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 Operations 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 come 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 5mm) 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 and Blu-ray)

 

All video releases on packaged media, whether on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray or any other packaged media format, must display category symbols by law on the case or cover and on the disc art, unless the release only contains content that is exempt from classification. The new BBFC age rating symbols are not yet being introduced for packaged media. This is because the shape, size and colour of the symbols displayed on BBFC-classified video releases are set by the Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012. A change is required to the Regulations before the new symbols can be launched on packaged media releases. We expect the new Regulations to enter into force in April 2020 but this date is not confirmed. Therefore, you must continue to use the current BBFC age ratings (rather than the new ones) on all your packaged media releases until further notice.  

When the new law comes in, there will be a transition period in which new releases carrying the 'old' ratings will still be fine. What won't be fine is if a Blu-ray or DVD carrying the new age ratings is released before the law comes into effect. To use the new symbols on videos released before the new Regulations enter into force would be a breach of the existing Regulations. We will let you know as soon as we know a confirmed date for the new Regulations.

Old BBFC age rating symbols

Displaying the category symbol

You must display the correct symbol on the front face of the case or cover, as well as on the on-body disc art. For content released before 6 April 2020, the lettering or numbering in the symbol must be a minimum 5mm, as set out in Video Recordings Act (Labelling) Regulations 2012. This means the symbol must be displayed at a minimum of 14.8mm.

The on-body disc art must also include the title of the work, as classified by the BBFC, and the VF number - you can find these on your classification certificate. Please note that the 12 symbol is for packaged media use; you must not use the 12A symbol for packaged media.

Displaying the category symbol with the explanatory statement

The explanatory statement must by law also be displayed. The explanatory statement explains the category and any restrictions relating to it; this wording is the same for all works at that category. The wording of the explanatory statement for each category is inscribed in the Regulations. You must display the category symbol together with the explanatory statement in a rectangular box on one of the largest faces or another face of the case or cover. (This rectangular box usually appears on the back cover.) To ensure your packaging remains legally compliant, the whole symbol must be displayed at a minimum of 14.8mm - this means that the lettering in the symbol will be 5mm, the minimum legal requirement.

Multiple pieces of BBFC-classified content on one release

In all cases, if the product you are releasing contains multiple pieces of BBFC-classified content, for example a series of episodes, you must only display the classification of the highest rated piece of content (on the front face and together with the explanatory statement in the relevant position on another face), as well as on the disc art itself. The VF number of the highest rated piece of content must be displayed on the disc. So, if a DVD contains a 12-rated feature but a 15-rated trailer, the classification shown on the packaging and disc must be 15.

Displaying the BBFC ratings info

The rectangular box in which the explanatory statement appears includes space for the BBFC’s ratings info (e.g. ‘strong language, violence’). The ratings info describes issues specific to the content in question, and it will be different for each release. It is not a legal requirement to display the ratings info but we strongly encourage you to do so, as it provides valuable information to help people decide what’s right for them. You will find the ratings info for features and TV episodes on your classification certificate.

Ratings info for multiple pieces of BBFC-classified content

We are happy to provide ratings info encompassing multiple pieces of BBFC-classified content (e.g. a feature and VAM, or multiple episodes of a series, or multiple features in a box set). To use this service, simply email ratingsinfo@bbfc.co.uk with the VF numbers of the pieces of content you would like us to combine into ratings info and we will reply with the combined ratings info you should use for that release.

VPRC logo (for VPRC scheme members)

For distributors who are in the Video Packaging Review Committee (VPRC) voluntary packaging approval scheme, you are also welcome to use the VPRC logo on your packaging design. This usually appears on the back cover. You should display it at a minimum of 8mm in height.

 

Download the symbols

 

Video on Demand services

The new age rating symbols come 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.