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Three Things to Know about USAID Branding and Marking

USAID branding in a factory
Photo credit: USAID
Feb 3, 2022

U.S. Citizens Deserve Recognition for Funding American Aid

When you think of USAID’s brand, you might just think of its logo. But USAID’s brand is more than just its official seal, its name, and its tagline “From the American People.” USAID’s brand represents what the Agency stands for: the goodwill of the American people and their commitment to partnership. 

USAID’s branding builds credibility and trust and connects the Agency to its stakeholders. Marking is a part of branding. It refers to the physical application of the USAID logo on USAID-funded program materials and assets, such as signs, tents, and vehicles.

Prospective partners will notice that branding and marking requirements are part of every funding opportunity. USAID has branding and marking requirements in place to make it clear to beneficiaries of U.S. aid that the assistance they receive is provided by the American people. Partners who receive awards have an important role to play in making sure branding policies and marking requirements are properly upheld. For most funding opportunities, you will need to submit a branding and marking plan. During the award kickoff meeting, USAID will brief you on the requirements for your project.

Here are three key points to remember about USAID branding and marking:

1. U.S. law requires it.

The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (as amended) requires USAID-funded programs and assets to be identified internationally as “American aid,” which in practice means using the logo consisting of the seal, the brand name USAID, and the tagline, "From the American People." This is essential for transparency and accountability, and it gives credit where credit is due—to U.S. taxpayers. 

Partners need to develop a plan for branding and marking their project, and they must submit it to their agreement officer's representative (AOR) or contracting officer's representative (COR) for approval. 

2. There are different rules for different types of funding. 

You might have heard the saying “branding follows funding.” This means that the type of funding you receive from USAID determines the specific branding and marking rules you must follow. If you are an acquisition partner, only the USAID logo can be used on program materials and products. If you are an assistance partner, that generally means the program can be co-branded with your logo and the USAID logo, but the two logos must be of equal size and prominence.

3. USAID resources provide instructions on how to meet the branding and marking requirements for your USAID award.

Whether you are an acquisition partner or an assistance partner, you can find all of USAID’s branding and marking guidelines in ADS Chapter 320 and the USAID Graphic Standards Manual and Partner Co-Branding Guide (PDF). A variety of branding resources are available online, including logos, templates, and color combination recommendations. 

Still have questions? Ask your COR or AOR! 

Other Useful Links: 

ADS Chapter 320: Branding and Marking

Branding and Marking Training Module

Branding and Marking Quick Reference Guide (PDF)

USAID’s Brand: FAQs (PDF)

USAID “Branding Bakery” (video)