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Use of logos on GOV.UK pages: draft guidelines

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The information in this blogpost may now be out of date.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 So we've written some draft guidance to set out our current position.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

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.

General approach

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)

  • brand pages

  • 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

9. Government organisations can feature their logo on their homepage (eg, with usage in line with the single government identity system.

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.

Sharing and comments

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  1. Comment by Graham Lee posted on

    Hi Graham,

    Thanks for this. Can we therefore get rid of logos for things like detailed guides? These take up a lot of 'real estate' on the page, without adding any real value, eg:


    Graham L

    • Replies to Graham Lee>

      Comment by Graham Francis posted on

      Interesting point. I'd tend to agree. Would be good to hear the views of others on this.

      • Replies to Graham Francis>

        Comment by Andrew Robertson posted on

        I think it should be consistent: either detailed guides, announcements and publications ALL have the logos included, or none do and just have the name which is hyperlinked to the organisation page on GOV.UK.
        There is a little nervousness in my organisation that we will lose our identity, for which we have a brand exemption.

  2. Comment by Graham Lee posted on

    PS Are you also going to retire the Directgov and Business Link logos from the home page at some point in the near future, given that has been around for over a year now?

    • Replies to Graham Lee>

      Comment by Graham Francis posted on

      True. But there are still some online transactions which use the Directgov logos - while those are still around, it's probably a good idea to reflect some sort of continuity between Directgov to GOV.UK so that users know that Directgov-branded things are legit.

    • Replies to Graham Lee>

      Comment by Andrew Robertson posted on

      I agree with Graham Lee. As a user finding an answer to a question (probably coming from Google), why do I need to know the content replaces two sites I may never have used and never heard of, that closed over a year ago?

      I also don't think the Businesslink and Directgov logos should be included on the GOV.UK home page. And not many people visit the home page anyway I believe? Perhaps add to help/introduction pages to explain where GOV.UK has come from for those that really need to know?

      As for a link to transactional services with the logos, would it not be better to either include the logo on the 'start' page (if the connection is important) or have text to say 'on the DirectGov site'. Still not sure why having on the GOV.UK home page will help me do my car tax, having found the start page from internet searches.

      • Replies to Andrew Robertson>

        Comment by Graham Lee posted on

        Directgov-labelled transactions could be 'skinned-and-linked' or rebranded to get around that problem.

        This has been done for some of the transactions - presumably the others are in the course of being redone?

        It is confusing to read that 'GOV.UK replaces Directgov' and then be referred to an orange webpage with the DG logo.

      • Replies to Andrew Robertson>

        Comment by Roo Reynolds posted on

        The Directgov and Business Link logos you see on the homepage and relevant pages of mainstream content are there to reassure users (often having being redirected from old Directgov pages) that they're in the right place.

        Directgov, especially, was a well known brand in the UK and know that more people are (still) searching for Directgov than GOV.UK.

        It's already showing signs of changing though. We'll obviously be tracking the data this year to help inform any change to our approach.

  3. Comment by Bradley posted on

    Hi I believe a private company is using the Disclosure and Barring service logo illegally on its website. I would like to pass the details on to you. Please can you advise the best course of action. Thank You.

  4. Comment by Farhan Ghazi posted on