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Using FSC® on packaging (FSC packaging logo guide)

Last Updated 6th September 2021
Posted In: Environment | Guides & Advice

Guide To Using FSC Trademarks On Your Packaging

How to correctly use FSC logos, labels, and trademarks on your corrugated boxes

By working with an FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) certified packaging manufacturer (such as GWP), it allows you to add the relevant FSC packaging logos to your boxes, wraps, inserts and more.

And using FSC on packaging has a number of benefits – everything from showing your business’ green credentials, helping the environment, and attracting new customers.

But how do you use the FSC packaging logos? And maximise their effectiveness?

Well, this guide aims to set out the following:

  • Where and how you can use FSC on packaging (and other media)
  • What info must be included with FSC packaging logos
  • The different logo formats, colours etc.
  • How to correctly add logos / trademarks associated with FSC on packaging
  • Key points to watch out for

Please continue reading for below to see how you can add FSC branding to your certified packaging.

Quick Reference / Contents

01: Introduction

Why use FSC on Packaging?

There are a number of compelling reasons to use the logos and trademarks associated with FSC on corrugated packaging that your business uses.

It highlights how your business is looking to be sustainable. It can enhance your CSR / Corporate Social responsibility credentials (FSC provides support for small holders and indigenous people). And ultimately, it shows that your business is taking its environmental responsibilities seriously.

This directly translates into consumer confidence in your brand and business, helping both sales and customer loyalty.

If you are still not convinced, then please read this article on why your business should use FSC cardboard boxes.

Using FSC on packaging
Using FSC branding and logos on your packaging can provide numerous business benefits - but you must stick to a strict set of guidelines

02: FSC on Packaging

Where / how can FSC packaging logos be used?

So where and how can your business use FSC logos and branding?

Well, if you have specifically requested FSC certified packaging from GWP, then it allows you to use the logos and trademarks in the following ways

  • Printed directly onto your packaging
  • Printed onto labels which can then be affixed to your packaging

This latter option can be particularly useful if you already have printing plates, and do not wish to purchase new ones for adding the logo during your print runs.

Please note however that whichever method you choose from above, the guidelines set out on the rest of this page (and in the full branding guideline documents) must be adhered to.

The artwork must also be approved by the FSC before your transit, postal or ecommerce boxes can be printed with FSC logos / trademarks / details.

GWP will be happy to assist with all stages of this process.

Using FSC logo on other media

Choosing to use FSC packaging supplied by GWP also allows you to apply for a promotional license directly with the Forest Stewardship Council.

This license allows you to use all of the FSC trademarks to communicate your use of FSC-certified packaging (and, in turn, your commitment to responsible forestry).

This would then allow you to use the FSC logo on not only your packaging, but also:

  • Website
  • Blog / news articles
  • Social media posts
  • Printed brochures / flyers
  • Advertisements
  • Press releases

Please note that there is a fee associated with the FSC promotional license, and that all logo / trademark use must be approved by FSC prior to publication.

Please speak with a member of the team here at GWP for further information, or alternatively you can read more regarding the promotional license at fsc.org/en/promote-with-fsc

03: FSC Logo Elements / Types

What makes up the FSC Packaging logo(s)

Before getting started, it is important to recognise the different elements of the FSC logo that will be used on your packaging, alongside the various options / elements.

As such, the below image and accompanying notes detail the information, trademarks, and icons that you will see on certified packaging supplied by GWP. Please note that items highlighted in grey are not compulsory.

FSC logo elements
A

Mobius Loop: The use of the Mobius loop is optional for FSC Mix and FSC Recycled labels. The percentage figure (where present) reflects the post and pre-consumer reclaimed material content, and thus can change between different boxes (i.e. if different material grades are used).

Please note however that use of the Mobius loop with percentage figure can cause problems with changes in material (due to shortages, grades becoming unavailable etc.). In scenarios such as this, there may be a requirement to remove the FSC logo or to purchase new printing plates for subsequent print runs. GWP recommends leaving this element off when creating your artwork.

B

Registered trademark symbol: Either ® or ™ depending on the registration status in the country/countries where the products are to be distributed. For GWP’s UK customers, the ® should be used

C

FSC logo: Also referred to as the checkmark and tree logo.

D

FSC website address: Included to provide further information about FSC.

E

Label title: There are different types of logo / label that you can use, depending on the composition of the material you are using. GWP will advise on the most appropriate logo for your application, based on the packaging specification used.

F

Product type: Describes the certified material or product to which the label relates.

G

Label text: Set text used to describe the FSC label title.

H

FSC licence code: Identification code issued to organisations that have licence to use the FSC trademarks. This code can be used to identify the organisation that applied the label. A certified organisation can request that their FSC-certified supplier apply an FSC label which features their own FSC licence code. The example in the featured image is GWP’s Chain of Custody certificate number.

Optional vs compulsory elements

As detailed above, not all of the elements on the full logo are compulsory. This can allow for less information to be displayed if required (for example if space is limited, resulting in a smaller and / or more legible label).

The below diagram highlights the differences between the FSC logo containing all elements, and the FSC logo containing only the compulsory elements.

FSC full logo

All elements

FSC condensed logo

Compulsory only

Types of FSC packaging logo

As mentioned above, there are 3 different types of logo that can be used, dependent on the composition of the material being used to manufacture your packaging.

Whilst for GWP customers the “MIX” logo will almost always be used, your sales or account manager will advise on the most suitable option for your applications.

FSC 100% logo

100%

For packaging of which all the wood (used in the manufacture of the papers) comes from a FSC certified forest, the 100% label is applied.

FSC Mix logo

Mix

For packaging that consists of a combination of wood material from FSC certified forests, FSC controlled wood and/or recycled material (typically applies to GWP products)

FSC recycled logo

Recycled

All raw materials need to be of recycled content, although the ratio between pre and post consumer recycled material is not important (for paper based products)

FSC packaging logo formats

After deciding on the relevant information to include on your label, you are then able to select from 2 different the formats of FSC logo (with both landscape and portrait versions available).

There are also what are known as solid or outline versions of both formats. These can be seen in the illustrations below.

Please also refer to the later section regarding acceptable colours for the FSC logo when creating artwork for your packaging.

fsc logo landscape solid

Landscape (solid)

fsc logo landscape outline

Landscape (outline)

fsc logo portrait solid

Landscape (solid)

fsc logo portrait outline

Landscape (outline)

04: Correct Use of FSC Packaging Logo

How to add FSC on packaging supplied by GWP

Having selected an appropriate logo format that incorporates the correct and relevant information, the next step is to add the FSC branding to your packaging.

As such, the following section outlines the most important points to consider and adhere to when creating packaging artwork that features FSC packaging logos.

Before getting started, please ask your account manager or sales contact for the relevant box layout(s) to allow you or your design team / agency to create the artwork.

Please also do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any difficulties in creating the necessary artwork files.

Please also note that whilst this section covers the most important points to consider, it is not exhaustive. The full FSC branding guidelines / documentation can be downloaded here for your reference / further reading.

FSC packaging logo – trademarks

Even if not using a logo, any text or strapline(s) that references the FSC and / or Forest Stewardship Council, must include the appropriate trademarks (e.g. a statement that says “This packaging is manufactured using FSC certified material”).

As such, the ® symbol must be used on the first or most prominent use of the initials FSC and Forest Stewardship Council when on your packaging / boxes. For example:

FSC®

Forest Stewardship Council®

Please note that all logos supplied by GWP for artwork purposes will include the correct trademarks as standard.

Minimum and recommend FSC logo sizes

The following diagrams highlight both the minimum accepted and minimum recommended sizes for the 2 different logo formats.

FSC portrait min recommended

Portrait

Minimum recommended size (width) 17mm

FSC portrait min accepted

Portrait

Minimum accepted size (width) 9mm

FSC landscape min recommended

Landscape

Minimum recommended size (height) 12mm

FSC landscape min accepted

Landscape

Minimum recommended size (height) 6mm

FSC logo placement (exclusion zones)

When placing logos relating to FSC on packaging artwork, you must incorporate the specified exclusion zones.

This is effectively the height of the FSC text, which must be included around all 4 sides of the logo.

Please see the below diagram(s) for further illustration.

FSC portrait exclusion

Portrait

Exclusion zone

FSC landscape exclusion

Landscape

Exclusion zone

FSC colours – Kraft material

The following images show the acceptable colours / formats that can be used on Kraft (i.e. brown) corrugated material.

FSC block green kraft

Pantone 626C

FSC block white kraft

Solid White

FSC block black kraft

Solid Black

FSC block custom kraft

Custom

FSC outline green kraft

Pantone 626C

FSC outline white kraft

Outline White

FSC outline black kraft

Outline Black

FSC outline custom kraft

Custom

Please note that custom colours are only permitted where you are using a single or two-colour print on your packaging.

For example, if your boxes are printed in a single colour with your brand logo in Pantone 256C, you can also print the FSC logo in this colour.

If printing the FSC logo in a nonstandard colour, then there is still the requirement for the logo to remain clear and legible.

Logo colours - White / Test

The following show the acceptable colours / formats that can be used on White / Test corrugated material

FSC block green white

Pantone 626C

FSC block black white

Solid Black

FSC block custom white

Custom

FSC outline green white

Pantone 626C

FSC outline black white

Outline Black

FSC outline custom white

Custom

Please note that custom colours are only permitted where you are using a single or two-colour print on your packaging.

As with the previous example, if your boxes are printed in a specific Pantone (i.e. to match your corporate identity) you can also print the FSC logo in this colour. The logo must remain clear and legible.

For full colour jobs (e.g. litho laminated print), the logo should be printed in the correct green (Pantone 626C), white or black.

Use on patterned backgrounds

If your packaging features an all over print / pattern, then it is still possible to use the FSC logo. The following diagrams highlight the correct method for doing this:

It is possible to use nonstandard colours for the logo if not using full colour print. Please note however that the guidance regarding correct colour usage, legibility and exclusion zones must still be adhered to.

For full colour jobs (e.g. litho laminated print), the logo should be printed in the correct Green (Pantone 626C), white or black.

FSC logo on patterns

FSC Green

Pantone 626C

FSC logo on patterns

Solid White

Can use existing print colours for logo

FSC logo on patterns

Solid Custom

Can use existing print colours for logo

FSC logo on patterns

Outline Logo

Not permitted on pattern background

Other incorrect usage

Please do not alter the supplied FSC packaging logos when creating your artwork. Common examples of what cannot be done are included below.

Do not squash

Do not stretch

Do not angle

Do not distort

Do not change logo shape

Do not mix colours

Do not add background

Do not use logo alone

It is also important that you do not use the FSC trademarks together with the marks of other forest certification schemes, implying equivalence or in a way which is disadvantageous to the FSC trademarks in terms of size or placement.

You must also not use logo in mis-leading way – for example in close proximity to or in combination with other branding or text / claims.

05: FSC Logo Approvals Process

What to do once you have created your packaging artwork?

Once you have created your artwork, it must be formally approved by the FSC (even if following the guidelines to the letter). Approvals will be checked during GWP’s annual FSC audit, to ensure correct use of all FSC trademarks.

Therefore, the following steps provide an outline of the whole artwork creation / approvals process when adding FSC logos to your corrugated packaging:

  • Firstly, request that all of your packaging is using FSC certified material (if it is not already)
  • Discuss your requirements (and what is possible) regarding use of the FSC logo on your packaging
  • Advise on the format / style you would like the FSC logo to take (landscape / portrait) and what elements to include
  • GWP will supply the logo(s) in vector format (PDF, EPS etc.), alongside any box / cutter guides for creation of your artwork
  • The logos can be used by your design agency or in-house artwork team to incorporate the FSC logos onto your box(es), following the guidelines highlighted above*.
  • Once the artwork has been created, please email full size PDFs to your account manager, or marketing@gwp.co.uk
  • GWP will gain necessary approval from FSC

Your boxes can now be printed with the FSC logos included!

* Please speak with your account manager if you have trouble / no means of creating artwork

Full FSC Guidelines

Besides this document, you may find the following guidelines useful when creating your artwork:

Full FSC Branding Guidelines

FSC Trademark Quick Guide

FSC Website

In Summary

Taking advantage of FSC on Packaging

It may seem like a fairly detailed process in order to create artwork that incorporates FSC packaging logos, but by following the relevant guidelines it can be surprisingly quick and easy to add the relevant trademarks / logos to your boxes.

This then allows you to showcase your business’ environmental credentials to each and every one of your customers, whether you are an ecommerce seller or an industrial manufacturer (or indeed any other business that utilises corrugated packaging).

And, if you are having any difficulty adding FSC to packaging you use, a member of the GWP team will be happy to help. Simply get in touch for any questions you have, or assistance you may require.

Further Reading...

About the Author

Jay Daggar, GWP Packaging Sales Manager

Jay Daggar

Sales Manager | GWP Packaging

Jay joined GWP Packaging in mid-2008 before becoming Sales Manager in 2011, meaning he has worked for GWP for over 10 years. [Read full bio…]

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