1.17.7 Use of the Official IRS Seal, IRS Logo, Program Logos and Internal Logos

Manual Transmittal

August 19, 2016

Purpose

(1) This transmits revised IRM 1.17.7, Publishing - Use of the Official IRS Seal, IRS Logo, Program Logos, and Internal Logos.

Material Changes

(1) IRM 1.17.7.2(1) revised to change “typically” to “always” to make the logo description more accurate.

(2) IRM 1.17.7.7.1.2(3) rotate Figure 1.17.7-3 to present horizontally.

(3) IRM 1.17.7.7.4(2) replace Figure 1.17.7-7.

(4) Editorial changes were made throughout this IRM.

Effect on Other Documents

IRM 1.17.7, dated October 15, 2015, is superseded.

Audience

All IRS employees, contractors, and vendors who design, publish, or distribute print and/or electronic internal/external material funded by appropriations from the IRS budget.

Effective Date

(08-19-2016)

Steven R. Manno
Director, Publishing
Wage & Investment Division

Background

  1. Over the last several decades, the IRS organized and managed various logos and brand images that identify IRS products and services. The last reorganization of the IRS in 1998, mandated by Public Law 105–206, established preliminary standards for the creation and use of IRS published products.

  2. When there is a lack of clearly defined standards, the IRS has sometimes used the Treasury or IRS seals inappropriately by modifying the size, color, shape, content, or purpose of the seal. The IRS seal and the IRS logo have occasionally been used interchangeably and incorrectly.

  3. Media & Publications (M&P) collaborated with Communications & Liaison (C&L) to create a partnership to properly manage IRS logos.

  4. The Publishing division in M&P has created Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines, to help IRS product originators create IRS communications that are uniform and clear in intent and language, both verbally and visually. Document 12749 describes key branding elements and guidelines for use of design, and will help communicate the messages, maintain integrity, and fulfill the mission of IRS design standards.

  5. IRM 1.17.7 includes critical design standards identified in Document 12749 and additional standards/guidelines implemented and used by the IRS Design staff and approved stakeholders.

  6. This update provides the IRS Design staff and stakeholders with prevailing language that supports IRS design standards and educates users on existing design guidelines and standards for various products used internally and externally.

Terminology

  1. The terminology included in this section clarifies terms that may not be generally known within the IRS.

    1. Business Operating Division (BOD): Aligned under the IRS Commissioner, the Service is divided into four categories that contain all IRS business operating divisions. The four categories are External Communications, Operations Support, Services and Enforcement and Other. Major offices directly beneath these four categories are considered BODs. Examples of BODs include: Chief Counsel, Communications & Liaison, Wage & Investment, and Agency-Wide Shared Services. An overview of the design standards for each BOD is included in Document 12749-U, Design Standards One Sheet Booklet, and in IRM 1.17.7.20, Resources.

    2. Business Operating Division Entity (BOD Entity): The official name of any office within a BOD that has a manager and physical location in the executive directory.

    3. Contractor: Any non-governmental commercial business that provides goods and services, specifically design-related goods and services, based on a contractual agreement and a structured fee as determined through the Government Publishing Office (GPO).

    4. Design Office: The IRS Design Office is the only office within the IRS that maintains IRS Design Standards. The Design Office is located within the M&P organization and is responsible for the development, creation, and facilitation of graphic design services requested by IRS business operating divisions, organizations, and programs.

    5. Design Standards: The Design Standards set guidelines and requirements for designing all IRS published products used internally and externally. These standards provide clear and concise descriptions for how approved visual information specialists are to apply graphic elements (i.e., color, fonts, images, etc.) used to design a product. The Design Standards do not stifle design, but rather ensure that the IRS is clearly identified when a designer uses unique images and typography to draw attention to a product or service. Applying these standards equips the IRS to maintain a consistent appearance in a variety of print and electronic communications. Although all IRS published products must reflect the IRS Design Standards, only approved visual information specialists can use and apply the standards to products. The customer, or product originator, must submit a Publishing Services Request (PSR) to meet with a visual information specialist and initiate design services. Document 12999, One Look. One Voice. One IRS, provides an overview of the design standards. Information IRS employees need to know about IRS Design Standards is posted online at: http://publish.no.irs.gov/publish/stand.html.

    6. Document: A document is a published product intended for internal-use only by IRS employees and is identified numerically starting with Document number “5001”. The content is generally for informational or administrative purposes. Documents are not generally distributed to the public.

    7. Envelope: An envelope is a product used to hold or mail other products. We produce envelopes in various standard and customized sizes and customers can order them through the Envelope Program. You can order envelopes online using Form 9880, FY 2015 Envelope Order or Document 9589, Envelope Ordering Information, and/or directly from the contractor, through your publishing specialist, using a government purchase card.

    8. Form: A form is a product used as a data collection instrument printed or electronically reproduced with space for filling in information, descriptive material or addresses. All forms must include instructions for use. Forms are the principal contact between the IRS and taxpayers and are the most frequently used published products by IRS employees. Publishing has the authority to stop the use of any unofficial form or published product that was not produced through M&P. When we identify an unofficial product, Publishing will advise the BOD’s representative to request assistance from Publishing to bring such items into compliance.

    9. IRS Logo: The IRS Logo refers to the letters forming “IRS” and is always combined with the eagle symbol.

    10. IRS Product Identifier: The IRS Product Identifier is product-specific information that includes the product type, revision date, and catalog information (See Figure 1.17.7-8, Product Identifier). The Product Identifier distinguishes products and versions from one another for ordering and cataloging purposes. All official IRS-sanctioned products must have an IRS Product Identifier and be maintained in Publishing’s Core Repository of Published Products.

    11. IRS Seal: The IRS Seal is the official IRS identification with the words “Internal Revenue Service” and “Treasury” encircling the official shield. The IRS Seal should never appear in conjunction with the IRS Logo. See Figure 1.17.7-4, Official IRS Seal.

    12. IRS Symbol: The IRS Symbol is also known as the "IRS Eagle." The IRS symbol is made up of the IRS Eagle alone, not accompanied by the acronym “IRS” in its approved logo fixed positions (See Figure 1.17.7-1, IRS Symbol).

    13. IRS Wayfinding System: The IRS Wayfinding System is an internal identification system that incorporates the names of the BOD, a horizontal line, and BOD Entity (See Figure 1.17.7-7, IRS Wayfinding System Configuration Examples). The Wayfinding System creates a consistent yet effective way for all IRS offices to identify themselves without the use of individual logos. The IRS Logo appears to the left of the BOD or BOD entity text. Effective January 1, 2010, the IRS Wayfinding System replaced the use of all logos used to represent a BOD, office program, project, task force, or other entity within a BOD.

    14. Letter: Letters are public use products sent directly to taxpayers. All letters must carry a signature and advise the taxpayer where to direct inquiries (unless a contact stuffer is enclosed).

    15. Logo: A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by government agencies, commercial enterprises, private-sector organizations, and individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. As of 2010, logos cannot to be created for or by any IRS BOD or organization. Logos created outside the IRS Design Office are not official and cannot be used or re-created. Consult the IRS Design Office for appropriate use of official IRS logos that conform to IRS Design Standards. Official logos may either be graphic, as in symbols or icons, or composed to include the name of the organization as in a logo or wordmark. All logos must be clear, readable, and reproducible in one color and never altered from the artwork created by the IRS Design Office. IRS Logo: The IRS Logo should never be used in conjunction with the official IRS Seal or Treasury Seal (see Figure 1.17.7-4, Official IRS Seal). Internal Endorsed Logo: An internal endorsed logo is an official logo that has servicewide implication for all employees and does not include the name of the BOD or other internal organization. Specific BODs/entities use an internal endorsed logo. Internal logos must never appear on external published products and should only be used internally. Internal endorsed logos are only created with the consent of the IRS Design Office and must never be altered from the original IRS design. External Endorsed Logo: An external endorsed logo is an official logo that is a non-departmental, section or organization identifier used on Treasury and IRS products; therefore they do not include the name of the BOD or other internal organization. IRS endorsed logos have general implications for taxpayers and are only for high profile/level programs. External logos are created with the consent of the IRS Design Office and must never be altered from the original IRS design (see Figure@Exhibit 1.17.7-14, Examples of Endorsed IRS Logos).

    16. Media & Publications (M&P): The M&P office officially manages all logos and identities servicewide. M&P catalogues all logos to establish a library for approved visual information specialists.

    17. Notice: A notice is a product the IRS sends if it believes a taxpayer owes additional tax, is due a larger refund, or if there is a question about a tax return or a need for additional information.

    18. Post: All cataloged published products must be available (posted) for users via the Intranet or Internet. Trained visual information and publishing specialists are authorized to post files to make them electronically available to users.

    19. Product: A product is an item produced in electronic or hard copy format and used by external or internal users to request, capture, inform, instruct, or provide information.

    20. Product Originator. A product originator is the person within the IRS who requests the creation of a product, provides content for a product, and helps determine the audience for and intent of a product.

    21. Publication: A publication is a product that is primarily for public use, but can also be used by IRS employees. A publication can be either tax or non-tax related.

    22. Publish: To publish is the act or result of creating a product and making it available to more than one person in print or electronic format.

      Note:

      Only Publishing employees can procure and publish printed products (see IRM 1.17.7.6) .

    23. Publishing Services Request (PSR): A PSR is the official electronic request for all IRS publishing and graphic design services. Product originators can submit a PSR for a service request at http://publish.no.irs.gov/psr. Publishing cannot complete any requests without an approved PSR.

    24. Publishing Specialists. Publishing Specialists work with the product originator, IRS Design Office, C&L, Distribution, and other internal and external stakeholders to coordinate, procure, and distribute published products.

    25. Stakeholder: Stakeholders include all individuals and organizations that are actively involved in the completion of a publishing project. Stakeholders consist of internal and external product originators as well as end users.

    26. Treasury Seal: The Treasury Seal is the official seal used on IRS products only when the Department of the Treasury is the primary owner of the content. The seal does not contain the words “Internal Revenue Service.” The Treasury Seal is never used on a single product in conjunction with the IRS Logo or Official IRS Seal. See Figure 1.17.7-5, Official Department of the Treasury Seal.

    27. Visual Information Specialist: The visual information specialist is a trained graphic designer who is approved to develop and design printed and multimedia products. A visual information specialist is the subject-matter expert (SME) for all graphic design inquiries and requests and must be contacted upon the creation, revision, or obsolescence of an IRS design product. The IRS Design Office develops qualifications for approved visual information specialists.

IRS Values

  1. A successful organization is built around a core set of values. These values influence behavior both internally with employees and externally with customers. Every interaction, and every communication, must be an expression of our values as an organization. By establishing a consistent connection with those served, the IRS can have a greater impact on its ability to influence interactions. The IRS Design Standards are derived from the following IRS values:

    • Honesty and Integrity. We uphold the public trust in all that we do; we are honest and forthright in all of our internal and external dealings.

    • Respect. We treat each colleague, employee, and taxpayer with dignity and respect.

    • Continuous Improvement. We seek to perform the best that we can today, while embracing change, so that we can perform even better in the future.

    • Inclusion. We embrace diversity of background, experience, and perspective.

    • Openness and Collaboration. We share information and collaborate, recognizing that we are a team.

    • Personal Accountability. We take responsibility for our actions and decisions and learn and grow from our achievements and mistakes.

Importance of Standards

  1. Every IRS written communication presented to internal and external audiences provides an opportunity to affirm and strengthen knowledge and understanding of the unique character and mission of the IRS.

  2. The focus of graphic identity is very often a symbol or logo. However, an identity system is much more than the use of a symbol.

  3. A comprehensive graphic system is a structure for communicating and presenting information logically, clearly, and cohesively. Adhering to commonly accepted standards is advantageous to the entire Service, and allows the IRS to produce clear and understandable products in both print and electronic format.

  4. Implementation of standards develops greater awareness of the IRS and enables the agency to convey a distinct identity through its products and programs where appropriate.

  5. IRS Design Standards increase efficiency to help all stakeholders save time, money, and resources when developing published products.

Enforcement of Standards

  1. Anyone producing materials for the IRS, including IRS employees, must adhere to the policies in IRM 1.17.7, guidelines in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines, as well as other requirements issued by M&P and C&L.

  2. M&P will contact any product originator or owner if a product does not comply with the guidance set forth in IRM 1.17.7. M&P will work with each customer to resolve discrepancies.

  3. All IRS employees, contractors, and service providers are required to abide by all established standards and report any misuse immediately to M&P.

  4. M&P has the right to refuse to publish, post, create, design, alter, adjust, fix, or authorize the use of any product that does not comply with the standards set forth in IRM 1.17.7.

  5. Failure to comply with or knowingly violate IRS Design Standards, or using any logo in an unethical way are subject to any of the legal ramifications denoted in IRM 1.17.7.6.1, Legal Authority.

Management and Ownership

  1. M&P is the steward of graphic elements for the entire IRS, regardless of the origin or entity. This stewardship includes the ownership and management of all IRS Design Standards, the IRS Seal, IRS Logo, internal endorsed logos, endorsed IRS Logos, and the law enforcement badge, as well as IRS organizational identities.

  2. M&P shares stewardship of the IRS Design Standards with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and manages the IRS’ visual design program in partnership with C&L.

  3. All official logos and identity variations are cataloged to establish a library of IRS products for use by approved visual information specialists.

  4. The IRS owns the IRS Seal, IRS Logo, endorsed IRS Logos, and the law enforcement badge.

Legal Authority

  1. Treasury Directive 73–04 (09–11–2001) requires that appropriate controls be placed on the use of seals and other official insignia of the department and its bureaus.

  2. M&P is responsible for managing and enforcing the rules concerning all IRS Design Standards and Guidelines, including logos. See Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines, and Document 12999, One Look. One Voice. One IRS, for additional information.

  3. Title 18 USC 701, enacted June 25, 1948, governs the use of agency seals and insignias. This statute reads as follows: “Whoever manufactures, sells, or possesses any badge, identification card, or other insignia of the design prescribed by the head of any department or agency of the United States for use by any officer or employee thereof, or any colorable imitation thereof, or photographs, prints, or in any other manner makes or executes any engraving, photograph, print, or impression in the likeness of any such badge, identification card, or other insignia, or any colorable imitation thereof, except as authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, must be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

  4. IRS employees are subject to the Standards of Ethical Conduct at 5 CFR Part 2635.702. The reselling of items bearing the IRS symbols to non-IRS personnel, the use of such an item to coerce a benefit, and the use of an item in a way that creates the appearance that the IRS endorses or sanctions a private activity are all examples of employee conduct that would violate the Standards of Ethical Conduct.

Guidance for Providing Logos
  1. Only M&P is authorized to provide logos. No other IRS employees may create or provide logos to any outside agency, entity, person, contractor, or anyone not specifically authorized to possess a logo.

  2. Employees must obtain written authorization to provide logos to an outside agency, entity, person, contractor, and anyone not specifically authorized to possess a logo, by contacting the IRS Design Office manager before releasing any IRS Logos. IRS employees and vendors must submit a completed Form 14483, IRS Logo, Wayfinder and Icon Release, posted to the IRS intranet at http://publish.no.irs.gov/cat12.cgi?request=CAT1&catnum=62631, to request the IRS logo file for use on an official approved IRS product. Form 14483 states the basic requirements for logo use as well as logo use limitations. The requestor must complete and return the Logo Release form to the IRS Design Office for approval.

  3. It is unlawful to use or apply any part of the official IRS Eagle, IRS Logo, IRS Seal, Treasury Seal, IRS Wayfinding System, IRS icons, IRS Product Identifiers, or any other official IRS imagery or art to personal (non-business) gifts, such as but not limited to: retirements, promotions, birthdays, and other non-official events, regardless if the request is from an individual, team, or office.

  4. IRS employees who provide logos to anyone not authorized for use by M&P or C&L are subject to the Standards of Ethical Conduct at 5 CFR Part 2635.702.

  5. Anyone uncertain about providing a logo or image to any entity should contact the IRS Design Office at (202) 317-7004.

Using Imagery and Content Not Provided by M&P
  1. IRS employees are responsible for ensuring that images used on the Web and on published products are not protected by copyright. Employees uncertain of the origin of an image must never use it on IRS products and must contact the IRS Design Office for assistance in obtaining a legal replacement. See also IRM 1.17.8.6, Copyright and Copyrighted Material for additional information.

  2. Contractors who develop products for the IRS using images such as: photographs, illustrations, line drawings, etc., must provide written proof that imagery has been paid for and that the IRS is entitled to the use of such images. The IRS requires ownership rights to all images purchased and used as IRS original artwork, and proof of ownership rights must be provided to the IRS Design Office.

  3. The U.S. Department of the Treasury prohibits the use and reproduction of certain imagery without permission. The IRS will not publish, post, or recreate products that contain images that require permission from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Due to the wide variety of these images, requesting offices should work with the IRS Design Office to ensure that selected imagery is acceptable and suitable.

  4. Some imagery has specific requirements for use. M&P has the right to deny the use of such imagery to avoid legal action or to protect the rights of its stakeholders. One example of prohibited imagery would be reprinting images or likenesses of paper money or coins on IRS products.

Contractor-Created Content
  1. Prime contractors who create, or instruct others to create, content for the IRS are forbidden to place their respective logos, watermark, color schemes, or any other insignia on any set of deliverables provided to the IRS for external customers. Deliverables provided to the IRS for internal use, such as an internal report or presentation containing content that the contractor created or researched, are allowed to carry their respective logos, watermark, color schemes, or any other insignia.

    Example:

    1 - Contractor A created a report about research they conducted for the IRS about e-file. Contractor A can put their name/logo on this product; the IRS Design Office will apply the vendor’s name/logo in a manner best suited for the specific design.

    Example:

    2 - Contractor A creates a poster that tells taxpayers about the e-file program. Contractor A cannot put their name/logo on this product.

  2. Contractors must strictly comply with the standards listed in IRM 1.17.7. Publishing will refer any contractor found in non-compliance to Chief Counsel or Procurement if an issue is not successfully resolved by M&P.

  3. Contractors may apply for a waiver from M&P to apply their logo on published products when working with the IRS. To apply, contractors must submit:

    • A draft copy of the document to be produced; and

    • A letter to the IRS Design Office at least 30 days before its intended use

  4. The letter to M&P IRS Design Office must include:

    • Name of company and contact information (address, telephone number, email, and individual contact)

    • Name of IRS contact or Contracting Officer Representative (COR) and telephone numbers

    • Justification for company’s logos or color scheme on IRS products

    • Anticipated date that intended product will be ready for use

    • Signature of COR/employee sponsor

  5. Send requirements to the following: Manager - IRS Design Office, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW, Room – 1014, Washington, DC 20224. Direct questions to the IRS Design Office at (202) 317–7004.

  6. If a waiver is approved, then the contractor’s logo may not be larger in size than the IRS Logo element used on each product and must be provided in high resolution or vector format. Additionally, M&P must approve all products prior to being published.

  7. M&P, in coordination with Procurement, is responsible for approving and denying waiver requests consistent with applicable rules.

Required Design Elements

  1. When end-users interact with an IRS product, the IRS has a commitment to ensure that the experience instills trust and consistency. To visually achieve this goal, all products must contain required design elements that support the concept of One IRS. These primary design elements include:

    • IRS Symbol, Logo, and Seal

    • Official fonts

    • IRS Wayfinding System

    • Product Identifier

    • Color system

  2. To further support the concept of One IRS for published products, the IRS Design standards include the following style elements as optional graphic elements to enhance the user’s experience, usability, and comprehension. Optional style elements may originate from:

    • Iconic Shape

    • Photography

    • Templates

    • Charts and Graphs

    • Illustrations

  3. Imagery used in this IRM, a published product, or on any website related to IRS Design Standards must not be copied, altered, or in any other way used or reproduced in another published product.

IRS Symbol, Logo, and Official Seal

  1. M&P has the right to incorporate all required elements for One IRS design compliance on all products submitted to Publishing. Only an approved visual information specialist should apply such design elements to products. Detailed information on the application of such design elements is published in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

  2. Contact the IRS Design Office at (202) 317–7004 and work with an approved visual information specialist for the proper application of the IRS Symbol, Logo, or Seal.

IRS Symbol
  1. The IRS Symbol, or the IRS Eagle, is the graphic element that represents the IRS. See Figure 1.17.7-1, IRS Symbol for additional information. The IRS Symbol may appear without the “IRS” acronym for a specific design purpose and only if applied by an approved visual information specialist.

    Note:

    The IRS Symbol is a common identity for IRS employees; however, the symbol alone may not be easily recognizable to the taxpayer. The IRS Eagle is describable from its three basic parts.

  2. The IRS Eagle itself represents the United States. The scales of justice instill the idea that the Service’s operations will be conducted in a fair and honest way. The decorative olive branch fills out the left side of the symbol and represents peace and conciliation. Justice, fairness, honesty, peace, and conciliation may be key messages that are reflected in some designs.

    Figure 1.17.7-1

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  3. Contact the IRS Design Office and work with a qualified approved visual information specialist for proper application of the IRS Symbol, Logo, or Seal.

IRS Logo
  1. The IRS Logo consists of the IRS Symbol and the acronym “IRS.” See Figure 1.17.7-2. The IRS Logo must appear on all published products with the following exceptions:

    • Tax forms

    • Tax-related forms

      Note:

      Example - Form 23, Application for Enrollment to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service

    • Internal forms

    • Letters

    • IRS letterhead

    Figure 1.17.7-2

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  2. M&P plans to incorporate the IRS Logo into all of the products listed above in the future.

  3. Co-branding with an approved endorsed logo, another federal agency, or approved vendor requires a specific wayfinding format. See Figure 1.17.7-3

    Figure 1.17.7-3

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  4. Contact the IRS Design Office and work with an approved visual information specialist for the proper application of the IRS Symbol, Logo or Seal.

Official IRS Seal
  1. On January 28, 1968, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued an executive order pertaining to the use of the IRS Seal for official purposes. This executive order also defined special circumstances warranting the use of the official IRS Seal. Consequently, the official IRS Seal consists of elements similar to the Treasury Seal, as shown in Figure 1.17.7-4, Official IRS Seal.

  2. The IRS Seal may not be used interchangeably with the IRS Logo for the following reasons:

    1. The Seal represents the history, tradition, and mission of the IRS.

    2. The IRS Seal, like that of many other government agencies, does not have a distinct visual presence and is not immediately identifiable, particularly when reproduced at smaller sizes.

  3. The Seal is only used on published products related or pertaining to:

    • IRS letterhead

    • Official communications to the public from the Office of the Commissioner

    • Formal documents, such as graduation from IRS/Treasury sponsored programs, and legal documents

    • Building signage

    • Other official, historical, or ceremonial materials, including retirement certificates

    • Major media and high-profile initiatives

    Figure 1.17.7-4

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  4. The IRS Seal is based on the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal. It differs in the surrounding that reads on top, “Treasury,” between two stars, and around the bottom, “Internal Revenue Service.” A description of the U.S. Treasury seal is in IRM 1.17.7.7.2, Official U.S. Department of the Treasury Seal and Flag.

  5. The seal may not appear on promotional products such as bags, mugs, pens, tee-shirts, or other articles of clothing. Customers must contact the IRS Design Office to determine if an item would be acceptable.

  6. BODs, divisions, branches, sections, other organizations, and program and project staff, may not continue to, design, alter, or use their own seals. This prohibition includes using seals that contain elements of the IRS Seal and U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.

  7. The IRS Seal must never appear together on a product that also contains the IRS Logo or Treasury seal.

  8. Contact the IRS Design Office and work with an approved visual information specialist for the proper application of the IRS Symbol, Logo or Seal.

Official U.S. Department of the Treasury Seal and Flag

  1. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has specific requirements for proper use of the Treasury seal and flag. Only an approved visual information specialists must apply design elements to products. Detailed information on the application of design elements is published in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

  2. Contact the IRS Design Office at (202) 317-7004 and work with an approved visual information specialist for the proper application of the Treasury seal or flag.

Official U.S. Department of the Treasury Seal
  1. The Treasury seal appears on IRS products only if the U.S. Department of the Treasury is the primary owner of the content. For additional information, see Figure 1.17.7-5, Official Department of the Treasury Seal.

  2. The Treasury seal is comprised of several elements. One element of the Treasury seal is a shield with a chevron of 13 stars representing the original 13 states. The surrounding text reads “The Department of the Treasury 1789.” The balanced scales above the chevron represent justice and equity in managing federal funds. The key below the chevron signifies the official authority of, and trust in, the Department’s safekeeping of the Nation’s funds. Justice, equity, authority, and trust may be key messages that are reflected in some designs.

  3. Use of the Treasury seal must follow the standards in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

  4. The IRS Seal or IRS Logo may not appear on the same product as the Treasury Seal appears.

    Figure 1.17.7-5

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Official U.S. Department of the Treasury Flag
  1. It is Department of the Treasury and IRS policy that the Treasury flag may fly in reception rooms and lobbies of buildings where Treasury bureaus and offices are the sole occupants. The Treasury flag must fly, with the United States flag, on buildings or the grounds of buildings where Treasury bureaus and offices are the sole occupants. The Treasury Flag can never appear in print on an IRS product, as the Treasury flag is used for display only in buildings. Additional guidance on use of the Treasury flag appears in Treasury Directive 73–03, dated October 30, 2008.

    Figure 1.17.7-6

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Official Font Usage

  1. Official IRS fonts are clearly legible, professional in appearance, and must appear in all print publications to preserve the identity of the organization. Identified standard fonts appear throughout the agency on various products to provide continuity and consistency in support of the design standards.

IRS Standard Fonts
  1. Official IRS standard fonts include the Helvetica and Times Roman font families. Times Roman is legible and highly recommended for text-heavy documents or publications.

  2. The Times New Roman font may substitute for the Times family of fonts in Web use.

  3. The Arial font is the official san serif font that may substitute for the Helvetica family of fonts in Web-based applications.

  4. Official IRS fonts are the extended Helvetica family of fonts. The extended Helvetica family of fonts includes Helvetica Condensed for a more technical, precise look or when space is a consideration, and Helvetica Rounded for applications that require a warm, friendly approach.

  5. Publishing considers additional fonts for instances when visual impact, differentiation, or variety is desired. Alternate fonts must appear in headlines and prominent copy lines for impact. Never use alternate fonts as a replacement for Helvetica and/or Times in body copy or heavy text.

  6. Do not use fonts that look similar to Helvetica and Times.

  7. Further information regarding additional font options for IRS is published in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

IRS Wayfinding System

  1. The IRS Wayfinding System creates a consistent yet effective way for all IRS offices to identify themselves without the use of individual logos. When creating materials for internal communications, products must follow the wayfinding system to simplify the identification of the origin of materials.

  2. The wayfinding system has two basic configurations, as depicted in Figure 1.17.7-7, Wayfinding System Configuration Examples. Configuration A uses only the BOD name. Configuration B includes both the BOD name and BOD entity name.

    Figure 1.17.7-7

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  3. Published products must adhere to the following typographic guidelines:

    • Never interchange the order and placement of the BOD name and the name of the BOD entity.

    • The BOD must never be subordinate to the BOD entities.

    • Never use acronyms.

    • Use ampersands (&) in place of “and” to shorten titles.

    • If an ampersand (&) or slash (/) falls near a line break, keep the punctuation on the top line. Do not begin a line with punctuation.

    • Never break a hyphenated word.

    • Break BOD names of 40 characters or more into two lines when used with a BOD-entity name. Insert line breaks as naturally as possible, with no line exceeding 40 characters.

    • If line breaks are needed, place the line break for best readability.

    • Each line of the sub-organization name should be 30 characters or less.

    • Use the guidelines above for inserting line breaks for all names as needed.

  4. Colors used for all parts of the IRS Wayfinding System are black, white, or IRS Blue, the primary IRS color. It is at the discretion of the visual information specialist, giving consideration for the design concept, to provide a final color selection.

  5. Only approved visual information specialists can apply the IRS Wayfinding System as described above and in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

IRS Historical Internal Logos
  1. In 2001, C&L allowed the use of internal slogans and logos to enable IRS divisions to build morale and unit cohesion during the initial phases of operations after modernization. For external purposes; however, the IRS Logo and official IRS Seal were to appear in all cases.

  2. The intent was to ensure that the IRS maintained only one external graphic identity. Over time, many internal logos appeared inappropriately on products externally, such as fax coversheets, presentations, and e-mail signatures. This caused concern about the IRS’ image portrayed to the public.

  3. As of January 2010, no internal logos previously used to represent BODs or sub-organizations of the IRS may appear on any print or electronic published products for internal or external use.

  4. As described in Document 12749, One IRS Design Standards and Guidelines, an organization within the IRS may not create or use logos to identify themselves as a BOD, division, branch office, or section. IRS Design Standards prohibit creating, revising, or altering new internal logos for BODs, divisions, branch offices, or sections.

Product Identification

  1. Product identification must appear on all official IRS products in hard copy and electronic format. The Product Identifier distinguishes products and revisions from one another for cataloging and ordering purposes.

  2. The IRS Product Identifier must appear on all:

    • Documents

    • Forms

    • Instructions

    • Internal Revenue Manuals (IRMs)

    • Miscellaneous Products (One-Time Use)

    • Notices

    • Publications

    • Tax Packages

    • Training Products

  3. Customers can obtain an official Product Identifier number by submitting a PSR at http://caps-as.enterprise.irs.gov/psr/app.

  4. Both the IRS Logo and Product Identifier must appear on all IRS products.

Product Identifier Components
  1. The Product Identifier consists of several elements that are typically displayed on products in a single text line. The elements are:

    • Product type

    • Product number

    • Revision date

    • Catalog number

    • The words “Department of the Treasury”

    • The words “Internal Revenue Service”

    • The Intranet website address http://publish.no.irs.govor the external website address www.irs.gov

    • Miscellaneous products may carry the requisition number in place of some of the information mentioned above

  2. An approved visual information specialist places Product Identifiers in a consistent manner on products using graphic design techniques and in accordance with Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

  3. Only a visual information specialist from the IRS Design Office may place or edit Product Identifiers on products.

  4. Any other designated official who wishes to place or edit identifiers on products must seek approval from the IRS Design Office or the director of the Publishing Division.

  5. If Publishing approves an exception, then the designated official must provide the IRS Design Office with a new file to ensure the proper file management.

    Figure 1.17.7-8

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External vs. Internal Product Identification
  1. External Product Identifiers appear on items created for the public and include the external website address. External products include:

    • Publications

    • Notices

    • Forms

    • Instructions

    • Tax packages

    • Tax-related forms

    • Miscellaneous products

  2. Internal Product Identifiers appear on items created to communicate with IRS staff and include the intranet website address. Internal products include:

    • Documents

    • Training products

    • Miscellaneous products

    • Internal forms

Product Identification Placement
  1. The IRS Product Identifier must appear on the bottom back of a product whenever possible. For one-sided printing, we center the product identifier at the bottom front of a product as shown in Figure 1.17.7-9. Product Identifier placement must follow the guidelines in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines, and described in this IRM.

    Figure 1.17.7-9

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  2. The IRS Product Identifier must appear on products made from substrates other than paper such as computer disks and packaging. Product originators may contact the IRS Design Office for answers to any questions regarding which non-print products require the use of this identification.

  3. For published products created prior to 2009, Publishing must apply a current Product Identifier to any reprints or revisions for that product as time and budgetary constraints allow.

IRS Historical Product Identification
  1. To view how publications produced by M&P may have used the old IRS Product Identifier or the old IRS Signature, see Figure 1.17.7-10. Publishing must update products produced with Product Identifiers prior to 2009 to meet current standards should they be submitted for reprint or revision.

    Figure 1.17.7-10

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Color System

  1. The IRS Color System is built around the identifying color pairing of Pantone Matching System (PMS) 301C (IRS Blue) and the accent color, Process Cyan. IRS Blue is widely recognized and associated with the IRS and is the only color (other than black or white) that is acceptable for use in the IRS Logo, Symbol and Wayfinding System.

  2. Four other color pairs are allowed for use as a secondary color treatment for any business operating division and their offices.

  3. A third level of color treatment consists of tonal ranges established from a preset color palette. Selections from the third level can appear in conjunction with IRS Blue or the secondary level of colors at the discretion of the approved visual information specialist.

External Color Usage Guidelines
  1. External color usage is defined as materials and communication that represent the IRS to the public and external partners.

  2. The primary identifying color, PMS 301C blue, and the accent color, Process Cyan must appear on all materials and communications for external use.

  3. Publishing must select, from the full IRS color palette, additional colors that best convey the purpose and message of the material and communication.

Internal Color Usage Guidelines
  1. Internal color usage is defined as the colors used on materials and communications between IRS business operating divisions.

  2. The identifying color, PMS 301C, and the accent color Process Cyan, may appear in materials and communication for internal use.

  3. Optional: For times when internal differentiation is needed, the business operating division must use their own branch quadrant color from the IRS Color System. This can include the appropriate BOD pair and tonal palette, along with the identifying blue color, for the material or communication.

  4. Additional colors that best convey the purpose and message of the material and communication must be part of the full IRS color palette.

  5. Only approved visual information specialists can appropriately apply the IRS Color System to published products. Further information regarding the IRS Color System is in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

Section 508 Compliance

  1. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires federal agencies to develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology to make accessible all information provided to individuals with no disabilities to those with disabilities or impairments.

  2. The agency must ensure that all readers, viewers, and users of IRS products, internally and externally, with disabilities have comparable access to and use of information and data provided to individuals without disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.

  3. The Design Office is not responsible but may assist with identifying when graphic content needs to be made Section 508 compliant. Visual information specialists, publishing specialists, and the Alternative Media Center will work to make applicable products Section 508 compliant.

Optional Style Elements

  1. To further support the concept of One IRS for published products, the IRS Design Standards include the following style elements as optional graphic elements to enhance the user’s experience, usability, and comprehension.

  2. Optional style elements are options for use at the visual information specialist’s discretion and/or by customer request. Ultimately, the approved visual information specialist will determine the appropriateness of use with consideration for existing guidelines and the overall concept of the design.

IRS Iconic Shapes and Icons

  1. An iconic shape derived from the outline of the IRS Eagle (Symbol) for use as a graphic element is illustrated below in Figure 1.17.7-11. The shape can appear in creative ways such as:

    • As a shape independently;

    • To frame photographs, or certain images; or

    • As a repeating pattern.

  2. The IRS iconic shape cannot serve as a frame or background for:

    • The name of a BOD, division, program, office, project, person, or organization;

    • The acronym for a BOD, division, program, office, project, person, or organization; or

    • The IRS Logo

  3. A library of icons uses the iconic shape as a frame for consistency. These icons are universal in nature and can represent any office throughout the IRS. Icons bring an added dimension of illustration to a layout and can help attract attention to any object or element. Icons should clearly support the intended message and should be easily translated and understood.

    Figure 1.17.7-11

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  4. Only approved visual information specialists can apply the IRS iconic shape as described above. Please consult with a visual information specialist for specific usage, per Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

Photography

  1. Use clean, uncluttered, graphic photography with bold or monochromatic color whenever possible. Subject matter must emphasize diversity, collaboration, innovation, knowledge, thoughtfulness and other key descriptors of the IRS. Lighting must be clean and without heavy shadows for a friendly and engaging look.

  2. All photography used in IRS published products must be the sole property of the IRS. Refer to IRM 1.17.8.6, Copyright and Copyrighted Material, regarding ownership and copyright concerns.

  3. The IRS Design Office has the right to refuse the use of any photography that has not been legally obtained or is not owned by the IRS.

  4. Any photography provided must be high resolution, include the requirements described above, and compliment the overall concept of the design. A visual information specialist will determine if provided photography is appropriate for use.

  5. An IRS employee and, at times, outside vendors must use Form 14483-A, Model/Photo Release, posted online at http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/forms/public/pdf/f14483-a--2013-04-00.pdf, to state their acceptance and agreement with the use of their likeness, photos, or images in an IRS product.

Templates

  1. IRS standardized templates are available for use to create efficiency and ensure a professional and consistent look across a wide range of publications and materials.

  2. Templates are available for the most commonly requested materials for conferences, events, and meetings. Products including, but not limited to, tent cards and name tags have templates that will allow the user to fill in text.

  3. Template specifications are outlined in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines. Contact the IRS Design Office to obtain templates and instructions on how to use templates.

Charts and Graphs

  1. Chart and graph format specifications are outlined in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines. Contact the IRS Design Office for instructions on how approved visual information specialists will format charts and graphs.

  2. To maintain clarity and consistency throughout the organization, all charts created for use in IRS materials must follow the format of the examples shown here. We provided specifications for three-colored options for your use; adherence to the color hierarchy and values shown will ensure maximum readability. ReferenceDocument 12749, One IRS:Design Standards and Guidelines at http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/docs/pdf/d12749--2011-05-00.pdf for additional information.

Illustrations

  1. Illustrations include non-photographic images, sketches, drawings, and clip art, whether created by hand or electronically. Format specifications are outlined in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines. Contact the IRS Design Office for instructions on how visual information specialists will format approved Illustrations.

Quick Response (QR) Codes

  1. A QR code is a 2-D (two-dimensional) symbol developed by Denso Wave in Japan and released in 1994. A sample appears below in Figure 1.17.7-12. Denso Wave originally designed the codes for use in the automotive industry, because the code is easily interpreted by scanner equipment. Each code is a unique pattern of black squares on a white background, with larger squares at three corners. The white border is part of the code.

QR Codes Use on Cataloged (Numbered) IRS Published Products
  1. The Service uses QR codes to expand on the IRS strategic goal of improving service to make voluntary compliance easier, and the objective to provide taxpayers with targeted, timely guidance and outreach.

  2. A QR code contains information in both vertical and horizontal directions, unlike a one-dimensional bar code that contains data in one direction only. Using two directions enables QR codes to carry up to several hundred times the amount of data, when compared with one-dimensional bar codes.

    Figure 1.17.7-12

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  3. Visual information specialists can guide the product originators about when and how best to apply QR codes.

How the Audience Uses QR Codes
  1. Audiences scan the QR code using mobile device cameras, and the stored information in the code directs them to a website, video, text, contact information, and more.

  2. Audiences need a QR reader application on their mobile device to detect the QR code. These are available for download from the Apple or Android app stores, or customers’ specific mobile phone application store, and are often free.

  3. QR codes appear on a variety of published products to allow the user to easily access Web content (i.e., a Web page; YouTube video, etc.).

    Note:

    Examples of published products include an office poster, a bus shelter ad, a tax publication, or a form.

  4. QR codes are most often posted on traditional advertising/marketing media, e.g., print advertisements or collateral, signage, handouts, etc. The codes must be in context with the advertising or marketing promotion, e.g., an EITC bus shelter ad with a QR code linking to www.irs.gov/eitc, the target URL (uniform resource locator) for the QR code. The printed product must also reference the target URL. This allows individuals the ability to access the same content using a Web browser.

Target URLs for QR Codes
  1. Ideally, the target URL would be a mobile-optimized Web site, but because IRS.gov is not optimized for mobile at this time, QR codes will not be allowed. A mobile-optimized Web site recognizes the device you are viewing the site with (i.e., Smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) and serves up a customized version of the site that works best with the equipment you are using. (While it is optimal to have a QR code direct the audience to a mobile-enabled site, the priority should be to direct the audience to the information they can use.)

  2. The QR code design may incorporate a message encouraging the customer to use the QR code. Messaging similar to “Scan this QR code with your Smartphone to view more information about EITC online.” is one example of a QR code message.

  3. Target URLs or text copy used in QR codes must be short and understandable. Publishing will use the https://go.usa.gov/ tool to shorten .gov URLs when directing the audience to a longer URL. (This is especially important for IRS.gov article pages, which often have URLs that exceed 40 characters.) When directing the audience to a shorter URL – such as www.irs.gov or www.irs.gov/eitc – use the full URL. This will minimize time for the website to load once the QR code has been scanned.

  4. Content at the target URL must be easy to understand and written for the target audience. The entire reason to use a QR code is to connect with individuals first, then provide an easy way to access more details if they choose. If an individual’s first experience with an IRS QR code is too technical (or fails), customers will be less likely to scan another IRS QR code in the future.

QR Code Format
  1. Publishing has created four unique QR code styles. The IRS Design Office visual information specialist and the product’s originating office will determine the QR Code style used. The IRS Design Office visual information specialist will make the final decision on size, location, color, and style. The minimum size of a QR code must be more than 5/8” square. Clear space must surround the QR code in order for the QR code to be read correctly. For detailed specifications on QR code design, refer to Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines. The four configurations of QR codes are listed below and are illustrated in Figure 1.17.7-13:

    1. IRS Iconic Shape with embedded IRS lettering

    2. IRS Iconic Shape (plain)

    3. Standard QR code shape with embedded IRS lettering

    4. Standard QR code shape (plain)

    Figure 1.17.7-13

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Creation of QR Codes
  1. An approved visual information specialist must create all QR codes used on cataloged products, and Publishing must maintain all codes.

    1. All QR codes require testing using mobile devices running the iOS, the Android OS, or other applicable software. QR codes must pass reading and testing against more than one QR reader application.

  2. IRS products created by an embedded C&L office or other functions may incorporate a QR code for that product, provided the product is a one-time use product and not an IRS-cataloged product. These QR codes do not need approval from, and will not be created by, Publishing. A PDF file of all products created locally that incorporate a QR code must post to the C&L SharePoint site on or by the day the file is published.

Endorsed Logos

  1. An IRS Endorsed Logo is defined as an internal or external logo for high-visibility, non-departmental, or non-sectional, non-organizational programs. See Figure 1.17.7-14. IRS Endorsed Logos are for high profile/level programs such as Electronic-file (e-File), Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), or the Employee Resource Center.

  2. IRS internal endorsed logos represent initiatives with servicewide implications to IRS employees. Business operating divisions, divisions, branches, sections, and organizations may not continue using old internal logos. Only initiatives that have the signature of the IRS Commissioner may be considered to receive an internal endorsed logo and will be granted on a limited basis.

  3. IRS external endorsed logos are used for initiatives with presidential, congressional, or Treasury mandates and most or all could receive an external endorsed logo.

  4. Endorsed logos are used on Treasury and IRS products in conjunction with one of the identities designated below:

    • IRS Logo, see IRM 1.17.7.7.1.2

    • Official IRS Seal, see IRM 1.17.7.7.1.3

    • Official U.S. Department of the Treasury Seal, see IRM 1.17.7.7.2.1

  5. Published material from the Department of the Treasury for endorsed programs need not adhere to the IRS identity guidelines, as they follow the Department of the Treasury design guidelines.

    Figure 1.17.7-14

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  6. Several criteria apply to all endorsed logos. Endorsed logos, along with the IRS Logo and Seal, must:

    • Be clear and readable when reproduced

    • Maintain their original shape and remain scaled proportionally to ensure consistency

    • Be no smaller than the size of a United States ten-cent (dime) coin

    • Not be altered from the original design

    • Not be enlarged to a size that compromises the graphic identity and integrity

    • Not be recreated by any entity other than the IRS Design Office

    • Not be redrawn, sketched, or animated using an artistic technique

    • Not be used as a pattern or repeated to create a pattern

    • Not be used as a background or shaded to a lighter color to be placed behind text

    • Not be placed in a box of color or within a box surrounding the logo in a tight fashion

    • Not abbreviate “Internal Revenue Service” within a seal or seal representation

    • Not substitute any wording within logos or seals

Creation or Revision of Endorsed Logos

  1. The M&P Design Office and C&L are the only IRS offices permitted to produce or procure new endorsed logos for internal or external use, and requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. M&P and C&L work collaboratively to ensure that logo development and production adheres to established standards.

  2. No other business unit, organization, or entity within the IRS, or party contracted by the IRS, may design, develop, or produce logos independent of IRS guidelines or procedures.

  3. If a logo is in use and has not been sanctioned as an official endorsed logo, then Publishing will send a memorandum to an executive in the affected business unit requesting discontinued use of said logo.

Approval Process for Endorsed Logos
  1. If M&P and C&L have determined that a logo is warranted, then the associated business unit must take the following steps of the approval process for new endorsed logos for internal or external use:

    1. Submit a PSR to http://caps-as.enterprise.irs.gov/psr/app for graphic design services, along with proposed concepts.

    2. The customer should then work with his or her division’s C&L contact to begin the process to craft and create the message associated with or implied by the endorsed logo.

    3. Once the customer’s respective C&L office has approved the concept and messages, then the IRS Design Office will coordinate with C&L to determine whether approval for the requested logo is warranted.

    4. If the requested logo is approved, then the requesting office must work closely with the IRS Design Office, in accordance with the minimum established criteria for a new or revised endorsed logo.

    5. Once the design is created, it will pass through logo clearance, which ensures M&P and C&L approve the final design and usage.

    6. The design is cataloged and distributed to visual information specialists throughout M&P and other IRS organizations.

Law Enforcement Badge

  1. The Law Enforcement Badge is the identification used by the Criminal Investigations (CI) Division. The Law Enforcement Badge incorporates common features of other law enforcement badges and includes an embedded IRS Seal. See Figure 1.17.7-15 to view a sample Law Enforcement Badge.

  2. No other business unit or entity in the IRS or Treasury may use the CI Law Enforcement Badge without contacting the IRS Design Office and receiving explicit written permission from CI.

    Figure 1.17.7-15

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Affiliated Employee Organizations

  1. An affiliated employee organization is an organization that holds or hosts events or meetings on a regular basis for employees of the IRS.

  2. Affiliated employee organizations are prohibited from using any of the IRS Logos, Seals, IRS Wayfinding System, or color palette identities; however, employee organizations may use the letters IRS or spell out “Internal Revenue Service” and reference the IRS in body copy.

  3. An affiliated employee organization may design and use their own logo on their own products. Such development is independent from the involvement of the IRS Design Office.

IRS Website Standards

  1. IRS websites should reflect the IRS Design Standards and Guidelines listed in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines, and be designed only by approved visual information specialists.

IRS Web Link

  1. Publishing created the IRS Web Link image for IRS partners for placement on their websites to ensure a consistent link identifier to the official IRS website at http://www.irs.gov. Figure 1.17.7-16 depicts the IRS Web Link.

  2. The IRS Web Link is only for use on partners’ websites and may never appear on printed materials.

  3. Should a partner decide to use the Web widget, the encoded link must correctly connect to the official IRS website at http://www.irs.gov.

  4. The IRS partner is not required to use the IRS Web link graphic and may simply use the official IRS website as a text-only reference.

  5. A minimum of 10 pixels and a maximum of 20 pixels of clear space must appear around the entire image when placed on a partner’s website. If the Web Link is used on a webpage with any other logos, then the mandatory clear space must be doubled.

  6. The IRS Web Link may never be rotated, stretched, distorted, reduced, enlarged, or edited in any way.

  7. The IRS Web Link must only appear in the Web-safe color #0066CC. Otherwise, solid black and reversed in white is acceptable.

    Figure 1.17.7-16

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IRS Television Standards

  1. IRS TV should reflect the IRS Design Standards and Guidelines listed in IRM 1.17.7. Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines, may incorporate specific TV standards at a future date.

Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) Design Guidelines

  1. The Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs), located in various cities across the United States, are the most visible representation of the Internal Revenue Service to the taxpayer. The responsibilities of the TAC offices include: dispensing literature on IRS-related initiatives and tax programs, assistance with filling out forms, stocking forms, literature, and answering questions from taxpayers. Two specialized types of published products used in TAC offices are signage and virtual assistance (kiosks) thru public computers. This IRM specifies requirements for TAC office signage and kiosks.

  2. All TAC materials share a set of design elements. It is not a requirement that TAC publications incorporate every common element, but by using several, each TAC communication maintains a clear, logical, and consistent way to communicate.

  3. The design of signage for TAC offices must comply with Document 12749, One IRS Design Standards and Guidelines.

  4. For more info on the types and installation of TAC Office signage, refer to IRM 1.4.11.4.3, Use of Signs/Posters in TACs.

  5. Contact a visual information specialist in the Design Office for help applying and installing all TAC office printed and virtually acquired information.

Taxpayer Assistance Center Signage Design Elements

  1. Six design elements may appear in TAC signage, including:

    • The IRS Logo and TAC identification text

    • Dual-Corner backgrounds

    • Ruled lines

    • Required fonts

    • Languages

    • Icons

IRS Logo and Taxpayer Assistance Center Identification Text
  1. The IRS Logo and the words "Taxpayer Assistance Center" must appear on all publications. When the text, "Taxpayer Assistance Center" is used separately from the logo on a publication (welcome sign, office hours sign, etc.), the IRS Logo can appear by itself in either its vertical or horizontal orientation in an upper corner. The Logo should be proportional to the headline text and may be aligned where appropriate.

  2. When identifying the TAC as a publication's point of origin, the words "Taxpayer Assistance Center" must appear next to the IRS Logo in the same manner as the BOD identifier from the internal wayfinding system. Approved staff can obtain Lock-Up Configuration and Proportions for the BOD identifier guidelines from the IRS Design Office. As a first choice, place the grouped elements in the upper left corner.

Dual Cornered Backgrounds
  1. Solid-colored rectangular backgrounds, used for emphasis, always use pairs of opposing corners— rounded on the upper left and lower right, square on the upper right and lower left.

Ruled Lines
  1. When ruled lines are a design element on TAC materials, the ruled lines must be dotted. For small products (desktop signs and smaller) the rule should be 1 point in weight with a 4-point gap. For larger items, use a 1.5-point weight rule with a 5-point gap.

Required Fonts
  1. All TAC materials must use the Helvetica family of fonts. While the use of Times is allowed for IRS materials in general, using only Helvetica fonts will ensure that TAC signs and publications have a high level of consistency and clarity.

Languages
  1. All TAC signage must include Spanish translations. At a minimum, the Spanish text can appear at 60% the size of the English text.

  2. Use color to clearly differentiate and separate each language.

  3. Different languages must appear either adjacent to the English text or—in cases of long lines of text—separate from the English, but with a similar layout.

Icons
  1. Icons support messaging to aid in quick communication. A full system of IRS icons is available for TAC office material use when applied by an approved IRS Design Office visual information specialist.

Taxpayer Assistance Centers Sign Classifications

  1. There are four TAC signage classifications, including:

    • Cautionary

    • Informational

    • Directional

    • Educational

Cautionary Signage Design Guidelines
  1. Cautionary signage issues guidelines for behavior and processes inside a TAC, such as a list of prohibited activities or to identify restricted areas.

  2. IRS PMS 158 orange serves as the primary indicator of cautionary signage. Each cautionary sign must use a solid orange rectangular background.

  3. Use all capital letters for headlines and primary information to add emphasis and maximum visibility.

  4. Dimensions of the Prohibited Items sign (a permanent cautionary sign) may vary depending on sign location within a TAC office.

Informational Signage Design Guidelines
  1. Informational signage displays TAC announcements and descriptions of services.

  2. Use the primary IRS blue color pairing (PMS 301 and Process Cyan) as the primary colors to indicate informational signage. For greater visibility, a rectangular background element can appear on informational signage. For most informational signage, use a solid IRS PMS 301 blue. For temporary signs, use the Process Cyan.

  3. Informational signage should be as welcoming as possible. Set headlines in title case.

  4. Use standard paper sizes and designs, without ink bleeds, for informational signage to reduce costs and simplify production. The standard dimensions of signs in the TACs are 8 ½ inches by 11 inches, 11 inches by 17 inches, and 17 inches by 22 inches. Other requested sizes require approval by the TAC office sign manager.

  5. Dimensions of the main, permanent Informational signs are 22 inches by 17 inches. This size is reserved for main, required permanent signs in the TACs.

Directional Signage Design Guidelines
  1. Directional signage assists in TAC navigation. Use the IRS Process Cyan as the primary color to indicate directional signage.

  2. For greater visibility, a solid IRS Process Cyan rectangular background element can appear on directional signage. Leave a margin of at least 0.5 inches on all sides of the background.

  3. To orient the customer, directional signage uses a specific arrow illustration to indicate direction. The illustration appears separately from the sign artwork, so Directional signage takes one of the following two formats for existing display units:

    • Entryway: 12.5 inches wide by 9.125 inches tall.

    • End-cap: 7 inches wide by 11 inches tall.

  4. Coordinate future display purchases through the TAC office sign manager, publishing specialist, and visual information specialist.

Educational Signage Design Guidelines
  1. Educational signage refers to any publication that originates from other parts of the IRS organization that appear in TAC offices. Because the content of educational signage may vary greatly, each publication must conform to a standard format.

  2. Authors for educational signage are required to provide a date for when a specific publication will be removed from TAC offices. The TAC office employee in charge of sign displays for the office is responsible for entering the removal date in the space provided in the bottom band. A limited number of signs are approved for indefinite display. For this display consideration, please contact the TAC office sign manager.

  3. All educational signage for a TAC will be wall-mounted together in one area. Each piece of educational signage receives its own publication and catalog number. The educational signage template is available through the IRS Design Office.

  4. All educational signage must follow a tabloid format (11 inches wide by 17 inches tall) with a bottom band indicating that the publication is meant for TAC office use.

Kiosk Screens Design Guidelines

  1. Self‐service kiosks are self‐help, interactive computer terminals used within the TAC. They provide location‐specific information to taxpayers and could include the following information: allowed and prohibited items, services provided, forms available, requirements to receive services (for example, the documents necessary for return preparation), whether cash payments are accepted, and self‐help topics and information (for example, the dollar limits for certain tax credits).

  2. Each kiosk page is 1280 by 1024 pixels in size. Each kiosk screen has a dual-cornered background on a field of white and gradations from PMS Process Cyan to the IRS PMS 301 blue, at a 45˚ angle. Place the TAC identification on each page in the upper left-hand corner.

  3. Reference additional details regarding all Taxpayer Assistance Center Design Guidelines in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

Employee Recognition Award Design Standards

  1. The IRS Employee Recognition Program (ERP) is an honorary recognition program established to enhance employee engagement and make the IRS the employer of choice. It provides an exclusive, diverse set of awards at all levels within the organization and standardizes the awards and the criteria on which they are granted.

  2. The recognition tools within this program provide an easy and effective way for supervisors, managers, and peers to recognize and reward employees. Business units can use these tools to customize items to meet specific recognition needs. These recognition tools replace award certificates and other recognition items (such as plaques and trophies) that business units typically created. For more details on the program, including eligibility requirements and the nomination process, refer to Document 12794, Employee Recognition Program (ERP) Handbook, posted online at http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/docs/pdf/d12794--2011-08-00.pdf.

Business Card Design Standards

  1. All IRS business cards must follow specific layout and design formats that use the IRS design standards as well as other requirements issued by M&P. Related design guidelines, as well as other requirements issued by M&P and C&L, are included in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines.

Convention Banner Design Standards

  1. The IRS sponsors several annual conventions, such as the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums. IRS representatives also attend tax-related events, targeted to both the taxpayer and internally to IRS employees. For some convention participants, these events may be the only time they encounter a physical IRS presence. Using IRS design standards and guidelines at these events will help create a unified IRS brand, deliver messaging and information clearly, and leave a positive impression.

  2. All IRS booth materials share specific design elements as specified in Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines. These design elements include the use of:

    • The IRS Logo

    • IRS Blue (PMS 301) as the dominant color, and other colors

    • The Wayfinding Systems (to reference a specific business operating division within the IRS)

    • IRS icons designed by an approved visual information specialist in the IRS Design Office

    • Photography with a minimum resolution of 150 dots per inch (dpi).

  3. Publishing has developed templates for a standing banner and a three-sided fabric booth display to streamline the design process. These templates are available in multiple visual themes.

  4. Contact a visual information specialist in the Design Office for assistance in selecting the theme and design process that makes the best use of available space for your display area.

Social Media Design Standards

  1. The IRS is expanding its presence onto various online social media platforms to better address taxpayer needs and stay current with how they can most easily access information. Because these platforms are especially visible to the public, these guidelines emphasize proper security and knowledge of IRS policy. It is especially important to use the official IRS Logo, housed in the IRS Design Office, correctly and consistently. Never use the IRS Symbol or Seal alone.

  2. An approved visual information specialist can assist with determining the most appropriate account for specific social media strategies. The visual information specialist also develops avatars, titles, page banners, cover photos, language translations, resolution, requirements, and all other graphic elements for social media products.

Requirements for Commercial Design Vendors

  1. Any commercial design vendor that develops published products for the IRS must obtain IRS Design Standards from the Design Office to comply with the latest design standards.

  2. Some items used to explain IRS Design Standards include:

    • Document 12749, One IRS: Design Standards and Guidelines;

    • Document 12749-A, IRS Logo and Product Identifier - Reference Guide;

    • Document 12749-U, Design Standards One Sheet Booklet; and

    • Compliant-ready files for required IRS design elements, colors, and specifications.

  3. To prevent fraudulent use of the IRS Seal, Logo, or other graphical elements, Pub 4986 is an originator-controlled item that can only be requested through the IRS Design Office.

  4. All commercial design vendors must meet with an approved visual information specialists from the IRS Design Office within one (1) week of contract award to discuss the work the vendor is to perform.

Frequency Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Question: Can I or anyone else have access to graphical elements such as the IRS Eagle, approved seals, fonts, color palettes, IRS Wayfinding and Product Identifier files? Answer: Only an approved visual information specialist or approved outside design vendor can. If files need to be sent to a design vendor, please consult with the IRS Design Office for the approved files and process.

  2. Question: Can I apply graphic elements such as the IRS Eagle, approved seals, fonts, color palettes, IRS Wayfinding and Product Identifier files to published products? Answer: Only an approved visual information specialist or approved outside design vendor knows the technical specifications for applying these graphic elements to published products.

  3. Question: I already have desktop publishing software on my computer. Can I create my own graphics and logos for published products? Answer: The IRS graphic elements approved for use were specifically designed to meet the technical and visual needs of the organization. Only an approved visual information specialist or approved outside design vendor can create graphics. C&L and the IRS Design Office must approve logos prior to use.

  4. Question: What information do I need to start a design request of a published product? Answer: Submit the following essential information to ensure that the designed message is clear and effective for the end-user: message and content to be conveyed with product, type of product requested, target audience for product, and proposed usage. C&L should review content with widespread impact for taxpayers and/or employees, and content must adhere to Plain Writing standards. Refer to Document 12687, Getting your information published at the IRS, for specific guidance.

  5. Question: What is a creative brief and how is it used? Answer: A creative brief is a document that serves as a guide for a design project and can include objectives, messages to convey, tone, target audience, mandatory elements, timeline, and budget. The Design Office uses the brief to develop design deliverables.

  6. Question: Who are my M&P points of contact for:

    • General design and publishing questions - Answer: Customer liaisons (http://publish.no.irs.gov/mpcc.html)

    • Specific design questions - Answer: IRS Design Office (http://publish.no.irs.gov/publish/pub-gph.html)

    • Procurement or print production - Answer: Publishing specialists (http://publish.no.irs.gov/findSPEC.html)

Resources

  1. Further IRS Design Standards information is available in:

    • Document 12999, One Look. One Voice. One IRS -Information IRS employees need to know about IRS Design Standards

    • Online information is posted at: http://publish.no.irs.gov/publish/stand.html

    • Document 12749-U, Design Standards One Sheet Booklet, provides at-a-glance information about the five design elements for each business operating division (BOD). The five design elements required for all published products are: Logo and Seal, Wayfinding System, Fonts, Color Palette, and Product Identifier. Only a visual information specialist should apply these design elements.

  2. You may direct questions to the IRS Design Office Section Chief at (202) 317-3037.