What Is ADA?
In 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. According to the ADA National Network, this civil rights law “prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.”
What Is ADA Compliance?
The ADA includes specific requirements for signage, mainly to accommodate the needs of sight-impaired persons. Signs must be placed in a convenient location and must be readable for those with low vision, as well as those who can only read through the use of Braille. If they have more than ten employees, public and private establishments — including retail merchants, social service center establishments, government offices, schools, hospitals, stadiums, banks, hotels, and restaurants — are required to comply with ADA signage guidelines.
Almost all architectural signs are subject to ADA requirements. These include:
- Signs identifying exits
- Signs identifying permanent spaces and permanent rooms, such as electrical rooms and bathrooms
- Signs informing people about functional areas in a facility
- Signs involving informational or directional information about a facility’s accessibility features
- Signs communicating safety information and protocols
Signs that are generally exempt from compliance regulations include:
- Marketing and advertising material
- Temporary signage that will be displayed for less than seven days
- Parking signs
- Building addresses
- Company name and logo signs
A common misconception is that ADA compliant signs are just signs with Braille print on them. However, ADA requirements are significantly more wide-reaching than simply the inclusion of Braille or raised characters. In addition, compliant signage is not only designed for the blind and visually impaired, but it also takes into consideration the needs of those with hearing impairments, mobility issues, cognitive disabilities, and psychiatric conditions. A sign design firm experienced in the complexities of ADA guidelines can walk clients through the process of creating a truly compliant sign.
What Are the Consequences of Non-Compliance?
Strict penalties are enforced on entities that do not abide by ADA regulations. In 2014, the Department of Justice increased the amount of money that an establishment would be fined for non-compliance. ADA.gov notes that “this adjustment increases the maximum civil penalty for a first violation under title III from $55,000 to $75,000; for a subsequent violation the new maximum is $150,000.”
While a large company may endure steep fines better than a small business, neither can afford the devastating effects non-compliance can have on a business’ reputation within the disabled community and among people with disabled loved ones.
What ADA Compliant Signage Solutions Instant Signs Offer?
Instant Signs is committed to providing clients with beautiful, functional sign packages. Just because a sign needs to be ADA compliant does not mean that it cannot also be artistic and attractive. ADA requirements touch many aspects of the design and production process, including the use of non-glare materials, the choice of typeface, the selection of color and size, the use of symbols, and the incorporation of tactile elements and Braille. However, with the expertise of our designers, a custom sign package will adhere precisely to ADA guidelines while also being elegant and staying within the bounds of the business’ brand identity.
If business owners have questions about installing ADA compliant signage, they can call us at (805) 569-0019