These guidelines outline how government organisations can adopt the government identity system and how it should be applied.

This system has been designed to provide a cohesive, cost-effective and consistent approach to branding government departments, their agencies and their arm’s-length bodies (ALBs). Its creation complements the principle of ‘digital by default’ with a practical and efficient system.

Placed at the heart of the identity system is the Royal Coat of Arms, designed by Reynolds Stone and approved by Her Majesty The Queen in 1956. The Royal Coat of Arms provides a clear and distinguishable visual reference for HM Government, allowing citizens to easily identify when they are communicating with a government organisation.

When to use the identity system

The government identity system has been designed to provide government organisations with a consistent, unified and cost-effective approach to the creation of identities and branding.

The system should be used only by HM Government and its organisations. This includes all ministerial departments and, where appropriate, non-ministerial departments, executive agencies or non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs). Agencies, NDPBs and ALBs that use the identity system must be clearly perceived as organisations with a direct relationship to government.

Teams, units and services within departments must not adapt the system for their use. They should always use their department’s identity, clearly stating their team/unit or service name on communications as illustrated in the Stationery section of this guidance.

Specific agencies, NDPBs or ALBs can apply for an exemption on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the delivery of their objectives to adhere to such a system.

If you require further advice regarding the exemption process, please contact the Cabinet Office Strategy team.

When applying the government identity system the majority of organisations will use the Royal Coat of Arms. Organisations specific to Scotland should adopt the Royal Coat of Arms Scotland, a variant which is used by the Scotland Office.

Organisations that use other coats of arms, badges, insignia or symbols for practical or historical reasons can do so by agreement, as the system has been designed to be flexible. More technical detail on the use of coats of arms, insignia or symbols within the system is available on the Coats of arms, insignia and symbols page.