Beautiful Signs for a Better Planet

ADA Signage FAQ – Top 5

ADA Signage FAQ – Top 5

Based on a decade of braille signage design experience, the experts at Green Dot Sign answer common ADA sign questions.


ADA Signage Requirements, Compliance & Violations

1. What is an ADA sign?

Exit, bathroom, and handicap parking are all examples of ADA signage, which are architectural signs that use braille and follow other requirements in order to make facilities, rooms, or spaces compliant with ADA regulations.

The acronym ADA refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in construction, building, and educational settings. An ADA-compliant sign must meet requirements established by the ADA. ADA interior office signs provide the 3%, or 7.5 million, Americans that are legally blind or visually impaired equal access to public spaces.

2. Where are ADA signs required?

ADA signs are required for every permanent room or space in a building, and a few other places as well. ADA-compliant signs serve three primary purposes:

    • To identify permanent interior office rooms and spaces
    • To provide direction to or information about permanent interior building spaces
    • To identify, direct to, or inform about about accessible features via the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA), a.k.a. the person in wheelchair pictogram

ADA signs have specific content and install location requirements. Temporary and changeable signs, including menus and directories, are not required to meet ADA signage requirements.

3. Do ADA signs require a blue background?

No; while it is common for ADA office signs to have a blue background, this design component is not required. The ADA states that sign backgrounds and raised elements (text, braille, and pictograms) should be contrasting. This means that an ADA sign should have a light background and dark raised elements or a dark background and light raised elements.

At Green Dot Sign®, we appreciate the look of simple, modern, high-quality room and door signs. Our ready-to-order signs are made of light-colored aspen and 13 colors of contrasting text, pictogram, and braille. All of our color combinations meet ADA signage requirements. Additionally, our clear braille option meets the needs of the blind and the letter of the law.

4. When was the ADA enacted?

President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA in 1990. This Civil Rights legislation has multiple components, and current signage requirements are set by the U.S. Department of Justice 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. There are several chapters defining sign requirements, but if you are taking on an ADA sign project without the help of specialists like Green Dot Sign® the place to start is §703. Some states also have disability rights laws creating additional accessibility requirements to the federal ADA.

ADA Sign, Accessible Entrance to Left, Sustainable5. How are ADA sign requirements enforced?

ADA violations are often related to not providing access or amenities in public spaces for the disabled. If the requirements are not met, fines of up to $75K can occur first penalties. Subsequent penalties of up to $150K may be imposed. Compliance is enforced through complaints and civil lawsuits at the federal and sometimes state level. Additionally, local inspectors review ADA compliance during building code inspections.


We hope this ADA Signage FAQ helped answer your questions. To learn more about ADA compliant signage review our ADA Sign Requirements Guide!