Beautiful Signs for a Better Planet



Refined custom wood signs are a great option for ADA and wayfinding signage in commercial building and multi-family residential projects.  Examples from unique clients projects reveal the versatility of natural materials and the range of design options.  Additionally, making business signs from wood delivers durability, sustainability and cost advantages.


From painted signs, signs with channels or inlays, changeable slide-in signs, layered signs and signs that mix metal and wood, the interior custom wood signs options are endless.  Using natural materials in interior design is preferred by most clients and employees, and there are biophilic design health and wellness advantages to bringing nature indoors. Increasing our connection to nature improves community, creativity and productivity.

Many projects don’t need highly customized ADA and wayfinding signs.  Selecting a paint code and a contrasting color for copy is an effective way to quick design excellent custom signage.

An entire sign or just the sign face or edge can be painted. Applying paint to only the edges of signs is a great way to “hide” plywood layers or incorporate branding and design elements into your signs.  For best results, we recommend painting all of a given plane of a sign.

Green Dot Sign painting to wood uses a primer base coat, followed by your paint color of choice.

Custom wood signsInclude the following specification notes when you choose paint for your custom ADA signs:

  • Sheen – Matte or satin;  We recommend satin for most applications because it has a stronger finish


  • Color – Include a Pantone color or paint code from any large paint manufacturer; Know that each paint color used for your signs includes a setup and cleanup lump sum cost.  If you want a lot of color variety, 3D printed sign faces are more economical



Custom Wood SignsThere are many easy machining options for custom wood signs. For example, v-channels are an interesting and cost-effective way to create a visual separation line.

Inlaying strips of complimentary natural materials is another great custom sign design option.

Unique inlaid material ideas include:

  • Contrasting wood species, such as walnut on aspen
  • Stone or metal strips
  • Site significant materials, whether repurposed building materials or brand significant materials or components
  • Specialty laminates, such a Chemetal or WilsonArt



These custom room signs show how simple lines, either as a v-channel or inlaid slate, can create a balanced, elegant look. 


Changeable ADA signs are often called slide-in signs or insert holders.  They feature a way to hold and view inserts the building user can easily change. This important functionality is often used for names, and is especially valuable for schools and offices.  

There are two standard Green Dot Sign® compatible fabrication methods for changeable signs.  

Folded plastic plates – The most cost effective option, folded plates may have a painted opaque back or be clear.  A folded over piece of plastic holds 4 by 6 inch inserts, pinching them at the top.  This size is stocked and available with at a low standard piece price.  Standard piece outside dimensions are 4.09 by 6 inches and includes a half circle inset on the inside for easy paper removal. 

Solid clear faces – While solid clear slide-in sign faces are typically made of tempered glass, clear plastics are also available.  We are validating bio-based plastics to replace acrylic but trials are not yet complete. 

Solid faces present a more refined appearance and accommodate large inserts, such as 11 by 17 inch inserts.

This first image shows a changeable sign with a standard insert. The second image shows distinct colors for the sign pieces used to make a solid clear face sign.  Size and thickness may be adjusted.  Click to download a live, editable version.


Key specification notes:

  • If choosing glass, be sure to note that it should be tempered;  Tempered glass is infinitely recyclable and more durable then fossil-fuel derived acrylic. However, half circle cut outs add more cost and lead time.
  • Ideally specify 1) clear material thickness and 2) the allowable gap range between clear face and backer, leaving other details to the manufacturer; a gap of 0.035″ is common to hold common office papers
  • Backer and face materials may be mixed; selecting Baltic birch plywood for the backer and a more decorative face wood is common; backer edges may be painted, laminated or left exposed
  • Green element holding face may be on two or three sides, and may include tactile characters or flat printing

Wood has excellent structural integrity. This means multiple layer custom signs that combine wood species or alternate materials are possible.

Layer signs are also a good option for creating two-sided signs, accessed by both sides of a doorway.

Additionally, through the strength and flexibility of wood, custom signs can be built into a wood or tile wall or constructed with recessed cleats  for completely flat installation.


These colorful, layered conference room signs are part of a package created for the Aspen, CO City Hall. 

Green Dot Sign Exterior ADA signs can also be used indoors. Durable metal signs are a great option for rooms and corridors abutting surgery rooms due to their extreme resistance to cleaning procedures.  

Additionally, metal ADA signs can be attached to a wooden sign base to create stunning interior custom signage.  Complimentary materials create true visual interest and can be selected to blend with architectural accents and features. Additionally, at end of use, the wood and metal sign components are 100% biodegradable or recyclable. 

The pictured custom ADA signs combine metal and wood for a high-end look and feel. In one sign an ADA compliant brass face was mounted to a laser etched cherry wood base.  In the other sign, a metal ADA sign featuring hexagonal design elements mounted to an aspen wood backer.  Hexagonal elements carry over the wooden sign backer via flat printing. 


Green Dot Sign® offers several custom wood signage product lines to fit your project budget.  Based on sign materials, order quantity, size and sign design complexity, prices range from $15 to $500 each, with $60 to $100 being typical.  Go to our Custom ADA Signs Design Guide to learn more about our economy, standard and premium options and the five key considerations when designing and specifying your custom wood ADA and wayfinding signage.



Custom Interior Wood ADA Signs


Well Signage System Declare LabelReal wood custom ADA signs are the most sustainable ADA compliant office signs available for businesses and commercial buildings.  To learn more about what makes our wood signs eco-friendly and how signage can contribute to certified USGBC LEED and ILFI Living Building Challenge buildings go to our Sustainable Signage page.

Responsible forest management – Trees are a renewable natural resource.  When forests are managed responsibly they increase biodiversity, sequester carbon and clean our air and water. International organizations, including the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), work to protect forests from illegal logging or conversion to farmland.

Non-toxic materials – While developing Green Dot signs, we researched, disclosed, and in some cases changed, the constituents so that are products are free of Red List chemicals.  This means they contain no phthalates, lead, or the hundreds of other chemicals considered most harmful to people and planet. FSC Aspen Base Signage components are disclosed in our Red List Approved Declare label.  

Carbon sequestration – Trees absorb CO2 emissions and about half of the weight of dry wood is carbon.  Additionally, wood is biodegradable and at the end of use, Green Dot Sign® custom wood signs are eligible for our extended producer responsibility recycling program.


Today the majority of traditional, plastic tactile braille signs rely on adhesive to hold together plastic layers of different colors.  Usually there’s a back substrate, and a top layer from which letters and pictograms are cut.  This method works well in many situations, however, a lot of ADA signs end up missing braille or letters.  If using materials with different rates of thermal and hygroscopic expansion then product failure becomes a “when” not “if”.

Risk of adhesive failure was especially true for wooden ADA signs.  Using traditional methods, wood had to be “plasticized” with layers of coatings in order for adhesives to bond well.  This process was both costly and inconsistent.


Green Dot Sign® wooden ADA signs are different because of our new, patent pending 3D printing process.


3D printing process – Via our manufacturing process 3D printed material directly bonds to the wood sign base.  A special layer highly receptive to 3D printed “inks” bonds with the topmost wood fibers of the sign blank.  The raised characters are made directly on this topmost wood fiber matrix.

No adhesives – Our custom wood signs don’t rely on adhesive to hold plastic and wood together, so braille and other tactile content are vandal resistant than traditional plastic ADA signs and last longer.

Industry best warranty – Most Green Dot Sign custom wood signs come with an industry best warranty.


These room number signs contain brass numbers and clear 3D printed braille on a walnut sign base with a shallow edge chamfer.

ASSESS compliance > DESIGN thoughtfully > MANUFACTURE sustainably > INSTALL skillfully

Green Dot Sign® is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota and partners with brands, AECO project teams and sign companies across the U.S.  Signage experts since 2009 and eco-friendly sign specialists since 2019, we offer standard ADA wayfinding signs for fast delivery and custom interior and exterior signage to provide a sustainable signage solution for every building.

From ADA signage needs evaluation to sign design, fabrication, project management or installation Green Dot Sign® handles any part or all of the signage needs for your next building project.  Message us today for a no obligation sign consultation or fast quote and free samples.

Contact Us Today