News / Graphic Design

New NHS graphic identity guidelines for logo, fonts and colours will “maintain public confidence”

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The NHS has published a new graphic identity policy to be rolled out across England, which includes the use of a single, consistent logo, an extended colour palette and a reduced number of fonts. The refreshed brand guidelines define how the logo should be used by NHS organisations and services, which according to The Telegraph has been met with “fury and ridicule” by a number of hospital managers and charities.

The NHS says its visual identity, and how it is presented, “is vitally important” and “affects how people think and feel about our NHS”. The guidelines are a clear framework for correct application of this design, which “is an important way through which we maintain public confidence in the NHS” the policy states. It was devised based on feedback from a two-year review involving 1000 interviews and 28 focus groups with patients and the public.

The logo remains the same as first introduced in 1999, using NHS Blue (Pantone 300) and white, but the new guidelines clarify the framework for how it should be used, along with a refreshed visual identity broadening the colour scheme and paring back the fonts. It also features new digital guidelines.

“Patients and the public see the NHS as a single, national, unified service and expect and want the NHS identity to be applied in a consistent and uniform way,” the policy states, “it reassures them that they can rely on the quality of healthcare being provided wherever they access it.”

However The Telegraph reports that this means “hundreds of organisations will have to rework all their publicity material” and hospital managers and charities have “poured scorn” on the exercise, saying "it would divert precious resources at a time when the health service is attempting to find £22bn in savings”.

The article goes on to quote John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, as saying: “Too often in the NHS we see wasteful spending on non jobs like ‘identity managers’ when there really should be other priorities for limited resources.”

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