Welcome to my blog! I started it when I was a new Girl Scout leader and needed some kind of organized "to-do" list. I decided the best way to keep things organized was to start a blog. So here it is! My oldest troop has since bridged up to Juniors, and I've taken on a Daisy troop as well, so I will continue updating with new Juniors information and additional Daisy stuff too. My hope is to continue to update with every level as my troops advance. But we'll see.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope it's helpful!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

SU: Branding Guidelines and Helpful Links (Terms, Colors, Copyright, etc.)

Over the past few years, I've learned many things about GSUSA guidelines and branding. I recently took over our service unit communications, and built a website for our service unit (this is not the same as the Shutterfly sites I use for my troops; the website is public, with private areas for parents and leaders). So I had to do quite a bit of research about branding and what was okay to use, and what required permission.

For those of you who use a private site for your troops, this information may be helpful, but not necessary. I think the focus should always be on the girls, and having fun, but if you're talking about a public website, or printed materials, take a look at some of the information below. It's from a lot of different resources, and as always, if you see something that looks outdated or inaccurate, please leave me a comment!

Here is a great online resource for current branding information.

You can download the official GSUSA style guide here.

EDIT: Here is the most up to date info.

When I first started writing this blog, I didn't know there were specific guidelines for brand-related images and so on (so if you see things that aren't according to the guidelines below, chalk it up to well-intentioned ignorance on my part). And even now, if I like the look of one font over another (makes it more fun for my girls), I always vote for being creative and engaging! So a lot of what I'm talking about in this post is more about "official" stuff -- if you're representing Girl Scouts, as opposed to creating things for/with your troops. Mostly. Well, you'll see. ;)

Some Quick/Random Info:

It used to be that "Daisy Girl Scout" was the preferred title. This has changed. It is now "Girl Scout Daisy" (etc.). Here's a great resource on the timeline of various other changes.

The brand colors are not always web-friendly (and individual monitors/screens can display colors differently as well), so rather than using the green color for your font, for instance, think about just sticking with black. You might want to use the brand colors (green, blue, etc.) for static files like .jpg, .pdf, etc.

Always check with your council before making any printed merchandise using "Girl Scouts" branding (name[s], title[s], the faces logo, etc.). It is fine to use the word "troop" and your troop numbers without your council's permission, though. So if you want to make troop shirts with just "TROOP 12345" on it, for instance, go for it! Just don't use the words "Girl Scouts" on it. If you do that, you have to get your council's approval and use their manufacturer.

Make sure any products you're creating for fundraising are in keeping with your council's rules. When in doubt, ask your service unit manager (SUM) and/or council rep.

What About Logos and Other Official Stuff? 

Are you making Welcome certificates for your girls? Or trefoil-shaped name tags? Are your girls making Daisy bookmarks? That sort of thing is fine. Do you have a blog? Are you posting ideas on Pinterest? No problem. Ask yourself these questions: Am I making a profit by doing this? Is this information only available by purchase? If the answer is yes, then ask for permission.

You cannot take currently copyrighted materials that GSUSA currently sells and post them online for others to use for free.

Recently there were some websites out there where authors had scanned current GS publications and posted them online. That wouldn't be bad if it had been free-use material, but in these cases, the publications scanned were items being currently sold by GSUSA. By scanning them and posting online, these individuals violated GSUSA's copyright (no, I was not the person who reported them. I found out about it after the fact). Personally? I think leaders should be allowed to share ALL resources if possible, and in an ideal world no girl should have to pay for any printed resources. But I'm not in charge, and the last thing I'd want to do is risk my position within the organization by infringing upon copyright. And honestly, it's understandable. GSUSA is obviously doing everything it can to fund the organization. I respect that. So when in doubt, ask for permission.

But enough of that. Here's some general, free-use info for you. :)

Handy-Dandy Reference Sheet:

Please note, that the Omnes font is unavailable for leaders to use, typically. It is basically an altered (bolder) version of the Avenir font (and the left side cross of the lowercase "t" has been removed). When in doubt, use Arial. You can download the file directly from its source by clicking here (it's under Branding & Photos). 

The Logo Has Changed?

The logo has gone through quite a few changes over the years. Lots of great info (with pictures) can be found here.

Different fonts, colors, and shape

But My Service Unit Has the Old One on Its Sign/Wall/Whatever!

Leave it. :) Don't stress about it. Our service unit has a room at the local community center, dedicated to GS use. One wall has a giant mural on it that a group of our girls painted a while back. The girls in the picture are all wearing older style vests, with retired badges. The logo is the old-style faces one (on left, above). It's a beautiful mural, and was created with a lot of hard work and love. To alter it would, in my opinion, dishonor those girls who created it. (If it were peeling and in need of repair, that would be a different story -- and a great community service project for an older troop. But luckily it's in great shape. So we admire and appreciate it, and leave it be.)

But, is your service unit planning an event? Are you wanting to send out an email to all parents with info and a graphic about the event? If you're planning on using a GS-related image, use what's current if you can.

EDIT: I know. Technically the faces logo in my blog banner should have white as well. Blogger has a unique way of displaying images, and this was the best I could do. I'm not stressing over it. It's a blog. It's not official GSUSA materials. 

Your council should have specific information regarding branding. When in doubt, call your council. :)

What About Ad Campaigns/Taglines/Slogans? What Is Current?

I'm pretty sure that every year there's a new campaign. And that's okay. Some slogans are very successful, some aren't. You don't have to use the current slogan or campaign focus for your troop or service unit. Most councils do attempt to echo GSUSA's current campaign. As a leader, I try to stick with what appeals most to my troops. For example: the anti-bullying campaign that came out recently ("Ban Bossy") was met with mixed results from what I've read. Personally, I didn't choose to focus on it at all that year. My girls already know the difference between being a leader and being bossy. I think Girl Scouts is most beneficial when focusing on the positive. Since there are already plenty of resources out there for anti-bullying (and promoting GS Law, etc.) I didn't feel it necessary to buy into the campaign. Plus, my girls are still young (Daisy/Brownie age). Dealing appropriately with the topic of bullying depends a great deal upon age, in my experience. 

Other leaders found it very relevant for their troops, and bought into it wholeheartedly. That's great! As always, do what's best for your girls. But don't feel pressured to keep up with it all. My council shop sometimes carries the most up-to-date slogans on merchandise. Sometimes not. I've found searching through other councils' online stores to be a great resource for variety (as well as shopping on eBay), when I'm looking for cute shirts, etc. Just because a slogan is no longer considered current doesn't mean it can't be worn. 

What's the Most Important Thing About It All?

Remember that different councils have different guidelines. Don't stress about using images for private, non-profiting use with your troops in terms of crafts, etc. Definitely ask your council before using any copyrighted material on shirts or other items, especially if using them to raise funds for your troop/SU (some councils don't allow any fundraising outside of product sales; others do. It varies). Ask before photocopying and sharing anything from a for-purchase-only book.

And as far as online sharing, always keep troop sites private. While council sites are largely public (including their council-specific event information), most service units keep troop rosters and event information private (leader and parent access only). When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Always protect your girls' identities. Ensure your parents have filled out a permission form for using photos, etc., in media/online. Do whatever it takes to keep your girls safe online.

Most info about online security can be found in your volunteer resources guide; safety pledge is here. Before creating any public website for your troop or service unit, check with your council (there's typically a form you have to fill out). 

That's it for now. I'm in the process of ramping things up for the new school year. I'll be leading a Kindergarten Daisy troop and a Third Grade Brownie troop, so LOTS of new info to come!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Just a query...GS uniforms can be costly. just wondering if i can make my daughter's daisy vest since i know how to sew.:) is it allowed?

    1. Before you embark upon making your own, please contact your council store and ask if they offer financial assistance. If not, then ask your troop leader. My troops cover the cost of the vest for families who cannot otherwise afford it. Because yes, uniforms are very expensive these days. While I think it would be absolutely fine to make your own vest (early Scouts made their own!), the only thing that would make me hesitate is if I could find the right color to match. Because you would need a swatch when going to the fabric store, ideally. Have you tried Googling it, to see if anyone else out there has identified a match at a chain fabric store? Might be worth a shot. Regardless, there are no "uniform police" but I would definitely look into the possibility of getting one at a reduced price (or free) -- and also look on eBay as well (you can pull previous patches off a used vest), before making my own. That's just me, though. :) I personally think making your own is absolutely in keeping with the Girl Scout Way. Good luck!

  3. I lost one of my daughter's (it's her first year as a daisy) activity patch. I was wondering if there was a way I could replace it.

    1. Ask her leader. She should be able to help you find a replacement patch. :)


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