The information in this blogpost may now be out of date. See the current GOV.UK content and publishing guidance.
We've had a few questions recently about whether - and where - logos can be used within GOV.UK content and tools. So we've written some draft guidance to set out our current position.
If you have any comments, please let us know by: Friday 14 February. (Either comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
A revised draft will then be circulated to the cross-departmental GOV.UK steering group in time for discussion at their February meeting.
Use of logos on GOV.UK pages: draft guidelines
1. Logos should only be used on GOV.UK where there is solid evidence of user need. These guidelines set out some common scenarios and approval routes.
2. The Government Digital Service (GDS) aims to:
connect users quickly and simply with the services and information they require via GOV.UK, without their needing to be unnecessarily exposed to the workings of government
build trust in GOV.UK as the single source of government online publishing, so that users become more confident interacting with government online
3. Our overall approach is therefore normally not to use logos on GOV.UK, other than in a tightly constrained set of user need-based circumstances as set out below.
4. It is never acceptable for a logo to be used on GOV.UK as part of a commercial or reciprocal linking arrangement.
5. All requests to use logos should initially be made via a Zendesk request, following which a member of the GOV.UK product team will discuss your needs in more detail. Ultimately, all requests for logos and branding will be subject to approval by the relevant GOV.UK product manager.
Services and information
6. Logos will be considered for use within GOV.UK service and information content if they meet a user need by:
relating to an intrinsic part of a transaction - for example, helping users choose between identity assurance suppliers
helping users achieve a specific goal, for example, allowing payment by PayPal
illustrating a content item, for example, displaying the Green Deal kitemark
7. Logos should not be used to:
associate a government transaction with a service provider - this should be achieved through the use of flat, non-linked, text (eg, ‘Service provided by Student Loans Company’) , rather than a logo (but see para 9 for exceptions)
acknowledge partners: if government has worked with partners on a particular scheme, this can be reflected via the supporting policy detail page (eg this one on the Green Deal)
8. In exceptional cases, where government has an existing highly trusted brand, GDS will consider whether the inclusion of that logo within a transaction could enhance user trust in that service. If we agree there is potential value, the usage and placement of the logo should be subject to user testing, and be ultimately agreed at the service assessment. Any exceptions granted will periodically be reviewed against GOV.UK logo policy as it develops - and we’ll help monitor and report back on performance of logos when they are used in these situations.
Departments and policy
10. Certain logos are also used for the purpose of demonstrating to users that government data has been independently verified, for example:
Open Government Licence
Office of National Statistics logo
11. It is also possible to include logos as illustrating material:
on topical event pages, if a specific logo is attached to that event (eg WW1, G8)
as part of promotional images for news stories
12. It is possible to use campaign logos and branding on GOV.UK campaign landing pages, within existing design guidelines.
Revisions to these guidelines
13. These guidelines will be subject to periodical review. The next review is scheduled for July 2014.
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Update: 17 February 2014
We've had a couple of useful amends suggested, which I thought I'd note here.
i. In section 4, we should make it clearer that if a commercial arrangement delivers the user benefits outlined in section 6, that's fine. It's just that we shouldn't publish logos *solely* for commercial reasons.
ii. Regarding section 8 - how value of logos could be tested. In the long term, we could use A/B testing for this. However, more immediately a tool like Verifyapp could be used to carry out a simple test to look at trustworthiness with and without the logo. Bounce rates could be taken as evidence. A small qualitative test (usability test, say) could be used to augment the focussed quant study.