Pictograms on Signs

Posted on - Wednesday, June 1st, 2022


Accessible signage can be a very confusing topic. Even after all these years of practicing my accessibility consulting, I am still learning a thing or two. Sadly they can even be confusing to signage manufacturers and installers.
Accessible signs require the following things:
  1. Raised and Brailled Characters
  2. Contrasting background
  3. San Serif Fonts
  4. If using Pictogram, there are requirements
  5. If depicting accessible spaces the use of the ISA (International Symbol of Access)
This newsletter will focus on a few common errors I encounter during my inspections.

Raised Characters

The accessible signage will require that the characters describing the space whether it be a number or letters, must be raised. They should be at least 1/32″ above the surface of the sign.

This graphic shows the minimum requirement for the raised characters of a sign.

There should also be Braille below the words that states the same words that are provided. So all words and numbers should be duplicated by Braille

The restroom had a painted sign on the door but the characters were not raised and it did not have brailled as a duplicate. This is not compliant

The restroom sign has both raised letters and characters and braille duplicated below the words. This is a compliant sign..


What are pictograms? It is a figure that represents the words of the sign. Pictograms are not required, but if you use them the field they are in should be 6″ minimum. The pictogram can be smaller than that, but the field must be at least 6″ tall.

Pictograms must be located ABOVE the words they are describing. Per section 703
703.6.3 Text Descriptors. Pictograms shall have text descriptors located directly below the pictogram field. Text descriptors shall comply with 703.2, 703.3 and 703.4.

The pictogram at this sign is located below the words describing it. That is not compliant