USAID Branding: Frequently-Asked Questions

We all have an important role to play in ensuring the USAID brand remains a powerful symbol of the goodwill of the American people.

BRANDING HELP

WHERE CAN I FIND BRANDING INFORMATION?

You’ll find answers to the most common questions below. Also see the useful references and resources posted on our branding page www.usaid.gov/branding.

I STILL NEED HELP. WHO SHOULD I CONTACT?

The COR or AOR is your first stop if you are a partner and have a basic branding concern or seek clearance for branding on your product. The bureau communicator or DOC is your first stop if you are internal to USAID.

WHEN SHOULD I CONTACT BRANDING CHAMPIONS?

Contact Branding Champions for help with complex branding matters and clearance for high profile external communications. 

UPDATED MANUAL

WHERE CAN I FIND THE CURRENT EDITION OF USAID’S GRAPHICS STANDARDS MANUAL AND PARTNER CO-BRANDING GUIDE?

You’ll find the current edition, dated February 2016, at www.usaid.gov/branding. This update includes streamlined guidance, new options and new sections on modern media.

WHAT’S NEW IN THIS EDITION?

PARTNER CO-BRANDING

One of the new features is the inclusion of a partner co-branding guide. Refer to section 4.0 on how we co-brand under assistance awards.

LOGOS

  • We now have three approved logos: two-color, black-only, and new white for use on photos/PPT/social media.
  • We replaced the original black handclasp with a blue handclasp in the two-color logo.
  • We no longer require the logo placement to be in the upper left; however, please refer to section 4.3 of the Guide as special rules apply to co-branding.

COLORS

  • We now have a new USAID blue.
  • We now have additional secondary colors: medium blue, new web blue, dark red, rich black, and 3 warm grays.

FONTS

  • New Gill Sans book weight
  • Garamond for lengthy print publications
  • New open-source font: Source Sans Pro

TEMPLATES

  • New PowerPoint, factsheet, country profile, bio, letterhead, and business card

VIDEO BUMPER

SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDANCE

  • Social media guidance on use of Mission/bureau/office handles and profile/cover photos

PROJECT NAMING

  • New guidance on best practices for project naming

PURPOSE OF USAID BRANDING

WHY DO WE BRAND?

We brand because Federal law and related USAID regulations require that USAID-funded projects are identified overseas as “American Aid.” That’s why USAID policy requires marking aid with USAID’s logo, including the tagline “From the American People.” Branding enhances the visibility and value of U.S. assistance while transparently informing beneficiaries of the source of that aid.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T BRAND?

Failure to brand violates U.S. law and USAID policy, regulations, and guidance, creates audit vulnerability, and perhaps most importantly, deprives beneficiaries of U.S. Government foreign aid programs from understanding the source of the assistance and deprives U.S. taxpayers and USAID from receiving credit for the important work that USAID performs across the globe. To brand is to further United States Government foreign assistance and public diplomacy goals.

FUNDING + BRANDING

WHAT DOES FUNDING HAVE TO DO WITH BRANDING?

  • Branding follows funding.
  • Projects which are solely funded by USAID, such as acquisition instruments (contracts, purchase orders, BPAs, task orders, etc.) or USAID corporate communications, shall be exclusively branded in accordance with the policies and procedures as laid out in 2 CFR 700 and ADS 320.
  • Projects which are co-funded by USAID and other partners, such as assistance instruments (grants, cooperative agreements, etc.) are co-branded by the partners.

DO I HAVE TO PUT USAID’S LOGO ON MY USAID-FUNDED COMMUNICATION?

  • If your project is solely funded by USAID, under an acquisition instrument or a corporate product, the answer is yes. USAID gets:
    • Exclusive branding. USAID’s logo shall be the only logo displayed on the product; it will be prominently displayed on the front. See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, USAID-branded examples in sections 2 and 3.
  • If your project is co-funded or funded under an assistance instrument, the answer is yes. USAID gets:
    • Co-branding. USAID’s logo shall be displayed at visually equal size and prominence as each of the other partners’ logos. See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, co-branded examples in section 4.

WHEN DO WE CO-BRAND?

  • With the interagency
  • With partner country governments
  • With Public International Organizations
  • With Public-Private Partnerships
  • With any assistance instrument

See ADS 320.3.3.2, ADS 320.5.1 and ADS 320.3.5 for more information.

INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

DO I NEED TO BRAND MY INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS (E.G., A FLYER THAT I AM HANGING UP IN THE RONALD REAGAN BUILDING)?

If it is a USAID event, yes. You should brand internal communications appropriately as branding helps identify us as an Agency and helps us speak with one voice. All communications, internal and external, should be branded. Flyers for the RRB only should be cleared by your bureau communicator. They should not be sent to Agency branding champions.

LOGOS AND SUB-BRANDS

ARE THERE ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS ABOUT USING USAID’S LOGO?

  • Do not alter USAID’s logo.
  • Minimum size: See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, section 1.3
  • Clear space: See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, section 1.3
  • Color background: See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, sections 1.3 and 1.4

WHERE CAN I GET THE USAID LOGO FILES?

www.usaid.gov/branding/resources

MAY I CREATE A LOGO FOR MY PROJECT?

  • If your project is funded under an acquisition instrument or is a corporate product, the answer is no.
  • If your project is funded under an assistance instrument, the answer may be yes. Logos are only allowed, in select cases, for cooperative agreements and grants that require a unified identity in order to achieve the program objectives. If you are e-mailing to request approval of a logo, a branding champion will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • If your project is an internal initiative, the answer is no.

MAY MY BUREAU OR OFFICE CREATE A LOGO?

No. USAID bureaus, offices, and any other sub-sets may not create a logo. In rare cases, LPA may allow logos for internal use only, but this requires a special approval process and is highly discouraged.

MAY I CREATE A USAID SUB-BRAND FOR MY PROJECT, BUREAU, OFFICE, OR MISSION?

  • You may not create USAID sub-brands for projects, bureaus, or offices.
  • The only sub-brands allowed are Country and Regional Missions. Contact USAID’s Branding Champions to request a new or revised sub-brand for your mission.

LOOK AND FEEL

DO BRANDED MATERIALS HAVE TO LOOK AND FEEL A CERTAIN WAY?

Yes, our branded materials also have to have a certain look and feel. This includes the use of certain fonts and certain colors. For these specifications, please see USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual sections 1.4 and 1.5.

MUST I USE USAID’S APPROVED FONTS?

  • If your project is funded under an acquisition instrument or is a corporate product, the answer is yes. See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, sections 1.5, 2.1 and 3.1.
  • If your project is funded under an assistance instrument, the answer is no.

WHICH FONTS ARE USAID-APPROVED?

PRIMARY

  • Gill Sans (Light, Light Italic, Book, Book Italic, Regular, Regular Italic, Bold). Gill Sans MT is an acceptable substitute.

WEB

  • Source Sans Pro (Light, Light Italic, Regular, Regular Italic, Bold)

ALTERNATE FONT

  • Arial (Regular, Regular Italic, Bold, Bold Italic)
  • Adobe Garamond (Regular, Regular Italic, SemiBold, SemiBold Italic, Bold, Bold Italic) approved only for long printed publications

See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, section 1.5, for more information on fonts.

MUST I USE USAID’S APPROVED COLORS?

  • If your project is funded under an acquisition instrument or is a corporate product, the answer is yes. See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, sections 1.4, 2.1 and 3.1.
  • If your project is funded under an assistance instrument, the answer is no.

WHICH COLORS ARE USAID-APPROVED?

PRIMARY

  • USAID Blue:    Pantone 294 / C100, M69, Y7, K30 / R0, G47, B108 / #002F6C
  • USAID Red:    Pantone 200 / C3, M100, Y70, K12 / R186, G12, B47 / #BA0C2F

SECONDARY

  • Rich Black:    Pantone Black 3 / C67, M44, Y67, K95 / R33, G39, B33 / #212721
  • Medium Blue:    Pantone 2144 / C95, M53, Y0, K0 / R0, G103, B185 / #0067B9
  • Light Blue:    Pantone 2717 / C34, M15, Y0, K0 / R167, G198, B237 / #A7C6ED
  • Web Blue (Web Use Only):    #205493
  • Web Light Gray (Web Use Only):    #e8e7e3
  • Dark Red:    Pantone 7421 / C18, M100, Y45, K67 / R101, G29, B50 / #651D32
  • Dark Gray:    Pantone 2334 / C62, M56, Y56, K16 / R108, G100, B99 / 70% Black / #6C6463
  • Medium Gray:    Pantone 2332 / C50, M42, Y44, K6 / R140, G137, B133 / 40% Black / #8C8985
  • Light Gray:    Pantone 2330 / C13, M9, Y13, K0 / R207, G205, B201 / 15% Black / #CFCDC9

See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, section 1.4, for more information.

CLEARANCE

WHO CLEARS ON BRANDING?

  • For USAID internal communications: Your bureau communicator clears.
  • For contract-funded projects: Your COR clears.
  • For assistance-funded projects: Your AOR clears.
  • USAID Branding Champions clear on high-profile external communications, official Agency reports, newsletters (not including mission newsletters) and more complex matters.
  • For waivers: USAID Senior Advisor for Brand Management consults with
       the Mission’s Principal Officer on waiver requests (Mission Directors in
       the field or Bureau AA in Washington.) The current Senior Advisor for Brand
       Management is in LPA. Please send the request to branding champions.

UPDATING PROJECT MATERIALS

MY CURRENT PROJECTS OR ACTIVITY DOES NOT FOLLOW USAID’S NEW GRAPHIC STANDARDS GUIDELINES. DO I NEED TO UPDATE WHAT I’M DOING?

Current projects and activities are not required to update their existing work to meet USAID’s new graphic standards, provided they follow USAID’s previous graphic standards. Current projects that do not meet USAID’s previous graphic standards must be updated to follow USAID’s new graphic standards. All new projects, designed after the launch of the updated branding guidelines March 11, 2016, and being implemented through contracts or grants awarded following that date, must follow USAID’s new graphic standards manual.

DO I NEED TO DISCARD EXISTING PROJECT MATERIALS WHICH DO NOT FOLLOW USAID’S NEW GRAPHIC STANDARDS?

No. Existing products which follow USAID’s previous graphic standards may be used until stock is exhausted. See USAID’s Graphic Standards Manual, section 1.3.

I WOULD LIKE TO UPDATE MY CURRENT PROJECT WITH THE NEW GRAPHIC STANDARDS. DO I NEED TO GET APPROVAL FROM ANYONE?

You should work closely with your USAID CO/AO and COR/AOR to make updates based on the graphic standards manual.

IF THERE ARE COST IMPLICATIONS FOR ME FOLLOWING THE NEW GRAPHIC STANDARDS, ARE THESE COSTS APPROVED?

You should connect with your USAID CO/AO and COR/AOR to discuss any costs related to making updates based on the graphic standards manual. If you have a previously approved approach, do not make any changes without the approval of your USAID project CO/COR or AO/AOR.

RESOURCES

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION AND THE RELEVANT DOCUMENTS?

See www.usaid.gov/branding and www.usaid.gov/branding/resources

Last updated: July 25, 2017

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