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Usage Guidelines and Examples


The material and instructions contained in this Guide are intended to familiarize active Diplomates with the rules and regulations governing the use of Diplomate Certification Service Mark (the “Mark”) of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). The rules are based on laws which dictate requirements for the use of federally registered service marks, and they are intended to protect the integrity of the Mark.

The Mark identifies physicians who have obtained Diplomate certification from one of the ABPS certifying Boards and serves as a visual symbol of demonstrated achievement and a credential verifying the physician’s skills and experience, and its usage of the Mark is restricted to this group of physicians. ABOIM Diplomates may also utilize the Mark that distinguishes them as an integrative medicine specialist. Any other usage is a violation of Federal and State laws.

Usage Guidelines

The Mark must always appear in the colors and font specified and must never be altered in any way (other than in size). The Mark should always be clearly presented and should not be placed in close proximity to distracting design or copy elements. Adequate clearance around the Mark should be maintained.

The Mark may not be used as a part of or incorporated in the name of a practice group or a group’s logos, or used in a manner which implies that the practice group is entitled to use the Mark. This provision is applicable even in those instances where one or more members of the group are authorized to use the Mark in association with their name.

The Mark is not to be used in a way that it appears as part of a physician’s title or degree, and should be used only in connection with the services provided by the physician who is entitled to display the Mark.

The Mark may be used on stationery, business cards, resumes, brochures and other materials, but only in association with the names of physicians who have achieved Diplomate certification.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can the Mark be used?

An active Diplomate certified by an ABPS Member Board can use the Mark , on stationery, business cards, resumes, brochures and other similar materials. It can only be used by the physician, and cannot be used in association with the name of a practice group.

2. Can I hand draw or recreate the Mark?

No. The mark must be used exactly as it has been created and may not be redrawn although it can be adjusted in size.

3. Is there a minimum size for the Mark?

No. However, to ensure its legibility, the minimum recommended print size is 0.75” in height, and for web site usage 120 pixels.

4. Are there restrictions on where the Mark can be placed on stationery or business cards?

No. The Mark may be placed anywhere you prefer. However, to maintain distinctiveness, the Mark should be proportionally isolated from other graphic elements. It should not be reproduced on strongly patterned backgrounds that would diminish its recognizability and it must not be obscured by intersection lines, rules, shadows, screens or other graphic devices.

5. May I use the Mark in any color?

No. The Mark must always be in the specified colors. PMS blue 288 and PMS yellow 109. No other colors are permissible.

6. Where can I get the Mark?

The Mark is available from ABPS at You can down load the Mark in JPG/PNG format at this site.

Click here to view examples of appropriate usage of the Mark.

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