DGT Branding Toolkit and Style Guidelines

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Our values, the NHS brand, our brand and identity, our logos, colours, templates, language style, email guidelines, written style help and contacts

A complete guide to keeping consistent

Our values

The NHS brand

Our brand and identity

Our logos



Language style

Email guidelines

Written style

Help and contacts

A complete guide to keeping consistent


Our values are a really important statement of the organisation we want to be. How we behave every day, what we do and how we act and interact with others is where we really see the demonstration of our values. We encourage everyone to implement them in their work behaviours, decision making, contribution and interaction with others.

Care with compassion

Striving to excel

Respect and dignity

Professional standards

Working together


Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust adheres to national guidelines in terms of our branding and visual identity. There are strict rules about the use of our logo, as set out below. In addition to the organisation logo, we use our 'Strategic Icons' visual identity, which also needs to be used in a particular way on our materials.

Our name

Our NHS logo

Our name must be written as Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. It should be written in full the first time it appears in a document. Thereafter it can be referred to as ‘the Trust’.

Every publication must display our Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust logo, and this must not be altered in any way. Refer to the section on the logo for details of how to use correctly.


Arial font is to be used in all letters and publications with body text in 11pt, and headings in 14pt. In emails Calibri should be used in 10pt. Any deviation from these fonts and sizes must be agreed with the Communications Team.

If your main audience will be elderly or visually impaired, you should use font size 14pt.


The NHS identity is important, affecting how people think and feel about the NHS. While views of healthcare services are primarily affected by patients’ experiences and the care they receive, our communications also play a part in defining who we are and what we represent

The NHS brand is one of the most powerful in the UK, with high levels of recognition, credibility, authority and trust. The single corporate identity for the NHS, with the blue ‘lozenge’ logo, was introduced in 1999, replacing more than 600 logos within the NHS, all competing for the public’s attention. This made it difficult for people to distinguish NHS services and communications from those of commercial companies or charities. The blue lozenge is now recognised by 98 per cent of people.

The branding and identity guidelines were updated in 2016 to ensure a consistent approach to branding across the NHS, and to provide guidance to partner organisations.


Position of logos

Exclusion zone

Our NHS logo should be positioned in the top righthand corner of a document. If this is not possible, it should be sited in the bottom righthand corner. Where the logo is top right, the Strategic Icons should be used at the bottom of a document. Where the NHS logo is bottom right, the Strategic Icons should be at the top.

You must have space around the NHS logo. Do not place text or images too close to it. The logo should not be positioned too close to the edge of your document.


This is how our main logo should be displayed. Used correctly it enhances recognition of our logo and ensures our materials are acknowledged as official communication from Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. The colour used is NHS Blue (Pantone 300). If you are printing in mono you can reproduce the NHS logo in black. Against a dark background the logo can be reversed out of the background logo (that is, used in white).

The logo must never be reproduced in another colour, or in a tint of NHS Blue or black.

You should not use the logo more than once on a single sheet, unless within a designed graphic.

Always use digital graphic files and do not redraw or distort the logo.

The heart logo is part of our Strategy branding and should be used in all materials, where appropriate.

You should not use the logo more than once on a single sheet, unless within a designed graphic.

Always use digital graphic files and do not redraw or distort the logo.


These icons represent our six strategic priorities and we encourage everyone to refer to these priorities when producing materials. The Strategic Priorities directly relate to our annual breakthrough objectives and ultimately contribute to our Trust vision. Please incorporate the relevant strategic priority in all documents where possible

Joy at work

Working smartly within our means

We support our staff to be happy, healthy and heard, with a sense of belonging and fulfilment.

We will make sure that we do the best for our patients by achieving all of our targets and making the best use of the funding we receive.

Digital first

Working together

We drive safe, connected and efficient digital innovation to improve care for our patients.

We will collaborate with our partners and communities to make sure that the way care is delivered feels joined up and meets the needs of our citizens.

Continuous quality improvement

Journey to outstanding

We develop a learning and improvement culture, using continuous improvement to discover, create and innovate.

We ensure patients receive outstanding clinical care, are kept safe, free from harm and are treated with thoughtfulness, skill and respect.


NHS Blue CMYK: 99/50/0/0 RGB: 0/94/184 #005EB8 NHS Light Blue CMYK: 67/2/0/0 RGB: 65/182/230 #41B6E6

NHS Blue and white are the dominant colours in the NHS colour palette. They help signpost people to NHS organisations and services, by ensuring that materials are instantly recognisable as originating from the NHS. They also ensure that communications maximise the strong value of the NHS identity and the positive attributes that patients, the public and stakeholders attach to the NHS.

It is important to note that the NHS colour palette applies to the design of NHS communications including graphics and illustrations.

The core NHS Blue and white are supported by four other groups of colours in the NHS colour palette, to provide NHS organisations with the flexibility to differentiate their communications from each other, but not from the NHS. The colours in the NHS colour palette all offer at least an AA accessibility rating, with many offering the maximum AAA rating when used with sufficient contrasts on appropriate backgrounds.

NHS Navy Blue CMYK: 25/45/0/55 RGB: 51/0/114 #330072

NHS Green CMYK: 91/0/100/0 RGB: 0/150/57 #009639 NHS Purple CMYK: 0/54/23/32 RGB: 174/37/115 #FAE100 NHS Yellow CMYK: 0/10/98/2 RGB: 250/225/0 #FAE100 NHS Turquoise CMYK: 64/0/4/36 RGB: 0/164/153 #00A4990 NHS Medium Blue CMYK: 72/35/0/28 RGB: 0/94/184 #005EB8

The Trust’s Communications team can advise on the colours that can be used: dgn-tr.communications@nhs.net

Any communications or marketing materials, for internal or external use, should be discussed with the Communications Team and members of the Communications Team who can support the production of professionally designed materials.

TEMPLATES: Screensavers

Templates for letters, Powerpoint slides, reports, agendas and newsletters are available on ADAGIO, the Trust's intranet. Posters, screensavers and other communications materials are designed for specific projects.

Please use a screensaver template to display your message or call to action. Then send this over to the Communications team (dgn-tr.communications@nhs.net) to be displayed in our computers.

TEMPLATES: Screensavers


As mentioned for all NHS documents, the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust logo must sit at the top right hand corner of the page.

Teams background


A4 document

PowerPoint presentation


As mentioned for all NHS documents, the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust logo must sit at the top right hand corner of the page.




Colourful graphics are optional and can be added to policy documents, leaflets and training materials.

Footer design

Header design


Colourful speechbubbles are optional and can be used to illustrate internal materials.


Character animations are available to illustrate materials and presentations etc, remaining sensitive to the topic at hand.


Overall our tone should be open and friendly, speaking directly to the person reading it. Use first person words like we, you, us.

These guidelines emphasise the need for simple, plain English. Why say, ‘If there are any points on which you require explanation or further particulars we shall be glad to furnish such additional details as may be required by telephone’, when you could say, ‘If you have any questions, please ring’?

Here are some general tips:

• Strike out meaningless modifiers or superlatives (for example, take out the ‘rather’ in ‘rather unique’ or the ‘absolutely’ in ‘absolutely monopolised’)

• Write in plain English. Use familiar, everyday words wherever possible

• Don’t use a scientific word or jargon when you can think of an everyday English equivalent

• Place the ‘do-er’ early in the sentence. For example, ‘the board decided’ is better than ‘it was decided that the board….’

• Write in a logical order and don’t try to say everything at once. Plan it first, then write a draft and read it back to yourself

• Don’t use ‘virtually’ or ‘literally’

• There is no rule saying you cannot start sentences with ‘And’ or ‘But’.

• If you can cut out a word, then do so

Remember, first impressions count. What you say and how you say it will impact on that person’s confidence – positively or negatively – in our ability to do a good job.

• Long paragraphs, like long sentences, confuse the reader. Short, simple sentences are clearer

• Break up your writing into digestible chunks. Small pieces of information are easier to take in

• Help readers by using headings, lists and plain numbering


It is important that we have a consistent format for email signatures. For Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, this is the format that must be followed:

An email signature is the block of text that appears at the bottom of an email providing the name, job title and contact details of the person who has sent the email. It is important to include an email signature on all emails sent internally and externally so that it is immediately clear to the recipient who you are, what your role is and how you can be contacted. It should be remembered that although email can seem to be an informal method of communication, an email is subject to the same legislation as other written communication and therefore the writing of emails should be approached with the same professionalism as writing a work-related letter.

Where appropriate, teams will be instructed to use either the Strategic Icons or Trust Values at the bottom of their email signatures.


Abbreviations There is no need to put a full stop at the end of the most common abbreviations – Mr, Dr, the Rev, MP, for example. Don’t abbreviate days of the week – use Monday and Tuesday, not Mon and Tues. Acronyms Generally, the rule is to put words or phrases in full for the first reference in your text, even if it is well known, and include the abbreviation or acronym in brackets afterwards. Subsequently you can refer just to the acronym.

Apostrophes (‘) Apostrophes have two functions:

• To show possession, as in: John’s board report (that is the report that belongs to John).

When showing possession the apostrophe goes after the person or thing possessing, so if it’s singular it goes before the ‘s’ (as in the example above). If there are plural possessors, it goes after the ‘s’, as in: Our patients’ feedback is vital in developing our services. And also note that you should add ‘s to personal names that end in ‘s’ when showing the possessive as in: Thomas’s work was first class.

Example: write Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust (DGT) the first time and then simply say DGT.

Try not to repeat abbreviations and acronyms too often as they are difficult to read. Judge whether an abbreviation requires the definite article by reading the sentence out loud. The NHS is the exception to the rule, and does not need to be spelt out.

• To show that letters have been missed out, as in: we’re committed to providing excellent care [we’re = we are].

An apostrophe is not used in pronouns – hers, his and (the one which many people get wrong) its. It’s is the contraction for it is. Apostrophes are never used to show plurals. This is sometimes known as the greengrocer’s apostrophe as in apple’s and pear’s 50p – it should be apples and pears 50p.

Ampersands (&) Do not use unless it’s part of a name – for instance Marks & Spencer.

Examples: Wrong usage - MP’s, 1990’s, GCSE’s Correct usage - MPs, 1990s, GCSEs


Brackets Use brackets sparingly to explain rather than comment – otherwise use dashes. Where brackets form part of a sentence, the full stop comes after the second bracket (as here). (But where the brackets contain a whole sentence, the full stop should be inside the bracket.)

Bullet points and lists Do use bullet points for lists. They make content easier to read.

If a list is part of a sentence (whether or not you are using bullet points) you should: • use a colon at the start • only punctuate the last bullet point, using a full stop • not use capitals at the beginning of each point. When the list is not contained within a sentence each bullet should start with a capital letter and end with a full stop. • Bullet points make lists easier to read. • Bullet points can be used to emphasise important things you want to say. • Bullet points can be used to summarise your main points, in a PowerPoint presentation, for example. If a list is not contained and items do not form a full sentence, capitals should be used and full stops should not, for example: • Continuous staff engagement • Staff charter • Reward excellence

Square brackets are used mainly to enclose an explanation other than the author or the person quoted



Use capitals for: • full committee titles – Finance Committee

In general, keep capitals to a minimum and only use them for proper names and at the beginning of sentences. If in doubt, use lower case. The reason being is that the shape of typed capitals is more uniform and is harder for the eye to read. There is often much confusion about capitals in job titles. The rule is that when we write about an individual’s job title it is capitalised but when referring generally to a job, it is not captialised. For example, *Name Name*, Chief Executive of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, met other chief executives to discuss the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. Do not use capital letters for seasons of the year and points of the compass unless they are part of a name. For instance: Our patients come from Dartford, Gravesham and across north Kent.

• full names of government departments – the Department of Health

• department names – Communications and Engagement

• job titles – when writing about an individual’s job title for example, Lesley Dwyer, Chief Executive met patients.

Use lower case when talking generally, for example ‘we met commissioners and managing directors to discuss future services.’

Don’t use capitals for:

It is also our house style to capitalise the first word only in headings and sub headings. See the headings used throughout this document for examples.

• the government

Note that using ALL CAPITALS will make content harder to read for people with visual impairments.

• the south east

• seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter

• internet

• emphasis – use bold instead.


Collective nouns Words like Trust, the finance team or government sometimes look as if they’re plural, but they’re not.

A colon should not be followed by a dash (not even if it introduces an indented list)

Colons are regularly used to introduce examples, as in for example: Colons should also precede a sentence which is quoted in full: Lesley Dwyer, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The improvements we have made will ensure better care for our patients.”

Always remember that collective nouns are singular. So, for instance, you should say: The Trust is doing this, or the finance team team is responsible for…

Not The Trust or the finance team are doing this. Only use the plural if you have previously specified that there are several people involved.

"But not when just a part of a sentence is being quoted: Lesley Dwyer urged staff to “be patient focused at all times”

For instance: Some members of the government are reviewing…

Commas Use commas to separate adjectives in a sentence, for example: An ambitious, enterprising staff member But where the last adjective is linked more closely to the substantive than the preceding adjectives the comma is generally omitted, for example: A little old lady. In lists of individual items, do not put a comma before and – for example: service leads, central office staff and multi disciplinary teams. The exception to this rule is where a sequence of items includes another and (this is known as the Oxford comma or full Oxford stopping):

Colons and semicolons Semicolons are used to link two or more clauses in a sentence which are more or less of equal weight and are linked together: To complete the task in four hours is excellent; to finish it in three is amazing.


The course is divided into five sessions: introduction to the issues; getting started; after the first six months; reviewing progress; and planning for the future.

She had visited neurology, accident and emergency, and physiotherapy departments.

Whereas the semicolon links equal or balanced clauses, the colon generally indicates a progression in some way: To run the marathon in four hours is excellent: an achievement that should be rewarded.

Be aware of how commas can change the context of a sentence. This is a real example from a US newspaper: ‘Buckingham Palace said that prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth and a navy helicopter pilot, would sail with the invincible.’


Dates and time Our house style for dates is as follows: 19 April 2017 in text or: • 19.04.17 if another format, for example a table • 1930s (not 1930’s – remember the apostrophe rule) • the thirties (not the ‘30s) • 2017-2020, but • from 2017 to 2020 (not from 2017-2020) • from 18 September to 12 November • 2017/18 (where a single year, for instance a financial year, comprises parts of two calendar years). Preferred style for time is the twelve hour clock with am or pm, with the value written in figures separated by a stop, like this: I suggest we meet at my office at 3.30pm on 19 April 2017. When the time is on the hour it should be written like this: The meeting will start at 10am on 12 June 2017. Double spaces We should be consistent in the way we supply documents to our customers, both internally and externally. Avoid double spacing between words and sentences.

Font size We should ensure that our material is accessible. Type should ideally be in 11 point size as it’s easy to read, prints well, and conforms to the minimum size recommended for people with a sight problem. However, this isn’t always possible because of space. Judgement is required.

Hyphens Hyphens should be used to avoid ambiguity, for example:

• four year-old children (four children aged one) • four-year-old children (children aged four) • little-frequented place (a place with few visitors) • little frequented place (a small place that is often visited);

They should also be used when nouns are formed from prepositional verbs, for example, build-up or shake-up.

If in doubt, compare whether using or not using a hyphen best conveys the sense you want. Whatever you do, be consistent when repeating hyphenated words or phrases throughout the text. Note: hyphens should not have any space around them; dashes should.

Do not split an email address over two lines.

e.g., i.e., etc. and n.b.

Here are some common hyphenated words: • 24-hour • world-class

Except in tables or forms avoid Latin abbreviations such as e.g. and use for example or for instance instead. Similarly, use that is instead of i.e.

• first-class • anti-social • one-hour, two-hour, etc


Italics Italicise anything which could be described as the titles of media, for example, titles of books, magazines, journals, newspapers and our own publications.

Fractions are hyphenated when written out: two-thirds.

Try to avoid starting a sentence with a figure. If you have to, write the number in words, but try to reword the sentence to avoid this.

Use italics for emphasis sparingly. Note that italics are harder to read than bold text for people with visual impairments.

Million and billion should be written out in full, unless it is in a table where ‘m’ or ‘b’ can be used.

Money Avoid clutter. If it’s a round figure, leave out the zero. So £ 2 but £ 2.05. Sums of money should be written following the general numbers guide, for example three pence, 10pence (no space). The only exception to this should be on posters or material where a list is needed. If you are writing million or billion, no space should be left between the number and the unit of money such as £ 3million.

Out of Office messages Use the following template:

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office until [date of return to the office] and will deal with your email on my return.

If you have an urgent query please contact [firstname lastname][position] at [email address].

Use commas in money, for example £ 10,000.

Kind regards, [Email signature]

Numbers Generally in written text it should be zero to nine in written words and 10 upwards as figures. For example nine to 12-year-olds. There are some exceptions to this in listings tables or bullet points. When numbers are used by themselves, all numbers must be digits not words. Very brief forms of communication – for example posters – may also be an exception.

Quoting speech We use double quotation marks when quoting speech. For example, Lesley Dwyer says: “In this report you’ll see the improvements we have made to improve care for patients.” Spelling Use -ise rather than -ize and -ction rather than –xion. This is English spelling rather than American.

Write first, second, third, etc until 10th and above


Text alignment Left alignment is best – in other words, the left-hand edge of the type is aligned vertically and the lines are of varying lengths to the right (see below). Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, ocurreret honestatis qui te. An quo putant vocibus recusabo. Dicit primis scaevola et usu, nec purto ignota epicurei id, pro quod commodo ne. Ne ipsum inciderint duo, qui reque tollit dissentiunt an, cu agam duis suscipit pro.

Voicemail messages If you have a voicemail message it should take this form:

“You have reached [firstname lastname] [position] at Medway NHS Foundation Trust. I am either away from my desk or not in the office today. Please leave your name and telephone number after the tone and I will respond on my return.”

"If you go on leave you should change your message to:

Centrally justified text like this is harder to scan, especially for visually impaired people (see below).

“You have reached [firstname lastname] [position] at Medway NHS Foundation Trust. I am currently on leave. If your call is urgent, please contact [firstname lastname] [position] on [phonenumber], or leave your name and telephone number after the tone”

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, ocurreret honestatis qui te. An quo putant vocibus recusabo. Dicit primis scaevola et usu, nec purto ignota epicurei id, pro quod commodo ne. Ne ipsum inciderint duo, qui reque tollit dissentiunt an, cu agam duis suscipit pro.


Advice/advise Advice is something given to someone, while advise is the verb – “he was advised to take his coat off.” You may be given advice by someone. Affect/effect Affect is the verb – “global warming affects the climate.” Effect is the noun – “the effect of global warming is changing weather patterns.” You have to affect something in order for there to be an effect.

Enquire/inquire Use either enquire/enquiry or inquire/inquiry.

Fewer/less Fewer refers to numbers. For example fewer books, fewer children. Less refers to quantity. For example less than £ 100, less than a quarter.

Focused/targeted Not focussed or targetted.

Among/while Not amongst/whilst.

Healthcare One word, not two.

Bank holiday Only use capital letters when the full name of the bank holiday is used, for example May Bank Holiday. If talking about the bank holiday please don’t use capital letters. Compliment/complement A compliment is an expression of regard or praise. Complement means to fill up or make whole. Comprised Use comprised, not comprised of. Comprised is a self containing word meaning contain. Comprised is used when describing how a larger body is broken down in to parts, not how the components make up a larger body. Look at: “The Board comprises the executive and non-executive directors.” If in doubt use made up of, or form.

Helpline One word, not two.

Height Use figures with abbreviations – 5ft, 2in and put the metric equivalent in brackets afterwards.

Historic/historical Historic means famous in history, historical means belonging to history.

Licence/license Licence is the noun and license is the verb


Per cent Per cent should be written out in full. Do not use the % sign unless it is in a table and using ‘per cent’ isn’t possible.

Words and phrases to avoid

• adjacent – next • alleviate – reduce or ease • as a means to – to • assist – help • at the present time / at this moment in time – now • by no later than – by • comprehensible – easy to understand • consisted of – was or had • evidenced by – use shown by instead • enabling – helping • facility / amenity – be more specific (the centre, the playing field, the service) • fayre – fair or fare (if you mean food or the cost of a journey) • in order to – to • in order that – so • in receipt of – getting • meet up with / meet with – meet • persons – people, men, women, children

Practice/practise Practice is the noun and practise is the verb.

Principle/principal A principle is a concept, truth or ideal on which actions and behaviours are based. “We have agreed it in principle.” Principal means chief or most important. It can be used to describe something - “our principal source of income” and also to refer to the highest post – “the principal of the college.”

Workplace One word, not two.

• pre-book – book • prior to – before • purchase – buy • re/regarding – about • so as to – to • unit – building, house, house, home, flat • utilise – use • undertake – carry out, do, build – use the right verb • with regard to – about • will be required to – must


The Communications Team:

The Communications Team can help you with a range of digital communications, as well as more traditional communications methods. If you are planning to communicate with staff or external audiences please contact the team.


The Trust’s digital communications specialists can support you with:

• Website and intranet content • Graphics • Photography • Video • Social media • Newsletters and bulletins

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