The NHS typefaces

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.

Primary NHS typeface: Frutiger

Adobe Frutiger is a modern and flexible typeface. It should be used on all professionally printed NHS communications, such as:

  • stationery
  • forms
  • packaging.

Frutiger is ideal for headings and text, and is also very effective when used in:

  • diagrams;
  • charts;
  • tables, or when;
  • presenting technical information.

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

frutiger regular_sml

Frutiger Regular Italic

frutiger regular italic_sml

Frutiger Light

frutiger light_sml

Frutiger Light Italic

frutiger light italic_sml

Frutiger Bold

frutiger bold_sml

Frutiger Bold Italic

frutiger bold italic_sml

Secondary NHS typeface: Arial

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:

  • diagrams
  • tables
  • breaking up text.

Similar typefaces include:

  • Helvetica
  • Swiss
  • Geneva
  • Univers.

Main use: internal communications

Preferred format:regular, bold and italic

Arial Regular

arial regular_sml

Arial Regular Italic

arial italic_sml

Arial Bold

arial bold_sml

Arial Bold Italic

arial bold italic_sml

Other secondary typefaces



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 Regular

garamond regular_sml

Garamond Italic

garamond italic_sml

Garamond Bold

garamond bold_sml

Garamond Bold Italic

garamond bold italic_sml




Times New Roman

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 nr regular_sml

Times New Roman Italic

times nr italic_sml

Times New Roman Bold

times nr bold_sml

Times New Roman Bold Italic

times nr bold italic_sml

Alternative typefaces

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.

Foreign language fonts

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:

  • non-italic;
  • against a background which is in strong contrast to the type.



And because certain NHS audiences may have accessibility issues or print disabilities, the minimum typeface size for body copy is 12 point.

Last updated: 01/06/10