ADA Signage: The Truth Businesses Need to Know for Accessibility and Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed in 1990, aims to ensure equal rights for individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. One key component of the ADA is accessibility requirements for public spaces, including businesses. The ADA mandates that all public accommodations must be wheelchair accessible and have accessible signage. This includes private businesses serving the public like retail stores, restaurants, hotels, theaters, and more.

According to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design from the United States Access Board, “Signs that provide direction to or information about interior spaces of facilities shall comply with 703.” This means all businesses open to the public must have compliant signage to aid disabled individuals. The signage requirements cover braille text, raised characters, finish and contrast, and mounting heights and locations. Proper ADA signage makes navigating your establishment more accessible for blind or low vision customers and ensures your business follows the law.

Importance of ADA Compliance for Kansas City Businesses

Following ADA guidelines for signage is crucial for Kansas City businesses to improve accessibility for disabled customers. Over 20% of Americans have a disability, so developing an accessible space allows you to serve more customers and expand your business’s appeal. The ADA prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities and mandates that public facilities be accessible. By installing proper ADA signage, you make navigating and patronizing your establishment easier for those with disabilities. This also shows your commitment to serving your entire community in Kansas City.

Compliant signs, such as tactile bathroom signs or accessible parking signs, allow disabled customers to independently navigate your business. Failing to meet ADA standards means some customers may not be able to find your restroom, parking area, or other facilities. Installing ADA signs brings your business up to code while also improving the customer experience for KC residents with disabilities.

Common ADA Signage Requirements

ADA signage must follow specific guidelines related to visual contrast, mounting heights, the inclusion of braille, and other specifications to ensure accessibility for disabled users. According to the Access Board’s ADA Standards for Signs there are requirements related to:

  • Visual Contrast: Signs must have light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a light background for maximum visibility. There must be at least 70% contrast between the characters and background.
  • Mounting Height: Signs must be mounted 60 inches minimum above the finish floor or ground surface, measured to the baseline of the lowest tactile characters. The baseline of the highest line of raised characters should also not exceed 60 inches.
  • Braille Inclusion: Signs that provide information about permanent rooms and spaces (e.g. room numbers, restrooms, exits) must contain Grade 2 Braille placed directly below the tactile characters.

ADA signage must be designed and mounted in compliance with these visual, height and braille requirements to be considered accessible for disabled individuals.

Types of ADA Business Signs

There are several common types of ADA compliant signs that businesses in Kansas City need to be aware of. These include signs for interior spaces, exterior spaces, parking facilities, and special circumstances.

Interior ADA Signs

Inside your business establishment, there are a few key types of ADA compliant signs to install:

  • Restroom signs indicating accessible stalls
  • Directional and informational signs pointing to key rooms and spaces
  • Signs with room numbers or names of spaces
  • Stairway signs indicating level changes

Interior signs must follow ADA guidelines for lettering size, color contrast, braille inclusion, and mounting height according to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

Exterior ADA Signs

Outside your building, you may need ADA compliant signs such as:

  • Parking signs indicating accessible spaces
  • Directional signs pointing to accessible entrances
  • Signs at inaccessible entrances redirecting to accessible ones

These signs help direct disabled visitors to the correct accessible entrances and spaces. Exterior signs have similar ADA requirements as interior ones. Additionally, accessible parking spaces require specific pavement marking and signs according to ADA standards.

Parking Facility Signs

Parking facilities require extensive ADA compliant signage. Signs are needed to:

  • Indicate parking space designations (regular, van accessible, etc)
  • Display accessible parking rules and limitations
  • Direct visitors to closest accessible entrances
  • Show the location of accessible paths of travel

ADA parking signs must have appropriate size text, symbols, raised characters and mounting heights. Consult the ADA Standards for specific guidance on compliant parking facility signs.

Choosing Compliant ADA Signs

When selecting ADA compliant signs, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable sign company that specializes in accessible signage. According to the Access Board’s guide on ADA signage, signs must meet certain visual requirements for finish, contrast, font size, and spacing for accessibility.

Be sure to verify that the signs you select meet ADA standards by reviewing product specifications. Reputable sign companies will provide detailed information on the materials and features that make their signs compliant.

ADA signs should be made from durable, long-lasting materials like acrylic, aluminum, or brushed stainless steel. Stay away from materials like paper or cardboard that can easily tear or fade. Select materials that will hold up well indoors and outdoors.

It’s also important to choose signs that match your business’s brand identity. While following ADA guidelines, many reputable sign companies offer custom signs in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Don’t sacrifice visual appeal for accessibility.

Take time to carefully research sign companies and products until you find attractive ADA compliant signs that work for your business’s unique needs and budget.

Professional Installation

Proper placement and height are crucial for ADA sign installation in order to maximize visibility and accessibility. ADA guidelines state that tactile characters on signs must be installed at a minimum of 48 inches from the floor, measured to the baseline of the lowest character, and a maximum of 60 inches to the top of the highest character.

When mounting signs, it is important to follow ADA guidelines and ensure signs are securely fastened and do not protrude hazardously into pathways. Signs should be centered at 60 inches above finished floor level if possible. For signs suspended or projected from walls, the bottom edge should be at least 80 inches above the floor.

Hiring professional installers familiar with ADA guidelines can optimize sign visibility for all heights while maintaining compliance. Professionals have experience mounting signs in ways that avoid obstructions, and can properly measure and survey the location during installation. This helps guarantee appropriate viewing angles and uninhibited access.

Buying Affordable Signs in KC

When looking for ADA compliant signs in the Kansas City area, you want to find affordable solutions without sacrificing quality.

Comparing quotes between sign companies is wise to find the best value. Remember to verify any sign you purchase meets full ADA guidelines. With the right local vendor, you can getcompliant signs that enhance your space without breaking the bank.

Case Studies

Local businesses in Kansas City have already installed ADA compliant signage and have seen positive results. Here are two examples:

The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art worked with a local signage company to design and produce ADA compliant signs that met their branding and aesthetic standards while also complying with regulations. The project resulted in beautiful informational, directional and restroom signs that improved access for disabled visitors.

A real estate company based in Overland Park needed accessible exterior signs for multiple commercial properties, including accessible parking signs. They chose durable ADA aluminum signs to ensure long-lasting visibility and compliance across the properties.

These case studies go to show that with the right local sign partner, Kansas City businesses can install attractive and functional ADA signs that enhance accessibility and inclusion for customers in a cost-effective way.

Cost Considerations

The cost of ADA compliant signage can vary significantly depending on the type, size, and number of signs you need for your Kansas City business. Here are some budget ranges to consider:

  • Basic interior signs: $15 – $30 per sign for standard restroom, exit, and directional signs measuring 6 x 9 inches
  • Custom interior signs: $25 – $150+ per sign for unique designs, sizes, materials, and customization like logos or custom text
  • Parking signs: $25 – $100 per sign for standard accessible parking signs
  • Complete signage packages: $300 – $2,000+ for full interior and exterior sign needs, depending on building size

Work with a knowledgeable sign company to get an estimate tailored to your specific business location and signage needs. They can help you budget and prioritize critical ADA signs while staying within your price range.


Making your business accessible and inclusive to all is not only a kind thing to do—it’s the law. With the proper ADA compliant signage, your Kansas City business can provide your goods and services to people with disabilities while staying in compliance with regulations.

Inclusive establishments are safer and more welcoming, and they open the door to more customers. When choosing and installing signs, the comfort and independence of everyone in your community should take top priority. You want all patrons to access, understand, and enjoy your business.

It may seem daunting at first, but remember that help is available. Reputable sign companies in Kansas City can guide you through the process, from assessing your signage needs to professionally installing beautiful and functional ADA signs that meet all requirements. Your commitment to accessibility will benefit your business, your customers, and the greater Kansas City area.

Contact a sign company today to get started on making your establishment welcoming for all. The ability to serve more customers and give back to your community is worth the effort.

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