“Uhhh, what does ADA mean?”Pretty much everyone

ADA

Signs with raised Braille

ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act. Passed first in 1990, these laws provide guidelines and regulations for how to post braille on public signage. This is to benefit people with vision disabilities who use tactile lettering (i.e. braille) to read information. Signage is only a small part of the ADA, but the rest (like door ramp regulation) is not relevant to our industry.

The law was amended in 2004 to include new design rules. Our artists have up-to-date experience in ADA compliance regulations, and we ensure that all designs are compliant before moving them into production. See examples of ADA law below.

Text Format

No fancy scripts!

Font has to be sans serif. They want it simple and easy to read! No serifs, scripts, bold, or italic letters.


Proportions

Keep things in proportion guys

Get used to uppercase because it’s required! Strokes can’t be too thick, and height to width ratio for lettering has to fall within a set range.


Character Height

Just ask Goldilocks

In Grimm’s terms: Papa Bear’s letters were over 2″, so they were too big, and Mama bear’s letters were under 5/8″, so they were too small. But ADA-compliant letters were between those, so they were just right!


Letter Spacing

Kerning for Days

This gets complicated…so be glad you don’t have to deal with it! Our designers compare stroke width, adjacent contact points, and cross sections. Yuck.


Unit Spacing

Cheers for type leading

Most signs combine text and braille into one sign, so line spacing between them becomes important.


Raised Shape

Think Dome, not Square

Think about it–would YOU want to be scratched constantly while trying to read? Braille dots need to be gentle half circles rather than raised cylinders to avoid sharp edges.


Braille Dots

Woo hoo for grids

More awesome measuring! There are rules for braille dot sizes in terms of diameter, how far apart they are within AND between letters, and more. Fun stuff.