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World Heritage Emblem

The World Heritage emblem represents the interdependence of the world’s natural and cultural diversity. It is used to identify properties protected by the World Heritage Convention and inscribed on the official World Heritage List, and represents the universal values for which the Convention stands.

Designed by Belgian artist Michel Olyff, it was adopted as the official emblem of the World Heritage Convention in 1978. While the central square symbolizes the results of human skill and inspiration, the circle celebrates the gifts of nature. The emblem is round, like the world, a symbol of global protection for the heritage of all humankind.

Its use is strictly regulated and determined by the World Heritage Committee, with guidelines for its use defined in Annex 14 of the Operational Guidelines. It is protected under the international World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) act.

Usage of World Heritage emblem
and linked logos

Key Information

For whom?

For what use?

How?

World Heritage emblems

Linked Logos
(combinations of the UNESCO logo and the WH emblem)

Key Information

  • The UNESCO logo and the World Heritage emblem are UNESCO’s property.
  • Theses logos are legally protected.
  • UNESCO has the final authority to give permission for their usage.
  • For rules concerning the UNESCO logo, please click here.
  • For the World Heritage emblems and the related linked logos, the project has to be of direct relevance for the World Heritage Convention.

For whom?

There are various emblems and linked logos to be used in accordance with different rules, depending on who is making the request and for which purpose:

States Parties, National Commissions/Agencies, local governments
  • There are numerous possibilities to use the World Heritage emblems and certain linked logos (such as: World Heritage Committee sessions, patronage, publications, exhibitions, etc.).
    For more information, please refer to Chapter VIII and Annex 14 of the Operational Guidelines
Site management authorities
  • Site-specific logos and emblems can be used under certain conditions.
    For more information, please refer to Chapter VIII and Annex 14 of the Operational Guidelines
Individuals, private companies
  • It is not allowed to use the emblems and linked logos unless specific requirements are fulfilled. This must first be checked with the concerned National Commission.
  • Potential approval of usage will depend strongly on the quality and content of the project, not on quantitative nor financial aspects.
    For more information, please refer to Chapter VIII and Annex 14 of the Operational Guidelines

For what use?

The World Heritage emblems and linked logos can be used on the following materials dedicated to the World Heritage Convention and/or sites:

  • Non-commercial publications,
  • Communication materials for free distribution (such as flyers, brochures, posters, maps etc.),
  • Web sites, social media, apps, etc.,
  • Working documents related to the World Heritage Convention,
  • Non-commercial promotional products (such as T-shirts, bags, umbrellas, stationery etc.) for special events,
  • Plaques, flags, banners,
  • Road signs.
Rules on commercial usage
  • Commercial usage of the linked logos is not possible without a specific and official agreement signed by the Director-General of UNESCO.
  • When commercial benefits are anticipated, the Secretariat and national authorities should ensure that the World Heritage Fund receives a fair share of the revenue.
    For further information, please refer to Chap.VIII and Annex 14 of the Operational Guidelines and the adjacent presentation.

How?

  • Before sending any request to UNESCO, it is necessary to consult via email well in advance with the National Commission for UNESCO concerned by the project i. e. the National Commission of the country where the activity/event will take place.
  • Find the contact information of all National Commissions.
  • The request presenting the project must include the following:
    1. the objective of the use of the emblem
    2. its relevance to the Convention
    3. the duration of its use
    4. its territorial validity
    5. a mockup/example of the foreseen usage

Operational Guidelines 
Chapter VIII
(The World Heritage
Emblem)

English French

Operational Guidelines 
Annex 14
 (Table of Uses
of the World Heritage Emblem)

English French

Decisions (32)
Show 39COM 11 Revision of the Operational Guidelines
Show 37COM 12I Revision of the Operational Guidelines
Show 37COM 12II Revision of the Operational Guidelines
Show 36COM 13.I Revision of the Operational Guidelines
Show 36COM 13.II Revision of the Operational Guidelines
Show 35COM 5A Report of the World Heritage Centre on its activities and the implementation of the World Heritage Committee’s Decisions
Show 35COM 13 Revision of the Operational Guidelines
Show 35COM 13A Progress report of the Informal Working Group on the World Heritage Emblem
Show 34COM 5G Audit of the World Heritage Centre by the External Auditors
Show 34COM 13 Revision of the Operational Guidelines