ADA Signage Tips: Thermoforming

Sharon Toji, aka “The ADA Sign Lady,” has been working with state and nationwide committees and organizations since 1992 to help designers, sign companies and owners of facilities to implement ADA signage standards. She originally represented the sign industry on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) committee that writes the standards and now is the voting delegate for the Hearing Loss Association of America. She has written many articles on the topic, with the first one for NBM’s Sign Business Magazine back in 1992. Her manual “Signs and the ADA,” recently revised to include the 2010 revision of the ADA Standard, is used by people who want to learn about legal and accessible signs across the United States. You can learn more at

A possibility for an engraving shop with routing equipment is to utilize the fairly new technique of thermoforming for tactile sign components. If you aren’t ready to purchase a thermoforming machine yourself, some wholesale companies even use your molds, which you can create on your router, and ship you the unfinished clear thermoformed pieces after they press them. You design modular signs and incorporate the tactile pieces in your design. You can print the backgrounds or paint them as you wish. The characters can be screen printed on the surface or the color can be supplied on the second surface.

—Sharon Toji, The ADA Sign Lady

Read more about adding ADA signage to your business.