Content design: planning, writing and managing content

Use of government logos on GOV.UK

When government logos can be used on GOV.UK.


  1. 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

  1. 2. Government Digital Service (GDS) aims to:

    1. i. connect users quickly and simply with the services and information they need via GOV.UK, without their needing to be unnecessarily exposed to the workings of government
    2. ii. build trust in GOV.UK as the single source of government online publishing, so that users become more confident interacting with government online
  2. 3. The evidence we have indicates that the inclusion of logos on GOV.UK tends not to contribute to these aims. User testing of alternative GOV.UK content designs (including by users of Department for Education, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and Department for Work and Pension services) has not given any indication that the addition of logos or branding in addition to that of GOV.UK would increase user trust in the content; or that it would make users more likely to engage with government services.

  3. 4. Our overall approach is therefore normally not to use logos for organisations or schemes on GOV.UK, other than in a tightly constrained set of user need-based circumstances as set out below.

  4. 5. It is never acceptable for a logo to be used on GOV.UK solely as part of a commercial or reciprocal linking arrangement.

  5. 6. All requests to use logos should initially be made via a service 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

  1. 7. Logos will be considered for use within GOV.UK service and information content if they meet a user need by:

    1. i. relating to an intrinsic part of a transaction – for example, helping users choose between identity assurance suppliers
    2. ii. helping users achieve a specific goal, for example, allowing payment by PayPal
    3. iii. illustrating a content item, for example, displaying the Green Deal kitemark
  2. 8. Logos should not be used to:

    1. i. 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)
    2. ii. brand pages
    3. iii. 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
  3. 9. Where government has an existing highly trusted brand, GDS will remain open to argument that the inclusion of that logo within a transaction could enhance user trust in that service.

  4. 10. In such cases, the usage and placement of the logo should be put through user testing – for example, A/B testing or using a tool such as Verifyapp to carry out a simple test to look at trustworthiness with and without the logo. Bounce rates could be taken as evidence, with a small qualitative test used to augment the focussed quantitative study.

  5. 11. Use of the logo would then ultimately be 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

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

  2. 13. Certain logos are also used for the purpose of demonstrating to users that government data has been independently verified, for example:

    1. i. Open Government Licence
    2. ii. Office of National Statistics logo
  3. 14. It is also possible to include logos as illustrating material:

    1. i. on topical event pages, if a specific logo is attached to that event (eg WW1, G8)
    2. ii. as part of promotional images for news stories


  1. 15. It is possible to use campaign logos and branding on GOV.UK campaign landing pages, within existing design guidelines.

Document version history

v0.1 Draft guidelines published on 22 January 2014 for government comment

V1.0 These guidelines approved by GOV.UK steering group, April 2014