/ ADA Rules and Regulations Summary / Material Finish and Color Contrast /

MATERIAL FINISH: (703.5.1)

The material finish must be non-glare or matte.
Note: Recommended between 11 and 19 degree gloss on 60 degree glossmeter.


COLOR CONTRAST: (703.5.1)

Light Characters Against Dark Backgrounds

Light characters against dark backgrounds

OR

Dark Characters Against Light Backgrounds

Dark characters against light backgrounds

Finish and Contrast: Signs are more legible for persons with low vision when characters contrast as much as possible with their background. Additional factors include variable light, shadows, surface glare and uniformity in text, backgrounds and textures.

The most perfectly set text is unreadable if it cannot be seen. Characters must contrast with their background sufficiently to be noticeable and easily read. Ambient lighting plays a role as well, and some color combinations "read" better than others. A black sign with white text should result in maximum contrast, but in low light conditions the contrast is reduced. For those with vision impairments contrast has an even greater effect; color combinations resulting in little contrast can make it impossible to discern informational data on signs.

Differences in brightness are easier to distinguish than differences in hue; a pale blue against a dark blue will be easier to read than a medium blue against red. Avoid bright, jarring colors as background for signs. This can make the sign hard to read, and in the case of certain colors (red, yellow, etc.) the signs may be confused with safety or other regulatory signs. The most readable signs are elegant; they do not scream at the reader for attention, but neither can they be ignored.

Contrast Image 1

GOOD CONTRAST

Contrast Image 2

NOT ENOUGH CONTRAST

Contrast Image 3

NOT ENOUGH CONTRAST

Contrast Image 4

GOOD CONTRAST

Contrast Image 5

NOT ENOUGH CONTRAST

Contrast Image 6

TOO JARRING

Contrast Image 7

GOOD CONTRAST

Contrast Image 8

NOT ENOUGH CONTRAST

Contrast Image 9

GOOD CONTRAST

Contrast can be defined as a ratio difference between a lightest and darkest color. The reason contrast is mentioned in regards to ADA compliant signage is that a fairly high percentage of people have some form of impaired vision or suffer from color deficiency. Without sufficient contrast, text on a sign may blend into its background and become invisible.