Typefaces are an important part of the NHS identity. The consistent use of the NHS typefaces is essential to helping us establish a recognised and professional brand. These typefaces must be clean, clear and easy to read. It is vital that they are used correctly across all services, messages and materials.
Different typefaces have different roles and uses within NHS communications, as shown here.
Adobe Frutiger is a modern and flexible typeface. It should be used on all professionally printed NHS communications, such as:
Frutiger is ideal for headings and text, and is also very effective when used in:
You can use Frutiger in different weights, styles, sizes and colours to create your own unique design style within your documents.
We supply all NHS organisations with a single licensed copy of the Frutiger typeface for both PCs and Apple Macs when they order logotypes for the first time.
Main use: professionally produced materials.
Preferred format: light, regular and bold.
Frutiger Regular Italic
Frutiger Light Italic
Frutiger Bold Italic
You can use Arial for internally produced documents as an alternative to Frutiger. It is the preferred typeface where Frutiger is unavailable.
Arial is particularly good for:
Similar typefaces include:
Main use: internal communications
Preferred format:regular, bold and italic
Arial Regular Italic
Arial Bold Italic
Garamond is a good typeface to use in body copy. It reads easily and complements Frutiger. Garamond Roman should be used where available, supported by italic and bold typefaces for printed materials.
If a copy of Garamond is not available, contact your local printer. They are likely to hold a licensed copy for printed materials.
Main use: body copy.
Preferred format: Roman, supported by italic and bold for printed materials.
Garamond Bold Italic
If Garamond is not available, you can use Times New Roman instead. Times New Roman is available on most computers and may be used for correspondence and internally produced documents.
Main use: body copy, correspondence and internally produced documents.
Preferred format: normal, Roman, regular, supported by bold and italics where appropriate.
Times New Roman Regular
Times New Roman Italic
Times New Roman Bold
Times New Roman Bold Italic
Although Frutiger should be used wherever possible, there may be occasions when other fonts are more appropriate. For example, to add graphic interest to a printed communication aimed at young people, you could use an alternative typeface for publication titles and headlines. The alternative typeface must, however, conform to the NHS communication principles of clarity and accessibility. It must also help to include, engage and inspire the target audience.
We want the NHS to be accessible to all people at all times; to provide quality and equality of service, and parity of experience. To do this, the language needs of our local communities need to be taken into consideration. You may need to think about producing your materials in translation, and there will be occasions when foreign language fonts are required.
As with Roman typefaces, Asian, Cyrillic and other typefaces attract a range of styles. A local specialist translator and/or typesetter will be able to advise you on these styles and on commonly used fonts. Try to use a font that is clear and uncomplicated. If possible, test it out on your target audience before going to print.
Remember that a text is more legible if it is:
And because certain NHS audiences may have accessibility issues or print disabilities, the minimum typeface size for body copy is 12 point.
Last updated: 19/05/08