The ADA Sign Lady BLOGS for the very first time!

Saturday, December 3, 2016 1:03 PM

This is an exciting day! My very favorite Web Host, EverWeb, has added a blogging tool.

Yesterday I did one of my favorite work things. I and Ullrich Hepperlin, my genius designer and all-round right hand and I spent the day at CalArts in Valencia working on a consulting project that has become a full-fledged design-build project for the famous Walt Disney founded Art Institute.

Much of the Institute is contained in one building that is an extremely complicated conjunction of “blocks, all joined in one center lobby on the third floor, which is actually the entrance floor. That lobby is a huge gallery. Virtually every wall is open for art installations. On top of that, performances are set up in front of the walls, and then there are many colorful flyers announcing performances and gallery shows both here, and also downtown at what is called REDCAT at the Disney Hall. (Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater is the translation.)

There are virtually NO ADA compliant signs anywhere! Even students and staff who have been there a while get lost in the maze of corridors. There are very few accessible restrooms or elevators, so coming up with a useful set of buidling and floor directories supplemented with bread crumb signs, and then making sure that we don’t intrude on gallery space is a huge challenge!

However, if anyone is up to the challenge, it’s the inveterate team of the ADA Sign Lady and Ulli — designer extraordinaire. 

We’ve used the advice of our friend in the UK, Hilary Dalke, the color and contrast expert, and although we have used white signs with charcoal print to keep the modern gallery vibe going, we have included a broad charcoal stripe down the side to make the existence of each sign obvious to those with vision impairments. They can see that stripe as a marker and then approach as closely as they want to read the clear visual text, and if they wish, supplement it by reading the thermoformed tactile characters or even the braille by touch. 

Restroom signs all use tactile “names” but include visual numbers for maintenance and emergency responder use. 

Phase one of the plan, the restroom identification and wayfinding signage is ready to go into production. 

Yesterday, we were plotting out the location of the building and floor directories. The Institute will be getting all the artwork digitally as well so they can adapt the floor plans to use for their safety plans. Some of these building are almost fifty years old, and actually sustained some minor damage during the Northridge Earthquake, when hanging directional signs fell down, so safety signage is important. 

This was the second day in a row that Ulli and I spent on a college level consulting project. My next Blog will cover the work we’re doing for the Riverside Community College District.