What you need to know about ADA sign requirements

ADA requirements can be complex. It's important that you understand how to install and place ADA compliant signs at your business. 

Let's start with the basic rules to follow when it comes to ADA compliant signs in Minnesota. 

Interior ADA Sign Requirements

Sign Height

Signs must be installed on the latch side of the door with the raised copy part of the sign being between 48" and 60" from the floor. This height allows anyone with visual impairment the ability to feel for the sign in that 48" - 60" zone. A sign being too high or low could prevent a person from finding the sign.

Braille and Raised Copy

Signs can be read using both raised copy and braille, so it's required that both be a part of ADA compliant interior signage. Raised copy is text that is higher than the surface of the sign so that it can be felt by a person’s fingers and Braille is a system of raised dots that can be read with fingers by a person who is blind or has low vision.

  • Raised text must be between 5/8" and 2" tall in height
  • Raised text must be UPPERCASE
  • Raised text must use a sans-serif font such as Helvetica or Arial
  • Raised text cannot be italic, oblique, script, highly decorative, or of other unusual forms
  • Braille should be below the raised text
  • Braille requirements are 3/8" clear spacing around the characters. It should be able to be distinguished from the raised copy but not so far away that it can't be found.
  • Pictograms can be used with raised copy and braille located below the pictogram

Color Contrast

Color contrast is important with any sign, but it is required for ADA compliant signs for readability. A light background with dark copy (or vice versa) is the ideal contrast for compliant signs. Signs must be fabricated from non-glare material as anything that reflects light can be hard to read.

Overhead Signs

Even though these signs aren't intended to be read with raised text or braille, they still fall under the ADA umbrella. The bottom of a hanging or projecting sign must be a minimum of 80" from the floor. This prevents them from posing a danger to anyone walking near or underneath the sign. 

Parking Sign Requirements

Here are a few general rules to make sure your ADA parking signs are helpful to your customers and compliant with the current laws.

Accessible parking spaces

  • Accessible parking must be located on the shortest possible accessible route to the building entrance
  • Must have the minimum number of required spaces: See chart.
  • One in every six accessible spaces must be van-accessible
  • Parking spaces must be 8 feet wide
  • Have an adjacent 8-foot wide access aisle (preferably on the passenger side if there is only one accessible space). Van parking spaces that are angled shall have access aisles located on the passenger side of the parking space. 
  • Have a permanently mounted “No Parking” sign centered at the head of the access aisle space UNLESS that sign would obstruct a curb ramp or pedestrian route. If that is the case, “No Parking” shall be painted on the access aisle surface. (The sign may also be posted on a building at the head end of the access aisle as long as it’s not more than 8 feet away.)
  • The sign must be at least 12 inches by 18 inches and display the international symbol of access in white on blue and indicate that a vehicle ID is required and that violators are subject to a fine of up to $200. 
  • The slope of each accessible parking space and access aisle must not exceed a ratio of 1:48. Slope of curb ramps must not exceed a ratio of 1:12.

Installation Requirements for ADA Compliant Signage

There are also ADA and city codes for installation of signs. Allowable wall sign anchoring is determined by building construction rules in your city and in compliance with ADA laws. Freestanding signs require a structural footing. 

Our engineering team has a variety of ways to securely affix signs to any background and knows how deep the footing and steelwork must be to comply with all codes.

ADA Sign Consulting Services

Spectrum Signs has an experienced consultation and survey team that can assist you in determining your ADA requirements. Our team stays on top of the latest requirements and has years of experience in meeting ADA requirements. 

We will help you determine the best placement for your signs that allows you to assist your customers and clients and remain in compliance with ADA regulations. 

And it’s not just ADA requirements you need to be concerned with. There are also city and state codes to consider. 

Let our team merge city codes, the site survey information, branding and engineering considerations into a comprehensive signage strategy that aids your customers, keeps your business up to code and utilizes signs to attract customers effectively.

If you have an inspection coming up, need new signs or are unsure if the signs you have are compliant, give Spectrum a call today for a consultation to bring your property up to code with ADA compliant signage.

Patrick Woller "http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/545157/assets/images/patrick-woller-spectrum-signs-square.jpg"

Patrick Woller

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Patrick is a Graphic Designer at Spectrum Signs, a custom business sign maker in Blaine, MN. After a call from his college placement office, Patrick joined the Spectrum Signs team in 2010. Patrick finds enjoyment in the unique challenges his job gives him through the use of out of the ordinary materials. When Patrick isn’t designing signs, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, hiking with his dog Willis, and getting out on the golf course.

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