Branding guidelines

It is important for the public to easily recognise the work of government, departments, their agencies and Arms Length Bodies. This shows the information is official and comes from the government.

The unifying element of the Government identity is the Royal Coat of Arms, approved by Her Majesty the Queen in 1956. Only departments of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) and its organisations are permitted to use the Royal Coat of Arms and associated insignia.

On this page:

HM Government Branding Guidelines

Guidelines update in March 2022

Watch the video HM Government Branding Guidelines (1 minute 35)

Government identity system. The government identity system was designed to turn a group of disparate visual identities into a clearly defined family. It helps the public recognise when an organisation is part of government and it is a practical, cost-efficient solution for consistent logo creation working across all products and platforms. 
Using the identity, each logo has 3 elements: 
  1. the organisation name in full
  2. the Royal Coat of Arms
  3. an identifiable colour line. 
The Royal Coat of Arms assures the public that the organisation is part of the government family. HM Government sits at the head of this family, parent to the government departments, who are in turn parents to their agencies. 
As master brand, HM Government should be used to brand any cross-governmental activity instead of using multiple department logos. This includes high-profile, public-facing campaigns to make the government’s involvement clear. The identity is recognised and trust by the UK public. So, unless there is a specific reason not to, use HM Government. 
For queries related to the government identity system or use of the HM Government brand, contact For design and practical application queries, contact Design102.

UK and overseas branding

For UK branding and overseas branding (where the royal coat of arms might not be recognised) communication professionals need to use:

HMG Identity Guidelines (Updated March 2022)

To access the full suite of government brand guidelines and download artwork:

Digital brand safety in advertising

The SAFE Framework introduces new standards for digital brand safety in HM Government advertising.

Logo and image use

The default logo is ‘HM Government’.

For assets being communicated towards a UK-based audience, for example, a nationwide or locally based campaign, the default logo is ‘HM Government’.

However, in some cases, the HM Government logo may not be appropriate.
To provide a reason for exemption and to seek permission to use a departmental logo for outward comms instead of the HM Government logo, you need to submit your Professional Assurance (PASS) application or contact us.

To use comms internally across the Civil Service, there is a separate ‘Civil Service’ logo, contact us.

‘UK aid’ logo

You need to refer to the UK aid branding guidance for advice on ‘UK aid’ and email to request permission to use the logo.

Co-brand with Government

Use HM Government logo and make sure that the HMG logo has prominence.

If you are an outside organisation receiving content, funding, or support of your service from a government department, then you may be entitled to use government branding.

Make sure:

  • you have permission from the department which you worked with;
  • you use the HM Government logo should be used, rather than a specific departmental logo;
  • the HM Government logo should have prominence whenever possible.

Devolved administration

Use devolved government logos in a similar way to departmental logos, for example for direct communication such as email signatures and social media.

However, for outward communication such as campaigns or publication, the HMG logo should be used as this covers devolved administrations. For devolved logos, contact us.

Departmental branding

Departmental branding is generally reserved for direct communication, for example, email signatures, letter headings, social media.

For social media avatars, the Royal Coat of Arms is used on its own, with the HM Government primary colour in the background.

For consistency, every department and their agencies should follow this rule, using their crest, insignia or symbol from their logo and their primary colour as the background.

This is because the organisation name will always be visible beside the avatar on profiles and posts.

For cover photos, follow brand guidance on photography. Cover photos should not include the organisation name.

Use of images

The right image often makes all the difference in creating effective communications. But how do we make sure we use images correctly

All government communicators should be aware of intellectual property rules surrounding image use. The Government Digital Service has produced guidance on adhering to image copyright standards – and on choosing the best images to support your messaging.

This guidance applies not only to GOV.UK, but to all governmental websites and publications: guidance on adhering to image copyright standards

Risk: generic links don’t capitalise on brand trust. If you bury credibility behind a generic, shortened link you lose out on that hard-won recognition and trust. Learn why you should avoid link shorteners: Link shorteners: the long and short of why you shouldn’t use them

Government campaign

All government campaigns and comms should be government branded to ensure transparency and accountability.

There are some campaigns that have gained exemptions, for example, the NHS, where branding is recognisably government or well-known.

If you wish to have an exemption, include in your PASS application or contact us.

Style guide

The Government Digital Service (GDS) style guide covers style points for content and guidance on specific points of style, such as abbreviations, numbers and acronyms

GDS style guide (GOV.UK)


If you have questions about the strategic use of the Government Identity System or you would like permission to use the brand contact

For questions relating to design and the practical application of the brand contact Design 102: