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A Guide to ADA Compliant Fonts for Signage

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To ensure a sign meets ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements, there are several elements that must be included in the display.

One of the most important and often misunderstood elements is font.

For those who aren’t well versed in ADA rules and regulations, getting a firm grasp of ADA compliant fonts for signage can be difficult.

Fortunately, we’ve created a helpful guide that addresses…

With the information provided, sign fabricators and their clients can determine exactly what font case, style, and size is needed on signage to avoid running into noncompliance issues.

General Rules for ADA Compliant Fonts for Signage

In the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, the ADA outlines a number of criteria that must be met for compliance, including those pertaining to signage.

In fact, the rules for ADA compliant fonts on signage are very strict, relating to character style, size, case, height, and more.

The rules are as follows:

FAQs about ADA Compliant Font Guidelines

Though the rules are fairly straightforward, it’s not uncommon to have lingering questions about ADA compliant fonts, which is why we’ve addressed a few FAQs below.

1)      Is larger font ADA compliant?

The short answer is yes. To achieve compliance, a larger font is required on all ADA signage. However, it’s important to highlight that the size of the font should be between 5/8 and 2 inches.

2)      Does all text have to be sans serif?

Under 703.2.3 of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, all important text on signage (such as the name of the room being identified by the sign) must be sans serif with no italics or overly bold lettering. However, if a business desires to add a logo containing a decorative font, this is acceptable.

3)      What are the consequences of not using an ADA compliant font?

Though the misuse of font may seem like a minor issue in regard to ADA compliance, it can result in negative consequences for a business. By installing a sign that doesn’t have the appropriate font, businesses can be hit with ADA-related lawsuits or fines.

Despite providing detailed text and character requirements for signage, the ADA doesn’t explicitly state what fonts are permitted. The only style guideline given is that fonts must be sans serif and not italic, oblique, script, highly decorative, or otherwise unusual.

Sans serif fonts are ones that are as plain and straight as possible, increasing the ease of readability.

Examples of recommended fonts for ADA signage that meet the above criteria include the following:

Resources for Finding ADA Compliant Fonts

There is a variety of resources online where you can download fonts if you are in need of additional sans serif options.

Examples include DaFont.com, 1001freefonts.com, and FontSpace.com. These sites have thousands of font options of all different types, as well as standard sans serif options.

If downloading fonts to a computer running Windows, make sure to save all fonts to the C://Windows/Fonts folder on your computer. They will automatically install when saved to that location, which means you will be able to use them on any program that fetches fonts from your computer, from Microsoft Word to Photoshop and InDesign.

Takeaway

The rules surrounding ADA compliant fonts may be complex, but failing to use the correct size, style, spacing, and type could result in a sign failing to meet compliance. That’s why it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with ADA guidelines to avoid potential lawsuits and other noncompliance issues.

For more information about the types of fonts you can and cannot use for your next signage project, contact us today at Erie Custom Signs. We pride ourselves on being ADA experts, so you can receive the most accurate, up-to-date information possible.

Filed Under: ADA Signage

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