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The NHS is one of the most cherished and recognised brands in the world according to NHS Identity, yet it is also one of the most mis-used in terms of its design application.

Frequent new visitors to the design doctors at Touch Design have complained of their pre-existing materials being festooned with ill-fitting logos and other competing paraphernalia, detracting from the communications message they are trying to put across.

We are used to helping callers treat their bubonic branding outbreaks and they are regularly delighted with our cure-all concoction of on-message communications know-how.

And now that we are back in the awards honours again – two shortlisted entries in this year’s Association of Healthcare Communications and Marketing awards - we thought it was a good time to share some insights into compliant healthcare branding.

NHS Identity has recently published its latest guidelines on the National Health Service brand – an important set of instructions to protect national design standards. As they state: “The NHS Identity was introduced in 1999 to ensure a single, clear way of signposting patients and the public to NHS services and organisations. Before this date, NHS organisations had their own, unique logos so NHS services were difficult for patients to identify and navigate. Since being introduced, the NHS trade mark is now one of the most recognised brands in the world and the NHS logo has come to represent high-quality care, free at the point of need.”

However, even with the guidelines being in operation throughout this century we have seen many examples where the branding of many NHS organisations should have ended up in the accident and emergency department of the design world. Because we very much like our logos and are rather pedantic about pantones, we would encourage all NHS communications and marketing professionals to study the revised guidelines available here

However, recognising that not everyone has the time in their day to undertake this task we are happy to act as your NHS brand experts, ensuring that the look and appearance of your brand, digital and print materials are not only spectacular but fully compliant.

Did you know for example that there is a new set of NHS Identity guidelines purely for digital use? It’s interesting to note that social media profile pictures for example must use the NHS logo to show that it is an official NHS account. The guidelines state that there is usually not enough room to include the correct and full NHS organisation’s name, and amends or abbreviations to organisational logos are not allowed.

Or did you know that for health partnerships such as vanguards that there should never be more than one NHS logo on a page? The guidelines show how multiple NHS logos dilute the strength and impact of the NHS identity.

Research commissioned by NHS Identity in 2016 found that the NHS: “retains a powerful level of trust and respect amongst the public and patients. The NHS identity is instantly recognisable, delivering strong associations with service quality, expertise and accountability for the public and patients. Overall, the public and patients showed a clear preference for an NHS Identity that is consistently presented and easily identifiable.”

At Touch Design we can help you ensure that your use of the NHS brand is consistent and compliant, while still being able to extol the virtues of your organisational vision and values. Our clients span the spectrum of NHS organisations, from commissioners to providers, from networks to national support organisations, all benefiting from expert advice and guidance. If you are struggling with the time to examine how the new guidelines might affect your organisation or would appreciate devolving this responsibility to the design specialists, then please get in This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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