Presentation, print and production: general guidance

Once you have written your patient information, you need think about how you are going to present it.

If a leaflet or booklet looks well designed, clean and clear, it’s more likely that people will want to read it.

If you do not have access to designers within your organisation, you could use an external design agency. You could also use printers who offer design as part of their service. To help you design your information materials, we have produced a number of optional design templates. A printer will be able to set your supplied text to one of these templates.

Specifying your format

If you want to use an NHS design template, decide which one is right for you and tell your printer how to access it. Think of the format that will best convey your information, and remember that longer leaflets work better as A5 (half A4). For more information about available formats, visit our templates page.

When it comes to selecting paper, keep in mind that:

  • the weight of paper should be 130 to 150 grams per square metre (gsm); and
  • your paper should be matt to prevent light reflecting off it.

Specifying your layout and design

Whether you are using our templates or not, make sure that your designer follows the NHS brand guidelines. All our information needs to carry the mark of NHS ownership, with our logo positioned correctly on the front cover. This will make it easier for patients to identify NHS information, messages and materials.

To ensure that your materials support and reflect our core values, ask your printer to apply the following design principles to all documents:

  • Use clear, legible print with well-spaced lines; this will make documents easier to read. This is particularly important, as a large number of people using the NHS are over the age of 40.
  • Always use 14 point font size or larger if your materials are intended for an elderly audience.
  • Use Frutiger Roman for professionally produced materials. If this is not available, use Arial instead.
  • For the best print contrast, set dark print against a light background.
  • You can use white print reversed out of a dark background for headings, but not for large sections of text.
  • Always justify text to the left.
  • To reduce print and production costs, use one or two colours only.
  • Don’t write text over background pictures, images or design features.
  • Leave sufficient space between paragraphs and don’t crowd a page with text.
  • Make sure all headings are clear.
  • The recommended size for the NHS logo on A5 or DL leaflets is as follows: X = 8.5mm

Consistent features

There are certain design features that must be applied consistently and correctly across all NHS materials. These are:

Front cover

  • NHS logo or your organisation’s NHS logotype.
  • Booklet or leaflet title – for example: ‘Breastfeeding and work’.
  • Department or directorate name where appropriate – for example, ‘Endoscopy unit, women’s health’.

Back cover

  • Website address.
  • Date of publication.
  • Leaflet code.
  • Organisation’s copyright note.

Last updated: 07/06/10

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