CVG Chapter

Chapter Chairs

Blake Kishler is a Branded Environments Designer at Kolar Design in Cincinnati
Blake Kishler
Grania Frueh, Environmental Graphic Designer, BHDP, Cincinnati, Ohio
Grania Frueh
Margaret Vennemeyer, BHDP Architecture
Margaret Lange
Hannah Anderson is the Construction Administration Lead at Kolar Design in Cincinnati
Hannah Anderson
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Guide Studio Job Posted April 10

SEGD Award Winning Projects

Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway Communications, Cloud Gehshan Associates
Ohio & Erie Canalway
Scrabble on the Cincinnati Skyline, Mike Ruehlman, University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
Scrabble on the Cincinnati Skyline
Formica Corporation, Kuhlmann Leavitt
Formica Corporation
Duke Energy Center, City of Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering, Sussman/Prejza & Company, LMN Architects
Duke Energy Center

Cincinnati, OH Blog

April Write About It

Stephen Harroun
Regional Manager, APCO Signs
[email protected]

Many architects and designers have been asking for a resource on the "new" ADA guidelines for signage, the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, enforceable as of March 15, 2012 for new construction and renovations. There are a few great outlines and whitepapers available (SEGD!) that highlight the changes and updates. Before we get specific, let’s discuss the goal of the ADA - intent.

The intent of the ADA is to remove barriers for disabled people so that they have an equal opportunity to function in our society. Specifically, "…for newly designed and constructed or altered State and local government facilities, public accommodations, and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities." –

Code vs. Law

There is some confusion on what is code and what is law. ADA Standards are not building codes; they are requirements of design and construction, covered by civil rights law. States can determine which codes they follow; for example, Pennsylvania still uses the 2009 Building Code, except for accessibility standards. Additionally, codes are up for interpretation by local inspectors.

A number of federal, state, and independent regulatory bodies have published guidelines that dictate several factors of sign design, construction, content, and installation. Together, they regulate what we know as sign codes. Please note that although these agencies have published regulations, your local municipality may require more stringent guidelines or may interpret those standards differently.


There are a few instances where compliant signs are required, but not often specified.

  1. Cubicles. Since fixed furniture systems are often in place for longer than the “temporary” time limit of 5 days or less, then they are considered permanent spaces. If a sign is located on a cubicle, it should fulfill all of the requirements of ADA, including tactile copy and braille. This can be achieved inexpensively with a tactile cubicle number (A01, for example) and a paper insert for the occupant name.
  2. Stairwells. In a structure with 4+ levels / floors, there are 3 signs required at each stairwell (2012 IFC).
    • Corridor-side Stair ID: this sign should identify the stairwell and whether it is an exit with tactile copy and braille.
    • Stairwell-side Floor ID: this sign should identify the floor level with tactile copy and braille.
    • Stairwell-side informational sign: this sign should identify the stair ID, roof access, the current level, levels the stair serves, and the level of discharge.
    • Please note that many inspectors believe the stairwell-side informational sign is required to have tactile copy and braille, per 2009 IFC. 2012 IFC clearly dictates that these are two separate signs.
  3. Private companies and offices. If a sign is located at offices inside a standard office space, they are required to comply with the ADA Standards, including tactile copy and braille. Not only is the ADA involved with this to reduce barriers, but equal opportunity employment laws.


Standardized regulations have been instituted for the safety of the general public and to reduce barriers for those with disabilities. These standards were put in place to help first responders navigate a facility to quickly respond to emergencies (logical room numbering), to help building occupants navigate and exit in case of an emergency (life safety signs, directional signs along egress pathways), to help those with visual impairments find their way throughout a facility (tactile characters, braille, and adequate contrast), to help drivers read information quicker and easier to avoid accidents (exterior sign placement, character height, font, and color contrast), to remove barriers for those in wheelchairs (mounting height of signs), and to better communicate in our multi-lingual society (standard symbols and icons). There are many more, but these examples should help to illustrate the importance of instituting code compliant signage in your facility. Additionally, I am often asked if only public spaces are required to follow code. Reference Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and you will learn that those with disabilities cannot be discriminated against in the workplace due to their disability, in private or government sectors.


While a Fire Marshal or inspector may not require compliant signs for occupancy permits or other inspections, an organization may be liable for a lawsuit from an individual who feels that they are being discriminated against. Also, considering the safety implications, it is in everyone’s best interest to do what we can to provide safe and accessible environments for employees, patients, customers, and visitors.


Ultimately, if an organization does not have complaint signage, they become liable for discrimination. As of March 28, 2014, an organization can be liable for a maximum civil penalty of $75,000 for the first ADA violation and $150,000 for each subsequent violation.

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Thank you to everyone who attended our first event of 2018 and helped welcome our new co-chairs! We enjoyed lots of great conversation (and, of course, wine) in the high-ceilinged warehouse of The Skeleton Root. And congratulations to Jessie Kaising and Lucy Cossentino-Sinard, our raffle winners!

Cheers to those who have volunteered to contribute to our Write About It series in the coming months. If you have an inspiring or informative topic to share for Write About It, drop us a line at [email protected] and we'll get in touch with the details.

Also, just prior to last week's event, we launched our chapter Facebook page, as another way to stay connected to all of you.

Check out Soapbox Media's article on the Cincinnati Center for Architecture + Design (CCAD), a new home space in Over-the-Rhine for five creative organizations. SEGD Cincy worked over the winter to develop the Center's brand and visual identity. The Center will be a shareable space for local chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), SEGD, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and The American Society for Landscape Architects (ASLA). We're excited about the possibilities that the space will offer our creative community. Keep an eye on your e-mail for the official open house this spring.

Join us to meet the new SEGD Chapter Chairs and learn about the upcoming events planned for 2018! Blake and Grania are thrilled to be part of the team and are ready to hit the ground running. We will also be raffling off a door prize!

The Skeleton Root
38 W McMicken Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(North OTR neighborhood. Street parking available.)

Skeleton Root is an urban winery and event space in Over-the-Rhine. Their wines are inspired by the deep heritage of the region, paying homage to the roots that were once here. SEGD Cincy found this to be a perfect location for our first event of the year – their beautiful tasting room and cozy furniture are sure to help combat the winter blues!

Have a project, insight, or experience to share? There will be a sign-up at the event for those interested in guest writing for the SEGD Cincinnati Blog and/or hosting a project tour this year.


See you there!

Blake, Grania, Hannah, and Margaret


2018 is well underway, and it brings exciting changes to SEGD Cincinnati (along with ice, snow, rain, flooding, and 60-degree temperature swings).

We welcome the addition of two new Chapter Co-Chairs, Blake Kishler and Grania Frueh! Over the past few months, Blake and Grania have been assisting with chapter planning and with SEGD's involvement in the upcoming Cincinnati Center for Architecture and Design. Speaking of the Center, look for an update on the branding effort and soft opening update soon.

We are also incredibly excited to congratulate Hannah Anderson on her appointment to the 2018 SEGD Board of Directors, where she has the opportunity to serve SEGD at the international level. Don't worry, you will still see Hannah's friendly face around Cincinnati as she continues to support our chapter in the coming months.

In our own words:

Blake Kishler Cincinnati CVG SEGD Chair

Blake Kishler, new Chapter Co-Chair

"Hi CVG Chapter! My pinball-like path to EGD goes from a degree in Industrial Design at Ohio State, to consulting for an aircraft builder, to 3 years at a trade show exhibit firm, and finally to Cincinnati and Kolar in 2013. Most of my recent work concentrates on wayfinding and placemaking in healthcare, civic, and mixed-use. I also currently represent SEGD on the Cincinnati Design Awards committee.

SEGD is proof that fun work is done by fun people. I've been continually inspired by the welcoming and vibrant atmosphere of this chapter and its membership. So excited to be a co-chair and continue the awesome trajectory that Margaret and Hannah have set us on. See you all soon!"


Grania Frueh Cincinnati CVG

Grania Frueh, new Chapter Co-Chair

"Hello SEGD Cincy! I am so excited to be joining such a wonderful crew as a new co-chair. My background is in EGD, specifically working as part of our experiential graphic design team for BHDP Architecture. I am a DAAP graduate, Cincinnati native, and a Findlay Market resident - I have lived in OTR for nearly six years and am a huge believer in the investment our city has made to its urban core.

Margaret and Hannah have succeeded in bringing together a lot of design minded people in our tristate and being champions for SEGD in the community. I am thrilled to continue this momentum and bring our chapter to the next level."


Hannah Anderson Cincinnati CVG SEGD Board

Hannah Anderson, new position to SEGD Board of Directors, ongoing support to local chapter

"SEGD has been such a positive influence on my career in EGD. As the programming and educational opportunities have grown over the years, so have I benefitted from them. This is a group of professionals who are excited about what they do and the more I give, the more I get out of it. As a local chapter co-chair for the last four years, I have strived to pay forward the benefits of this organization to my colleagues and peers in the community. I am very honored and fortunate to now serve on the Board of an organization that inspires and gives so much back to the design field that I love."

Thanks to everyone for their participation and contributions to local and SEGD-wide events in 2017. You've shown the world that Cincinnati is a city that creates, questions, learns, builds, and elevates. We can't wait to share more great experiences with you in the year ahead.

UC | DAAP Building, Aronoff 4400

SEGD Members, UC DAAP Alumni, and friends: Join us this Wednesday evening for an inspiring talk by Cybelle Lewis Jones!

In What is Museum Design? Interdisciplinary Trends and Personalized Experiences, Ms. Jones will explore the world of Museum and Exhibition Design through her 30+ years of leadership in the ever evolving, elusive, and often unknown field of design and how it is leading new interdisciplinary trends in design, media and architecture.

Cybelle Jones is a Principal and Executive Director at Gallagher & Associates, based in Washington D.C., specializing in museum master planning and exhibit design. She has over 30 years of experience directing projects ranging from highly articulated interactive cultural experiences to fine art and historical museums.


SEGD is the smallest, friendliest, most open design association. Join and find out what community really means!.