Here we provide definitions of some of the key words and terms you are likely to encounter on this website.

NHS identity key words and terms


Artwork: finished creative work that is ready to be sent to a printer.


Brand: the intangible sum of an organisation’s qualities. This can include an organisation’s name, its history, its reputation, its logo and the way it is positioned to the public.


Colour palette: the range of colours and their tints that can be used when creating design styles.


Design style: a unique mix of the NHS logo, colour palette and typeface (coupled with imagery and possibly a graphic device) used to represent the NHS identity at a local level.


Exclusion zone: the area around any logo or logotype; must be left clear of text, imagery or graphic detail.


Graphic device: an element of a design style that can be reproduced in a variety of formats and settings to increase recognition and create a sense of familiarity.

Please note: a graphic device may be used as part of a design style, but should never be used on its own or to replace the NHS logo.


Imagery: photography, illustration or diagrams.


Logo: a distinctive visual symbol that represents a brand; also known as a ‘logotype’ when used with an NHS organisational name.


Logotype: the NHS logo combined with an NHS organisational name.


Namestyle: the name of an organisation in its correct typeface and style – one of the key elements of local NHS logotypes.


NHS identity: the sum of all visual and verbal elements (logo, typefaces, colour palette, tone of voice) that define a communication from the NHS. This plays a strong role in representing what the organisation is and stands for.


Typeface: a common style of lettering, numbering, punctuation and arrangement of text on a page – this includes sizing, spacing and fonts.

Last updated: 02/06/10

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