Why is it necessary for public spaces to be accessible to all? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was first signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The ADA is an exhaustive catalog of specifications for architectural buildings and public spaces intended to make those areas more accessible for people of all abilities. Among the many items discussed in the ADA is the topic of compliant signage. Signage for accessible environmental design means that the verbiage on wayfinding, permanent exits, and restrooms needs to be accessible to people of all abilities.
Signage Requirements for ADA Compliance
Signage requirements for ADA:
- Visual letters and tactile letters are required
- Tactile letters must have accompanying grade II braille
- Signs that are designed to be read by touch should not have sharp edges
- Tactile (raised) lettering must be 1/32” in thickness
- Tactile lettering must be featured in an easy to read sans-serif font with all uppercase letters
- Minimum letter height: 5/8”
- Maximum letter height: 2”
- The bottom edge of tactile characters must be mounted 48” to 60” above the floor
Additional rules can be found here.
Choosing Materials for ADA Signage
Another important requirement of ADA compliant signage is a contrasting background to ensure that the visual text is easy to read. The most visible color combinations are white text on a black background or black text on a white background. ADA signs don’t always have to be featured in black and white, however. The use of contrasting colors is also a great way to ensure that the visual text is easy to see and read. Creating a contrasting background/foreground with textured materials like brushed aluminum or wood can also effectively help wayfinding and room signs stand out.
ADA Environmental Signage Design Tips
Signage for accessible environmental design may seem simple with all the provided rules and requirements, but don’t be tricked into thinking it’s a simple task. A full ADA sign schedule can be complex and extensive. Here are some tips for designing ADA signs:
- Use easy to read sans-serif fonts
- Adjust text kerning to improve readability
- Avoid complex imagery and photos
- Be clear and specific with word choices
- Create interesting shapes or match the interior design aesthetic by layering different acrylic backer panels
- For wayfinding signs, lead the text with the corresponding directional arrow
Find the Right Sign Partner to Produce ADA Environmental Signage
The most important phase of getting environmental ADA signage planned and produced is partnering with a trusted and reputable sign company to design the layout, produce, and install the signs. A sign company that will guarantee their work and is flexible enough to ship and install anywhere in the country can be hard to find but luckily you’re reading a blog from one of the best! Request a quote here and get started on your ADA environmental sign project today!
Graphic design is the process of communicating and problem solving using visual symbols, typography, photography, illustration, and layout principles. Graphic design for signage is purely functional as each sign is meant for a specific purpose. Some signs are created specifically for advertising purposes and some are created to answer frequently asked questions. If you’re interested in designing your own signs, there are a few basic guidelines to keep in mind. The following points about sign design are based on the past experiences of working with multiple businesses, clients, and other graphic designers.
Appreciate Your Audience
Before you even start your sign design, put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Understand that they may not be as informed as you about your business so you may need to consider simplifying your sign design. Consider how your sign will look to someone who has no idea what your business does. How do you ensure that your message is understood? Be specific, be direct, and always keep it simple! Another important part of understanding your audience is knowing how they will be viewing your sign. Will they be driving past your sign at 75 MPH on the highway? That means that your audience will have one or two seconds to understand your message so plan your design accordingly.
Pick the Right Type of File
The most frequently asked question from clients looking to send their own artwork is: “What type of file do you prefer?”. The preferred file-type is almost always a .PDF but it sometimes depends on what type of sign the client is ordering. If you’re using a software program to create your artwork, make sure you’re using a professional design tool like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Further, understanding the difference between raster and vector graphics is vital especially for large format digitally printed signs.
Raster graphics are images that cannot be enlarged without pixelation occurring. They can be edited with special software applications like Adobe Photoshop, but you will need to have a good understanding of how resolution works. Raster graphics are usually small files that are ideal for photographic prints and website imagery. Vector graphics are graphics that are defined shapes with lines and points. Vector graphics can be enlarged to any size and printed without any trouble. Vector-based graphics are also the only way to create cut vinyl decals as the digital plotter needs to read the lines and points within the file to plot them out onto the sheet of vinyl.
Use Contrasting Colors
Ensure that your message is clear and attracts attention by using contrasting colors for the background and foreground. From our learned experience, the best color combinations for signage is a black background and white text or white background and black text. The worst color combinations are lightly-hued text on a lightly-hued background or dark-tinted text on a dark background. Color theory explains how primary colors mix together to create secondary colors, and how different combinations of those colors become intermediate colors. Understanding color theory, color schemes, and how colors affect people psychologically is a good idea if you’re designing multiple signs that need to have a cohesive design.
Choose Easy to Read Fonts
Another important part of sign design is selecting the appropriate font to feature your text in. The general rule is to keep the number of fonts to a minimum and to not use more than two different fonts in one design. Sans Serif fonts are easier to read than Serif fonts when it comes to signage; this is why highway signage always features sans serif fonts. Consider the hierarchy of information in your sign. What do you want your audience to do if they need your product or service? Having a bold, upper case call-to-action could be the best way to get them to take a desired action.
Utilize Negative Space
Too much text, photos, and graphics will actually deter people from your advertisement. It might seem like a good idea to include as much information as possible on a sign, but that can lead to a cluttered design which overwhelms the viewer and leads to information being overlooked or ignored. Negative space (intentional blank space) in a sign design layout helps the reader understand the message being communicated by singling out vital information and giving the reader’s eyes a break.
Always be Aware of the Rules
Some types of signs, like ADA restroom signs, are required for public and commercial spaces. There are a lot of rules for the design of interior ADA signs, like the letter height and pictogram design. Ensure that your signs are compliant by following ADA sign guidelines. Further, be aware of the local sign code for large exterior signs, like illuminated channel letters, to ensure that you don’t waste money by buying a non-compliant sign that will be removed (at your cost).
A trade show is an event held for a specific industry that brings various businesses together to show off their products and services, generate leads, network, and to increase brand awareness. Trade shows have been around for a long time and have grown exponentially over the years. Currently the largest trade show in the world is CES with over 182,000 attendees and over 4,000 exhibiting companies participating in their 2018 annual trade show. Trade shows, expos, conventions, and similar events allows for businesses, large and small, to speak directly to a receptive and more targeted audience. This is why trade shows are such an effective marketing tool for companies.
Trade Show Booth Essentials
Trade shows require a lot of preparation and consideration weeks, or even months, in advance. Being in the same room as tons of competing exhibitors means that to find success from a trade show, your booth will need to stand out. To nail the visual impact of your trade show booth, enlist the assistance of an experienced graphic designer to help you with the design and mockups of your booth. From there, partner with a professional vendor to manufacture your booth display.
Trade Show Booth Signs
While there are extravagant and lavish exhibit booths that are completely custom and interactive, they tend to be very pricey. Below are a few effective signage options that are more reasonable in cost.
Step and Repeat Display
Step and repeat banners can be made from fabric or vinyl banner material. They usually feature a logo in a repeating pattern and work great as the backdrop to a trade show booth.
Stretched Fabric Display
A stretched fabric display is a perfect option for a fun photo backdrop. These displays come with a lightweight aluminum frame that stretches the fabric and holds it taut for a nice smooth display. Stretched fabric displays come in many different sizing options to satisfy your unique needs.
Pop Up Display
Pop up displays are reinforced with a lightweight aluminum frame that is collapsible and portable. These displays are usually made from expo fabric and wrap around the edges of the frame for a 3D effect.
Retractable Banner Stand
Retractable banner stands are tall, pillar-like displays that retract back into a solid aluminum banner stand. These are available in various sizes to fit your needs and are great for drawing attention to your booth without taking up too much space. Retractable banners are also easy to take down and put up which makes them great to travel with.
Fabric Table Throw
Trade show booths typically have a table or multiple tables for displaying promotions and other company information. Digitally printed fabric table throws are fully custom and can feature your full-color logo or another fun design!
Need Signs for Your Business?
Rain for Rent is a leading provider of temporary liquid handling solutions. It is family owned and operated since 1934; serving all 50 states, Canada, the UK and Europe. Read more about this company here. Connecting Signs has been working with this business for a little over a year and have done some work locally (northern Colorado) and nationally. We have provided everything from vehicle decals to dimensional signage for the company.
Explore the photos and descriptions of the different storefront signs for this fast, expanding company!
Greeley, Colorado signs:
- Fleet truck graphics
- Aluminum sign fence panels
Stockton, California storefront signs:
- Pylon storefront sign face
- Replaced old dimensional logo sign
- Added new sign panel
- Replaced round illuminated logo sign cabinet
Charlotte, North Carolina storefront signs:
- Monument Sign (flush face)
Connecting Signs is proud to partner with Rain for Rent for all their storefront sign needs here locally and across the country! How do we do make a sign for their out of state locations? We partner with excellent sign companies and installers that we trust and depend on to get the job done to our expectations which meets our customer’s expectation! Our contact at the North Carolina location was thrilled at how quick and easy the job went – especially since we are over a thousand miles from the job site!
Do you want your business to stand out at your next event?
Trade shows and expos continue to prove their value. Events like these help exhibitors and businesses raise awareness of their brands in a big way! However, standing out in a sea of competition is not easy. The best way to visually make a good first impression is with effective event signs and banners. So then what kinds of event signs and banners will work best for you? There’s lots of different options, so the following list is just the tip of the iceberg! If you’re still lost after reading this article, contact us by clicking here or give us a call at 970-493-0133 to get your event signs and banners started today.
Retractable banners are the perfect type of event sign because of how professional they look and how travel-friendly they are. Another benefit is how cost-effective they are. Have a budget you need to stay within? No problem! There are also many kinds of retractable banners. Some are made specifically for outdoor events while others are made for indoor events. Some can be made with a telescoping pole that reaches over 12 feet tall and some are made for table tops and are 12 inches tall. Retractable banners are easily broken down which makes it easy to travel to your next event. Another nice feature that retractable banners have is that they are made so that you can change out the banner graphics when you want to change up your message.
Back wall Banners
Back wall banners provide a backdrop to your booth display and gives your booth a more complete “look” with your logo and brand repeated throughout your display. Back wall banners can also be used as step-and-repeat banners for a fun photo backdrop. A simple vinyl banner with grommets will be the most cost-effective option, while a high-quality fabric banner installed in a collapsible frame will give you the most visual impact. Back wall banner displays are perfect for expos and trade shows because, like retractable banners, these items are also easy to break down and put up for when you need to exhibit at multiple shows.
Usually (but not always) you will have a table or podium display in your booth exhibit where you might place brochures, business cards or other kinds of swag to give away to people passing by. Digitally printed fabric table throws can be another effective opportunity to showcase your brand. Fabric table throws are very versatile and can be made to custom-fit your needs whether you have a six-foot-long table or an eight-foot-long table, a round or square table, or need a four-sided table throw or a three-sided table throw. The most cost-effective table throws are one- or two-color vinyl graphics with a solid fabric background. However, to help your booth display stand out a digitally printed fabric table throw allows for any image you want to be featured on your table throw. Fabric table throws are washable and easily foldable for ease of transport.
Whatever industry you might work in, there’s always a big event at least once a year intended to draw in new clients or to show off new technology. Trade shows, conventions and expos are important opportunities to showcase your brand or business. There’s so many new and exciting ways to effectively present your business at a trade show and the bigger, the better your booth is, the more foot-traffic your booth will generate. Investing in a high-quality convention display guarantees new leads and helps your business stand out in a room full of competitors.
Effective trade show booths can consist of retractable banner stands. Banner stands come in many sizes from table-top (about 15” tall) size to almost 10 feet tall! If you want foot traffic to have room to walk around and interact with your display, then a modular exhibit is a great option to explore. Modular trade show displays are comprised of many parts and can be compact or huge. The great thing about these modular exhibits and banner stands is that they’re completely portable! Ensuring easy assembly and smooth break-down is an important aspect of trade show displays.
With the plethora of options in exhibit displays, how do you decide what option is best for your business? Having a trusted partner who can make the process easy is important. That’s where we come in! Connecting Signs can handle every aspect of the process. From design to manufacturing to logistics, we’ve got your connections for your trade show booths. Our client’s absolute satisfaction in our services is our number one goal. Give us a call or click here to request a quote to get started!
Have you ever tried designing something on the computer? It’s not as easy as you would think! Graphic design has come so far from hand-drawn thumbnail sketches. Sketching out your ideas on a piece of paper is simple and un-constricting. However, if you want to transfer than design to the computer so you can further manipulate the artwork, you must understand the program you’re working in. The most basic way to get your design on the computer is to simply scan it or take a picture with your phone (smartphone) and upload it onto your computer. Modern sign design is like this, except the graphic designer needs to be able to edit and manipulate every element of the design. Customers who already have artwork (for example photos, logos, text) can send these files to the designer who can then use their skills and knowledge to adjust your artwork and design your sign or vehicle wrap.
Understanding Vector and Raster Artwork
Consider the size of a business card. Now think about the size of a billboard. There is a huge difference in size between those two products. The artwork (size) for the business card cannot possibly work for the billboard. That has everything to do with the format of the artwork in the file. Vector artwork (a term known very well by graphic designers) is the best to work within large-scale printing because it can be used for small-scale printing and large-scale printing. Vector artwork is created using special software programs. Vector art is made of points and lines; elements that scale to any size without losing clarity. Vector artwork is ideal and necessary for large-format printing. On the other hand, Raster artwork is made of tiny squares called pixels. Any image you look at on a screen (your phone, television or computer monitor) is a raster graphic. Raster graphics can absolutely work for large-format printing, but the image must be high resolution. Here’s a graphic to help understand vector vs. raster artwork:
Raster artwork is made of tiny squares called pixels. Pixels are like puzzle pieces, that when arranged correctly and put together make a picture. You can see individual pixels if you zoom in as close as possible in an image. Resolution is the term used to explain how many pixels make up an image. Low resolution means that the image you’re looking at has fewer pixels per square inch. High resolution means that the image has more pixels per inch. It’s important to know, however, that you can’t simply convert a low-resolution image to a high-resolution image. Only high-resolution can be converted to low-resolution, not low to high. Low-resolution images are ideal for designing for a screen (like a website) or small-format printing (like business cards). High-resolution images mean a larger file, but they are necessary for large-format printing.