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ADA Sign Layout Basics

Restroom Sign

  1. TEXT – .625″ minimum or 2″ maximum in height, raised .0325″ from sign surface. All text to be uppercase and utilize sans serif style font. .125″ spacing between letters. Logos and non-vital information are exempt from rules.
  2. BRAILLE – Grade 2 (contracted or abbreviated). Braille diameter to be .059″ to .063″ at base of dot.
  3. COLOR CONTRAST AND SIGN SURFACE – Light characters on dark background or dark characters on light background, 70% contrast. Surface finish to be non-glare/matte.
  4. LINE SPACING – 35% min. or 70% max. of character height. A .625″ letter height requires a space between lines of text of .218″ min. or .4375″ max.

Room Identification Sign (No Border)

Restroom Sign: Additional Detail

  1. Note Compliant elements:

    A pictogram is usually optional, but if used must be in a 6″ tall clear field.

    Text translation (“descriptor”) beneath pictogram.

    The text meets both tactile and visual requirements.

    Braille translation beneath the text.

    3/8″ clear space around braille.

    The pictogram can be tactile or a flat graphic.

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Room Identification Sign (No Border): Additional Detail

Note Compliant elements:

The text meets both tactile and visual requirements.

Braille translation beneath the text.

3/8″ clear space around braille.

Room Identification Sight (No Border): Additional Detail

Note Compliant elements:

The text meets both tactile and visual requirements.

Braille translation beneath the text.

Braille has appropriate spacing between cells and between lines.

3/8″ clear space around braille before the border.

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Room Identification Sign (Dual Message)

Note Compliant elements:

Large number meets visual requirements.

Small number meets tactile requirements.

Braille translation beneath the text.

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Font & Text Detail

Typeface styles are limited to ensure legibility, with visual characters having a bit more leeway than tactile characters.

Each tactile sign must meet both tactile and visual character requirements but can use separate characters to do so.

Character width is determined by comparing the width of a letter “O” to the height of a letter “I”.

Character stroke thickness is determined by comparing the width and height of a letter “I”.

The allowable range for tactile letters is thinner than the allowable range for the visual character.

*Although there is no minimum tactile thickness established by code, there is still an effective minimum stroke determined by the limitations of the fabrication method used.

 

Most signs use the same text to meet both visual and tactile requirements, so must fall in the ‘sweet spot’ where the two ranges overlap.

Tactile character height must fall in the range of 5/8″ to 2″ unless the message is repeated with separate visual text.

Visual character height has its own requirements based on how closely the sign can be approached.

Line spacing is determined by comparing the distance between baselines to the character height.

Character spacing is determined by comparing the distance between letters to the character height, except for the minimum tactile spacing which is always 1/8″ regardless of character height.

Again there is a ‘sweet spot’ where the tactile and visual requirements overlap.

Braille Detail

Braille comes in only one size! It must be located beneath the text it is translating, surrounded by a clear margin without other tactile elements. Grade II braille is used, which is a sort of shorthand that utilizes contractions of common letter groups and words, for both efficiencies of space and speed of reading.

There are slight variances allowed by the ADA in the spacing of dots and between braille characters. The state of California is more prescriptive, requiring precise spacing that is at the high end of the allowable ADA range. As a result, California braille may appear “wider”.

Park Place Sign Systems has grown to become one of the top ADA wholesale sign fabricators in North America. Unlike other wholesale suppliers, we do not compete with our clients and do not bid directly to end-users on any project. Let us know how we can help you with your next project.