA restroom signs help people navigate and access the amenities in your establishment with a sense of safety and comfort.

We want to be clear that ADA rules shouldn’t just be rules you need to follow in order to not get in trouble with the law. They’re incredibly beneficial to your business. ADA signs create an accessible, welcoming, inclusive, and secure environment for all your visitors. Regardless of the type of business you own, there’s so much to gain by using ADA compliant signs.

There’s a lot to consider to ensure that a sign is, in fact, compliant with ADA standards.

What Are Some of the Important Criteria for Businesses to Follow When Using ADA Signs?

  • The sign must be adjacent to the latch side of any door for clear identification.
  • Permanent room signs should be mounted between 48- and 60-inches from the ground.
  • Signs should have tactile lettering (braille) for visually impaired individuals.
  • There should be a minimum of 1/8th of an inch between characters on a sign.
  • There must be a light/dark contrast between characters and symbols and the sign’s background.

The last item on the list is one rule in particular that cannot be ignored.

What Are the Risks of Not Having Color-Contrasting ADA Compliant Signs in Your business?

For a sign to be in accordance with ADA guidelines, all letters and backgrounds should have contrasting color palettes. ADA regulations further specify that on a sign:

  • There should be at least a 70% contrast between the letters and the background.
  • The background or mounting for letters should be a non-glare/non-reflective finish.

The reason for this rule is so that people with specific visual impairments can easily read the sign. Such as people who have low color contrast sensitivity. This makes up a significant segment of the American population.

Statistics show that 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women live with some form of color blindness.

The prescribed color contrast between the lettering and the background of a sign helps people deficient in color vision to better see and read your signs.

By failing to comply with this rule, you do a significant disservice to yourself by neglecting the needs of people who visit your business. You expose yourself to many potential risks. For example:

  • The risk of someone suffering an injury on your grounds despite your business using cautionary wayfinding signage. Because the signs aren’t adequately visible. Not to mention, any legal actions that could follow suit.
  • The risk of public embarrassment of failing safety inspections. As well as, having a formal complaint lodged against your business.
  • The serious risk of potentially discriminating and/or alienating the very people who come to engage in business with you.

Some effective ADA compliant color combinations you can use are:

  • White over blue
  • White over black
  • Black over white

There are also many other aesthetically pleasing and interesting combinations you can leverage. Black over matte gold or cinder over sandalwood are two attractive options.

Does your Business Need ADA Signs?

At Georgetown Sign Company, we understand it can be overwhelming for businesses to know and correctly follow all the ins and outs of ADA sign regulations. If you’re located in Austin and surrounding areas and need ADA restroom signs, wayfaring signs, or other ADA compliant signs – let’s get in touch. We know how to get your business up to code and looking great. Turn your business into a safe and inclusive place for all your guests.

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