BBFC age ratings symbols user guide | British Board of Film Classification
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BBFC age ratings symbols user guide

This page contains information on how to use the BBFC’s age rating symbols on theatrical, packaged media (DVD, Blu-ray and other physical formats) and Video on Demand (‘VOD’) releases. The symbols should only be used to advertise the correct BBFC rating of BBFC-classified content.

Please get in touch with our Central Services team to request a password to download a zip file with symbols for theatrical use, and for use on video on demand platforms. 

Please note the 12A symbol may only be used for theatrical releases. The 12 symbol may only be used for packaged media and VOD.

 

Theatrical

The new age rating symbols came into effect for theatrical on 31 October 2019.

We encourage the use of our symbols on print and digital media and on publicity materials for individual films and for cinemas, in foyers, on-screen, on websites and on apps. Please note that the 12A symbol is for theatrical use only and that you must not use the 12 symbol for theatrical.

Displaying the symbols on printed materials

We recommend that on all printed materials the symbols be displayed at a minimum of 14.8mm (meaning that the lettering or numbering in the symbol will be a minimum of 4mm) with an exclusion area of ⅓ of their height - please make sure that all the symbols you use in your printed material are the same size.

BBFC print sizes

Displaying the symbols online

Our symbols are scalable for use online and can be displayed at a variety of sizes without loss of clarity or readability - we recommend that the symbols be displayed at 30px height (minimum of 24px), that they be easy to find and that they always be shown before the final call to action (e.g. purchasing tickets online).

 

Download the symbols

 

Packaged media (DVD, Blu-ray and other physical formats)

The Video Recordings Act 1984 requires that all video recordings supplied in physical form (eg DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) must display the category symbol of the highest-classified work present in the recording. These category symbols must be displayed on the outer packaging in which the recording is supplied, as well as on the tape, disc or cartridge in which the classified video works are contained. The only exception is for video recordings that contain only video works that are exempt from classification.

An amendment to the Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012, which governs the size and colour of the required category symbols, comes into effect from Monday 6 April 2020. The changes are detailed in The Video Recordings (Labelling) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. These new Regulations make important and significant changes to the colour scheme and display of the 12, 15 and R18 symbols. 

Until Monday 5 October 2020, either the old category symbols or the new category symbols can be used on videos released up to that date. This is to allow the industry sufficient time to switch to the new category symbols. However, this transition period will end on 5 October. From Tuesday 6 October, all new video releases must, by law, use the new colour scheme so as to comply with the new Regulations.

    

 

What has changed?

  • The 12 symbol is now a white 12 on a circular orange background

  • The 15 symbol is now a white 15 on a circular pink background

  • The R18 symbol must no longer include the word ‘Restricted’ - it must be simply an R18 on a square blue background

  •  The minimum size at which the letters and numbers inside the symbols (e.g. U, 15, R18) must be displayed is now 4mm (rather than the previous 5mm). This does not mean that the letters and numbers must be displayed at exactly 4mm, only that the absolute minimum size for display is now 4mm. This change is in response to industry plans to reduce the size of video packaging in future.

Position of category symbols, explanatory statements and registration numbers

According to the Regulations, all category symbols must appear on the case or cover in which the recording is supplied as well as on the tape, disc or cartridge that contains the classified video work. The tape, disc or cartridge must also carry the title of the classified work and its BBFC registration number.

The Regulations stipulate that you must make sure that the category symbol reflecting the highest-classified work is:

  • displayed on the largest face of the packaging
  • displayed on another face of the box, along with the explanatory statement for the category
  • displayed on the tape, disc or cartridge in which the classified video works are contained, along with the title and BBFC registration number, which you can find on your classification certificate
 

Catalogue Titles

Reprints of catalogue titles that were first placed on the market before Tuesday 6 October 2020 do not need to be updated with the new symbols. Such works may continue to be reprinted and sold with their existing artwork. However, this will only apply if the outer packaging and disc art are identical to what is already on the market. 

Any catalogue titles that are repackaged with new artwork, from Tuesday 6 October, must follow the new Video Recordings (Labelling) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 and employ the new colour scheme.

You are welcome to submit your packaging to the Video Packaging Review Committee.

Please get in touch with the team if you have any questions.

 

Video on Demand services

The new age rating symbols came into effect for VOD services on 31 October 2019.

We encourage all VOD platforms to use our ratings for BBFC-classified content. The symbols are scalable and can be displayed at a variety of sizes without loss of clarity or readability. We recommend that symbols be displayed at 30px height (minimum of 24px), and be easy to find and always shown before the final call to action (the prompt to stream, transact or download). For VOD releases, you should use the 12 symbol and not the 12A symbol.

Use of our age ratings on VOD services (including transactional, subscription, catch-up and ad-funded services) is only available under direct licence with the BBFC. Contact digital@bbfc.co.uk for more information about licensing.

An example is below.

Video on demand age rating sample

We have produced separate guidance to help you use our symbols and ratings info on VOD platforms, and we can provide solutions if you need to display the symbols on your platform smaller than 24px. Please refer to our Best Practice Guidelines for full details.

 

Download the symbols

 

If you have any queries about how to use these symbols please contact us.