All about door nameplates
Office Door Nameplates This clinic is equipped to take in blind patients with a nameplate/room sign that features Braille – as is required by law.


Sure, you know all there is to know about the humble door nameplate: It goes on a door. It lists a name and usually a title or position.

It's true that, from a utilitarian perspective, their objective is to simply identify the "home base" for a person, providing a guide for visitors or delivery services and differentiating from other doors in the hallway. But there is more behind a simple nameplate than first meets the eye.

In any facet of business, addressing someone appropriately is critical. The titles and spelling of names are frequently wrong on websites and even in company newsletters. Most of us have even had the misfortune of finding that errors are repeated from site-to-site – meaning that checking multiple sources doesn't always ensure reliable results.

But the door nameplate is one source that is almost always is vetted by the eponymous person, and is updated by the employer if someone's status changes. This is becoming increasingly important as many women now retain their maiden name – sometimes hyphenating and sometimes not.

Door nameplates also provide a very simple explanation of how that person relates to the business or organization, and can serve as a sort of cross-reference – if, for example, a visitor was searching for a person according to their position or function, rather than their name.

While you've probably never noticed, there are a couple of formats that most door nameplates follow.

Some feature the name of the position – such as "Administrator" or "Executive Director" – most prominently, often in all capitals, and engrave the person's name below. In positions that experience rapid turnover, the company may opt to place the name in a changeable insert. Depending on the company culture, the person's name may be listed first on the sign.

Some of the most commonly used fonts are Helvetica, Optima, Times New Roman and Century Gothic, for their easy readability and professional appearance.

Particularly in expansive buildings with hallways full of private offices, all of this information may be placed beneath a room number, which is conventionally placed toward the upper right corner of the sign, or centered at the top of the sign. While simple nameplates do not need to comply with the U.S. Department of Justice's ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations, if it functions as a room sign, there are specific requirements:
    - All characters must have a matte or non-glare finish that contrasts with the background by at least 70 percent.

    - Grade 2 Braille must be used.

    - Tactile characters and Braille must be raised 1/32 of an inch.

    - All characters must be uppercase with a san-serif font no less than 5/8 of an inch high and no more than two inches high.

    - The sign must be mounted on the wall adjacent to the door handle, and placed so that the middle of the sign is 60 inches from the floor.

The full list of ADA requirements, including signs for bathrooms, exterior doors and emergency exits, can be found at www.ada.gov. An in-depth look at what makes signs readable is available here.

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