Can Etched Signs Follow ADA Compliance Rules?

Etched Signs and PlaquesEtching is a marking method that can be used to create the signs that you use in your office. Office door signs and directories can be made using this particular medium when you choose to use metal since this is capable of following your intricate and highly detailed signs perfectly. The question however is not in how well such a marking method can follow your designs, but rather if this particular medium can be used to make signs that need to be compliant with ADA rules.

ADA rules state that signs need to have very specific features in order for these to be considered compliant. The features that are required by law are dependent on what a sign is for and where these are to be used. For instance, if a sign is to be used on a door that leads to a room that is considered permanent (think bathrooms, kitchens, and the like), then this has to have all of the features that an ADA compliant sign is supposed to have. These features include tactile characters and pictograms (if there are any), braille translations, and the right color contrasts between the characters and the background, to mention but a few.

Other features that are required of ADA compliant signage include the use of fonts that are sans serif, the use of materials that are non-glare and non-gloss, and the addition of braille translations. A lot of these features can indeed be added to the sign material with the use of etching, and metals can be colored to have the necessary contrasts required for ADA signs. What may be difficult when it comes to creating ADA compliant signs with the use of etching as the marking medium is in the addition of the braille translations.

Etching can indeed create braille on metal plates when the areas that are to have braille are protected from the acid and in the form of the dots that these are supposed to have. What may be difficult is in the creation of the domed dots that are required of such signs. Even those who choose to use engraving for their ADA signs find that they need to employ the rastering technique to get the domed dots that is mandated by law to be the right braille features on these signs.

So, should you choose to have etching as your marking method when you need to create ADA compliant signs? You probably can, as long as you have a secondary method that can be used in the addition of the braille dots that need to be on these signs. If your signs however do not need to have these braille dots on them (not all ADA signs need to have this after all), then you can go ahead and use etching for your signs without any problems regarding non-compliance or the penalties that come with it.

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