Wayfinding signs can be classified by function (directional or informational) or purpose (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).  Signs that are used to assist the public can be found in almost every retail and commercial location.  Starting in the main lobby, you can have a building directory and suite signs. On each floor there can be additional floor directories.  An office building can have hundreds of wayfinding signs. The location of the bathrooms, stairways, parking, and evacuation plans are all types of wayfinding signs.  Directional or informational signs can be applied to windows, doors, walls, or even floors.  Some directional signs also have to comply with the ADA as they serve to assist those people who have diminished eyesight. The guideline is that if a sign identifies a room or the purpose of the room, and is located in the public area of a building, it has to comply with the ADA.

ADA signs have to be placed in very specific locations and can be made out of very specific materials in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Every aspect of these signs is regulated from the height of the sign on the wall to the material that is used to manufacture the signs.  We can only use a matte type material for the background of the sign. Whether or not to include pictographs will depend on the location of the sign. The location and type of braille is also mandated.  In the past, if a building wasn’t compliant with the ADA, the only time this would cause an issue is if the building inspector had to issue an occupancy permit.  With recent changes in the ADA, fire marshals are required to inspect for ADA compliance (even though very few do).

Wayfinding Sign Gallery

About Wayfinding Signs

The classification of a wayfinding sign encompasses many different types of signs like ADA, directional, or informational. The main purpose of a Wayfinding Sign is to provide information or direction to the public. Some of the information is mandated by law (ADA) while others provide a convenience to the public. In all cases, Wayfinding signs done incorrectly lead to confusion. Signs can be made from acrylic, metal, PVC, or any high-density material.

New Office ADA & Wayfinding System on Brushed Aluminum for JLL in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Wayfinding Signs FAQ

Are Wayfinding Signs mandated by law?

Certain types of wayfinding signs are mandated by law. These signs comply with the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 set standards for all signs that identify a room or space that is accessible to the public. These signs are mandated by law and have a number of specifications that are not optional.

Can Wayfinding Signs be installed anywhere?

There are no mandates on the installation of wayfinding signs.

Is there a minimum size for informational signs?

No, but there are size recommendations as to the ease of readability, font style, and location.