Building more accessible brands

When you’re in a highly-regulated industry like EyeMed, one where customers also skew toward vision problems, accessibility and ADA compliance are constant concerns. But repeatedly adjusting a website and inventory of printed pieces isn’t the most efficient solution. For EyeMed, it was pretty clear that ADA needed to be addressed on a more comprehensive brand level.

An Efficient ADA Strategy

ADA compliance and brand personality should both be considered in design and should complement each other. EyeMed’s brand has a bright, colorful, rich personality and we didn’t want to lose that vibrancy – the member experience is what their brand is all about. With a more holistic solution, accessibility and inclusion could be built in to every brand communication.


It Starts With Color, Type and Contrast

A broad audit of member materials, PDFs and website pages revealed several accessibility issues that would need to be “fixed.” Nearly all of the brand’s five colors were too bright or light to meet ADA contrast standards with type. Adding darker color like blue might work, but would be a bit too traditional for EyeMed’s personality. To maintain a sense of warmth and bubbliness, we decided against that, but did recommend dropping yellow from the palette and moving to a more high-contrast green, pink and orange. Color changes are a huge shift for any client (think signage, trade show booths, even lobby design) and required a significant commitment from EyeMed. So we also set them up with resources to ease the way.

Codifying Compliance in Brand Guidelines

After transferring several hundred printed materials to fit ADA standards – and further modifying them to fit Medicare and Medicaid markets – we created templates that allow EyeMed to carry these new standards forward. To help EyeMed consistently keep their brand accessible, while maintaining the brand’s connection with customers, an evolved set of brand guidelines was also in order. The revised guidelines set standards for typeface, color and contrast, including type size and weight standards; a matrix of acceptable combinations for every color tint; and a content hierarchy.

How-tos Help the Whole Team

To further help EyeMed’s many creative partners, we built a set of detailed instructions for setting up Acrobat and InDesign PDF files for ADA compliance. It shows any designer exactly how to tag, order and structure content and graphics, and use metadata to help electronic screen readers translate the document accurately. Online and in print, tools like this help brands produce more accessible communications – the first time.