The importance of our identity

Our identity is important. It affects how people think and feel about the NHS. Our identity is largely shaped by what we do – treating illness and promoting health. But our communications also play an important part in defining who we are.

Across all media and materials, our communications need to express and support our NHS values and principles. At a time of change within the NHS, our communications are essential to helping the public and patients navigate a more diverse healthcare system. Through our communications, we also need to reassure people that NHS standards are being maintained.

The NHS is recognised spontaneously by over 95% of the public, and carries high levels of trust and credibility. By using the NHS corporate identity correctly, you can help to reassure people that services are part of the NHS family, and that these services are being delivered in line with our values.

One logo policy

Central to the NHS identity is the one logo policy. The guidelines do not allow new or alternative logos to be used within the NHS, including new logos for campaigns, units, programmes etc. This is to avoid competing with the NHS logo and compromising its integrity.

NHS communications principles

When producing materials for the NHS, you should follow our communications principles to ensure that your work is:

  • Clear and professional: demonstrating pride and authority in what we do.
  • Cost-effective: showing that budgets have been used wisely.
  • Straightforward: avoiding gimmicks and over complicated design or wording.
  • Modern: portraying the NHS in a way that is up to date.
  • Accessible: understood by the target audience and easily obtainable and available in other languages, symbols or formats.
  • Honest: avoiding misleading information or false promises.
  • Respectful: showing respect for our audience, avoiding unfair stereotypes, acknowledging the different needs of individuals and populations.

Last updated: 28/05/10