This page contains information on how to use the BBFC’s age rating symbols on packaged media (DVD, Blu-ray and other physical formats) 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.
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 content is 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, came 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 was to allow the industry sufficient time to switch to the new category symbols. However, this transition period ended on 5 October 2020. 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
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 content 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.