NOAA emblem usage and licensing

In 1970, NOAA was created from a number of federal science components that were united under a common name and mission. One year later, NOAA’s first administrator, Dr. Robert White, gave NOAA employees the choice of three designs to be the official emblem for the new agency. The original chosen design illustrates the interconnections between the Earth, ocean, atmosphere, and ecosystems, and it remains the official emblem of the agency to this day.

Today, NOAA has an official emblem, and a digital logo that are used as primary visual identifiers.  As a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, these images, and other NOAA symbols, are subject to the Department Administrative Order 201-1: Symbols of the Department of Commerce.  Additionally, the licensing of these visual devices requires permission from NOAA Communications

Licensing information

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) has determined that to increase national awareness of its science, services, and products to the public, the NOAA Emblem and NOAA logo (a variation on the Emblem) may be licensed to commercial vendors for limited purposes. The NOAA Emblem and NOAA logo are registered trademarks of NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce, and may not be used without explicit permission. 

Request process

Commercial vendors interested in producing NOAA-related merchandise must comply with the legal and policy requirement provided in the NOAA Emblem Licensing Policy. Once those requirements have been met, NOAA’s Office of Communications (or “Licensor”) will provide to the commercial vendor (or “producer”/“Licensee”) a license agreement for signature for use of the NOAA Emblem and/or NOAA Logo (or “NOAA Marks”). The term “NOAA-related merchandise” means any approved product that features a NOAA Mark.

Vendors and suppliers can begin the NOAA Mark usage request process by completing the vendor request for use of the NOAA Mark form offsite link.  Once received, the request will be reviewed by an official of the NOAA Office of Communications and you will be notified within one week of the request with an approval / denial with explanation or with any questions and/or concerns that need to be addressed prior to making a final decision.

Upon approval, the point of contact indicated in the request will receive the NOAA Trademark License Agreement for Use of NOAA Mark(s) to be completed by the requesting organization and returned to NOAA for final signature.  Finally, once the documentation is complete, a high resolution, printer-ready version of the requested NOAA Mark will be provided.

Agreement terms

The terms of this licensing policy are provided below and incorporated by reference into the Revocable Trademark License Agreement for Use of NOAA Mark(s) (Attachment A).  All uses of the NOAA Mark(s) must comply with this policy, Department of Commerce Department Administrative Order (DAO) 201-1, and all applicable licensing terms captured in the license at Attachment A.

To enter into a license agreement, the Licensee must agree to the terms below.  

As a U.S. government agency, NOAA will not promote or endorse or appear to promote or endorse a commercial product, service, or activity. Therefore, there are strict regulations and restrictions on the use of any of the NOAA identifiers, emblems, logos, or devices, including without limitation the NOAA Mark(s) as addressed in more detail below.

  1. Requests for use of the NOAA Mark(s) must describe the intended use of the Mark(s) on the NOAA-related merchandise. Requests should include a sample of each print, product, design, and/or detailed layout/sketch to show the proposed use to, and obtain written approval from, the Office of Communications Director or Deputy Director. 
  2. Commercial vendors interested in producing NOAA-related merchandise have equal access to NOAA information.
  3. Commercial vendors must prove that any NOAA-related merchandise will be made in the United States of America.
  4. The NOAA Mark(s) can be used as decoration on the product but should not be used in a manner that suggests “co-branding” of products.
  5. No third-party identifiers, logos, or other trademark visuals (including non-logo trademarks) can be shown together with the NOAA Mark(s) on products in a manner that suggests NOAA jointly created the product or that the producer of the product is sponsored or endorsed by NOAA.
  6. The NOAA Mark(s) shall not be used to imply endorsement or support of any external organization, program, effort, or persons. The NOAA Mark(s) may not be used as a branding device or used in or for advertising, trade dress, promotions, or similar marketing purposes, on third-party websites or communications material.
  7. Logos and other trademarks/branding created by Licensee should be separate from the NOAA branding used as decoration on the product. Licensee’s own branding should be limited to use on tags, insoles of shoes, and other areas of the product where product branding typically appears as labeling. For example, in the case of a T-shirt featuring the NOAA Mark(s) as decoration on the front of the shirt, the logo of the company producing the T-shirt can appear simply on the collar tag, a hem tag, on the sleeve, or other location as typical for the company’s brand; however, company logos or branding shall not be placed near the NOAA Mark(s) , or in such location(s) as detracts from the NOAA Mark(s) decoration on the front of the shirt.
  8. Product hangtags shall not imply that NOAA was involved with the production of the item. 
  9. NOAA does not permit the Mark(s) on certain products given NOAA’s role as a government agency. These may include, for example, merchandise/products in areas like alcohol, food, cosmetics, tobacco, underwear, anything involving partisan political speech, and other items to be determined. 
  10. The determination as to whether a Licensee’s branding on the product improperly violates the prohibition against co-branding will be made by NOAA in its reasonable discretion after consultation with the Licensee. 
  11. When all legal and policy regulations have been met, NOAA’s Office of Communications will provide a non-exclusive license to the commercial vendor to permit use of the NOAA Mark(s). Once the license agreement has been executed between NOAA and the vendor, NOAA’s Office of Communications will provide to the vendor a high-resolution electronic version of the NOAA Mark(s).

Proper use instructions

The NOAA emblem and logo uses three colors. 

  • Pantone 287 C  
    • Hex: #003087
    • RGB: 0, 47, 135
    • CMYK: 100%, 87%, 20%, 11%
  • Pantone Process Blue C 
    • Hex: #0085CA

    • RGB: 0, 133, 202

    • CMYK: 82%, 38%, 0%, 0%

  • White

    • Hex: #ffffff

    • RGB: 255, 255, 255

    • CMYK: 0%, 0%, 0%, 0%

How to use the emblem and logo:

  • The text "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration" and "U.S. Department of Commerce" must accompany the logo in a meaningful way on websites and documents. 

  • Do not alter the emblem or logo in any way. 

  • Do not apply shadows, glows, borders, or other visual effects. 

  • Do not stretch the symbols or use a different typeface. 

  • Do not use the logo on low-contrast or busy backgrounds.