Universal Access Symbols
Universal Access Symbols help visitors, audiences and staff identify accessible events at a glance. You can use the symbols in advertisements, newsletters, conference and program brochures, membership forms, building signs, floor plans and maps.
By including the symbols in your promotional materials, you’re showing that you’re access-aware and helping all visitors feel welcome – for example, using a ‘wheelchair accessible’ symbol also tells patrons who use prams, walking frames or who have other mobility issues that your building is easily accessible.
The Graphic Artists Guild (USA) has created a set of free Universal Access Symbols, which you can download in a variety of formats.
What the symbols mean
Audio description is a service that enhances the live theatre or film experience for people who are blind or have low vision. Through the use of a small radio receiver, audience members can listen to a description of the visual aspects of the performance during appropriate breaks in the dialogue.
Accessible for low vision
The accessible for low vision symbol indicates access for people who are blind or have low vision. It should be used for guided or tactile tours, nature trails or a scent garden with clear parks or museum/gallery exhibitions that may be touched.
Sign language interpreted
The sign language interpreting symbol should be used where Auslan – or another sign language – interpreting is available for patrons or audiences. This may be interpretation of performance, presentations or social interpreting for interval or ‘after-parties’.
Assistive listening systems
Hearing loops, or assistive listening systems, are installed at many theatres and can be used to amplify or enhance sound quality and eliminate background noise for people who are hard of hearing.
Use the wheelchair access symbol when the venue is wheelchair accessible and has accessible bathrooms. A wheelchair-friendly venue should also have specific seating reserved for wheelchair users.
Captioning is available at selected performances. Captions are prepared from the script of the play by highly trained staff. During the performance, the captions are displayed on a screen, enabling the audience to read what is being said, without obstructing the actors.
Open captioning is always in view, and cannot be turned off; closed captioning can be activated or deactivated by the viewer.
You can offer large print materials to your patrons – including books, brochures, guides and programs, forms and signage. Large print materials should be 18 points or larger, have high contrast (i.e. black print on white or white print on black) and well-spaced.
The Braille symbol indicates that printed material is available in Braille, including items such as exhibition labelling, publications and signage.
The Companion Card is issued to people with a significant, permanent disability who can demonstrate that they are unable to access most community activities and venues without attendant care support, and entitles their companion to a complimentary ticket. Use this symbol to promote that your venue will accept Companion Card bookings.