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Environmental Factor, February 2013

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New logo emphasizes NIH identity

NIH banner logo

What’s that new symbol on the home page? The new NIH logo. The logo was developed over the past year as part of a larger effort to strengthen the impact of NIH communications. It responds to a growing clamor among NIH constituents — from members of Congress and from NIH’s own leadership — that the agency needs to communicate with maximum impact the value of investing in biomedical research.

“Now, more than ever, it’s time to make the strongest case possible that NIH has a profound, positive influence on people’s lives every day,” said John Burklow, NIH associate director for communications and public liaison. “We also need to make it as easy as possible for the public to understand the full scope of NIH’s work. We need to start by becoming less fragmented and more focused in our communications.”

The logo was formally adopted by the institute and center directors and NIH leadership last November after much consultation internally and externally. They decided it was best to go with a clean, “mobile device-friendly” design that features the letters “NIH,” consistent with a growing trend in logo design.

They also agreed that it will be the only “visual mark” to be used across the agency to reduce confusion for the public. The institutes, centers, offices and programs will be identified by text added in the space after or under the arrow.


NIH logo




For the historians among us, the new logo appeared officially on the home page on Nov. 29, 2012, as only the fourth mark to be used by NIH in its history. Use of the new logo is being phased in gradually and in a cost-conscious way.

In addition to the new, consistent visual identity, NIH is stepping up its efforts to work with grantees to make clear that their work is made possible through support from NIH. Some 84 percent of NIH funding goes outside the agency to thousands of institutions around the country. This is sometimes, surprisingly, a little-known fact outside the Bethesda campus.

Also, there will soon be a “toolkit” available to institutes and centers. It will contain resources to communicate about NIH, including detailed visual identity guidelines, PowerPoint slides, talking points and best practices for engaging grantees, patient and voluntary organizations, professional societies and the interested public.

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