Army Artwork, Branding and Copyright

Revised instructions on the use of Crown Logos

For many years, the use of Crown designs in the Armed Forces has largely been ignored.

In 2009, the Ministry of Defence made a decision to tighten up on its branding, image, and the use of Crown Copyright designs and started to restrict and license their usage. As a supplier to the Armed Forces for most of our history, we chose to become a licensed supplier and work with the M.O.D. in helping to improve the branding and image of the Armed Forces.

Essentially, if the design has a Crown in it, it is almost certainly going to be subject to Crown Copyright and there are restrictions on its use.

The reasons for this are, as we know only too well, that there are a huge number of variations of each design, each one having been drawn and redrawn over the years, and none of them are very accurate.

If you serve in a Regiment, you may think that the Regimental Crest is yours to do with as you please. Unfortunately, it isn't, no more than if you worked for Coca-Cola and wanted to use their design! You cannot reproduce it without permission of the Copyright Holder, and with payment of a Royalty (or Copyright) fee.

It may sound a little unfair, but the reality is that the system has been abused for a long time, and is now being brought up to date.

As a Licensed supplier, we pay both a licensing fee to the M.O.D, and pass on all Royalties to them. Our fee allows us access to their database of Official Designs that have been produced ensuring that you get high quality, accurate reproduction, which can be consistently replicated and therefore enforces your brand identity.

If you do use a product that has a Crown design from an unlicensed supplier and you do not pay a Royalty fee then both yourselves and the suppliers are open to legal action for illegal use.

The M.O.D. now has a specific Licensing department who are systematically targeting illegal use of the designs and there are potentially serious penalties for those caught transgressing.

For further reading, please have a look at the documents at the links below, the first of which is the official notice, and has contact details for the relevant M.O.D departments. Kindly note that it does not relate just to the general Army logo, but to Regimental designs as well - see point 7.

Although the documents are mainly orientated towards the Army, the same process is happening in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force.

Army branding briefing note

The British Army Brand Identity Instructions

Defence Intellectual Property Rights
MOD, Poplar 2 #2214
BS34 8JH

One additional point is that Royalty Fees would not be payable on items without a Crown, such as Stable belts and Regimental striped ties.

If you have any queries then do please call us to discuss the situation, or D Licensing (Brand Management), Wider Markets Integrated Project Team whose current details are in the above link.