Disability Access Symbols
The Disability Access Symbols Project produced by the Graphic Artists Guild Foundation developed the following 12 symbols. They may be freely used to promote and publicize accessibility of places, programs and other activities for people with various disabilities. The symbols are intended to help you advertise your access services to customers, audiences, staff and other targeted publics. Advertisements, newsletters, conference and program brochures, membership forms, building signage, floor plans and maps are examples of material that might display these symbols. You are encouraged to place these symbols next to the relevant information in all publications and media.
Information Symbol: The most valuable commodity of today's society is information; to a person with a disability it is essential. For example, the symbol may be used on signage or on a floor plan to indicate the location of the information or security desk, where there is more specific information or materials concerning access accommodations and services such as ‘LARGE PRINT’ materials, audio cassette recordings of materials, or sign interpreted tours.
International Symbol of Accessibility: The wheelchair symbol should only be used to indicate access for individuals with limited mobility, including wheelchair users. For example, the symbol is used to indicate an accessible entrance, bathroom or that a phone is lowered for wheelchair users. Remember that a ramped entrance is not completely accessible if there are no curb cuts, and an elevator is not accessible if it can only be reached via steps.
Live Audio Description: A service for people who are blind or have low vision that makes the performing and visual arts more accessible. A trained Audio Describer offers live commentary or narration (via headphones and a small transmitter) consisting of concise, objective descriptions of visual elements: for example, a theater performance or a visual arts exhibition at a museum.
Audio Description for TV, Video and Film: This service makes television, video, and film more accessible for persons who are blind or have low vision. Description of visual elements is provided by a trained Audio Describer through the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) of televisions and monitors equipped with stereo sound. An adapter for non-stereo TVs is available through the American Foundation for the Blind, (800)829-0500.
Accessible Print: The symbol for large print is ‘Large Print’ printed in18 Point or larger text. In addition to indicating that large print versions of books, pamphlets, museum guides and theater programs are available, you may use the symbol on conference or membership forms to indicate that print materials may be provided in large print. Sans serif or modified serif print with good contrast is highly recommended, and special attention should be paid to letter and word spacing.
Access (Other Than Print or Braille) for Individuals Who are Blind or Have Low Vision: This symbol may be used to indicate access for people who are blind or have low vision, including: a guided tour, a path to a nature trail or a scent garden in a park; and a tactile tour or a museum exhibition that may be touched.
Telephone Typewriter: Also known as text telephone (TT), or telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), TTY indicates a telephone device used with the telephone (and the phone number) for communication between deaf, hard of hearing, speech-impaired and/or hearing persons.
Sign Language Interpretation: The symbol indicates that Sign Language Interpretation is provided for a lecture, tour, performance, conference or other program.
Braille Symbol: This symbol indicates that printed matter is available in Braille, including exhibition labeling, publications and signage.
Assistive Listening Systems: These systems transmit sound via hearing aids or head sets. They include infrared, loop and FM systems. Portable systems may be available from the same audiovisual equipment suppliers that service conferences and meetings.
Volume Control Telephone: This symbol indicates the location of telephones that have handsets with amplified sound and/or adjustable volume controls.
Closed Captioning (CC): This symbol indicates that a television program or videotape is closed captioned for deaf or hard of hearing persons (and others). TV sets that have a built-in or a separate decoder are equipped to display dialogue for programs that are captioned. The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 requires new TV sets (with screens 13" or larger) to have built-in decoders as of July, 1993. Also, videos that are part of exhibitions may be closed captioned using the symbol with instructions to press a button for captioning. The alternative would be open captioning, which translates dialogue and other sounds in print.
The Disability Access Symbols were produced by the Graphic Artists Guild Foundation with support and technical assistance from the Office for Special Constituencies, National Endowment for the Arts.