The main cause of structural damage in buildings subjected to seismic actions is lateral drift. In almost all reinforced concrete (RC) structures, whether designed with walls or frames, it is likely to be the code drift limits that control the design drift. The design drift limits and their contribution to damage may be represented indirectly through the material strain limits. The aim of this study is to investigate the seismic design indicators of RC columns using finite element analyses (FEA). The results of FEA have been compared with the results of experimental studies selected from literature. It is observed that the lateral load-deflection curves of analyzed columns are in agreement with the experimental results. Based on these lateral load-deflection curves, the drift limits and the material strain limits, given by the codes as performance indicator, are compared. It is observed that the material strain limits are non-conservative as performance indicator of RC columns, compared to the drift limits.