What Makes a Sign ADA Compliant?

When you think about ADA compliance, you might imagine handicapped parking spaces or accessible wheelchair ramps. But, what goes into determining ADA compliance when it comes to signage? When you own or operate a business, you need to be mindful of how your signage is placed and designed.

What Are ADA Compliant Signs?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provides guidance on how to make signage meaningful and easy to understand for all. ADA compliant signs have the following characteristics:

  • Conveniently and conspicuously placed
  • Easy to read visually
  • Can be read through touch (braille)

Sign Design: Key Considerations for ADA Compliance

When creating an ADA compliant sign, there are essential design factors you must consider to ensure your sign is easy to read and understand:


A sign’s typeface, or font type and emphasis, such as bold or italic, is an important distinction between ADA compliant and non-compliant signage. Simple serif typefaces with medium strokes are required. Additionally, the letter sizing (which ultimately impacts the size of the sign itself) is determined by following ADA recommendations. This is based on evaluating the sign’s height from the floor and the viewer’s distance from the sign.


If a sign contains visual characters, there must be high contrast between the font and background. An acceptable example is a black font on a white background. An example of a sign with low contrast might be a bright orange font on a black background.

Zero glare

Individuals with visual impairments struggle to read signs through glare. The background of ADA compliant signs must be glare-free with the exception of certain parking signs.

Proper Sign Placement for ADA Compliance

Where your sign is placed matters when your guest or customer needs to access it. Consider the following when placing your ADA compliant signage:

  • Placement in relation to other objects
  • Height at which the sign is mounted
  • The frequency of signage in a space

After your sign is designed and created, it’s up to you to make sure it’s installed according to ADA guidelines.

Do All Signs Need to Be ADA Compliant?

Per the current guidelines, only essential signage needs to be ADA compliant. Signs required to meet ADA standards include signs that:

  • Identify a permanent space
  • Mark an exit or fire escape
  • Direct or inform viewers about a room’s essential functions
  • Provide information about a space’s accessible features

Need Help with ADA Signage? Choose Denron Signs

Consistency is key for your customers. If you need help with placing ADA compliant signage in your business or facility, including everything from interior building signs to awnings, trust our specialists at Denron Signs to make the process simple. Contact us today!