Buttons and Badges Guidelines & Best Practices


This document has been designed to assist Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employees and contractors in the development of buttons or badges.


Buttons and badges are a simple and cost-effective way to promote campaigns and short health messages to both partner organizations and individuals. By allowing individuals to post a badge or a button on their own site (which would then include a message and URL to the CDC.gov Web site for additional information), they become advocates for your campaign.

A button is a graphic element used to promote campaigns and causes online. A button is created for internal (CDC) and/or external promotion of campaigns and is designed specifically for partners and organizations to use on their Web sites. Buttons help to promote initiatives and drive web traffic back to CDC.gov.

A badge is a graphic that can be posted on an individual’s social network profile or personal blog to show support for or affiliation with a cause or issue. Badges differ from buttons in several ways, including the messaging and sizing. The primary difference is that a button is for use by organizations and a badge is for use by individuals.

Communications Strategy

Buttons, badges and other social media tools are intended to be part of a larger integrated health communications program or project developed under the leadership of the Associate Director of Communication Science (ADCS) in the Health Communication Science Office (HCSO) of CDC’s National Centers. HCSOs are responsible for the coordination and guidance of health marketing and communication activities of their respective centers which includes communications science clearance, strategic planning, and research and evaluation.


All buttons and badges must be cleared through the clearance channels determined by your HCSO.


The Electronic Media Branch (EMB) can provide assistance and consultation in planning and developing social media tools. Please refer to the process section later in this document for additional information, or you can contact socialmedia@cdc.gov.


Before starting to develop either a button or badge, please consider the following:

  1. Clearly Define the Objectives: Do you want to increase awareness of the topic, expand the reach or further the scope of the message? Defining objectives should guide the image and text design for the button or badge and should also determine which CDC.gov page you are linking to from the button or badge.
  2. Know Your Target Audience(s): As with any communications activity, it is important to define your intended target audience(s) in order to develop and communicate messages and graphics that resonate with your audience and prompt them to take action. A unique button or badge can be created for each audience.
    • Buttons are intended for use on CDC.gov and partner pages. Consider the users of both CDC.gov and the intended partner sites as the primary audience for the button. Individuals are the primary audience for badges. Individuals can be segmented by age, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, etc. It is important to use language and images that appeal to the target audience, therefore encouraging individual users to become public health advocates.
  3. Design and Usability: Certain design aspects may be important to include, especially if the button or badge is a component of a larger program that has a designated graphic identity. To follow HHS and CDC guidelines for good design and usability, the following should be considered:
    • Graphics and images should be attractive, modern and engaging. Make effective use of color and be mindful of image selection that does not distract from the message.
    • For optimal viewing, use readable text in an easy-to-read font.
    • Additional information is available. (This page is only accessible on the CDC network.)
  4. Content
    • All text displayed on a button or badge should be written in plain language. The text should be short and concise and written in a user-friendly font (see example).
    • Develop alternate text to meet 508 Compliance requirements. Refer to the Appendix later in this document for additional information.
    • All buttons or badges list a URL below the graphic to direct the user to CDC.gov or a
      partner Web site.
  5. Branding: All buttons and badges will be branded with the CDC and HHS logos.
  6. Promotion: Promoting buttons and badges is strongly recommended. Programs have promoted buttons and badges in the following ways:
    • Include a thumbnail and link on high-profile topic-specific pages.
    • Include a thumbnail and link in campaign materials.
    • Work with partners for joint display of the button or badge.
    • Send content-specific GovDelivery email updates.
    • Promote via the CDC Facebook or MySpace profile and the CDC_eHealth and other Twitter accounts. Contact socialmedia@cdc.gov for additional assistance.
  7. Translation: Buttons and badges can be translated into other languages when links to appropriate CDC.gov content in that language are available. Additional time will be added to the production schedule to translate cleared content. For additional information, please refer to http://intranet.cdc.gov/nchm/dhcm/MLS/index.htm (This site is only available to internal CDC staff and contractors, and you have to be on the CDC network to access this page.)
  8. Evaluation:
    • Social media activities should be evaluated and may include reviewing metrics, identifying lessons learned, and determining whether the effort successfully met project goals. Metrics can be captured via Omniture SiteCatalyst to determine the number of clickthroughs to CDC.gov.
    • Tracking links to external URLs (other than CDC.gov): External links cannot be tracked with Omniture unless the Web site currently uses Omniture coding on its pages. For example, a button linking to http://health.yahoo.com cannot be tracked unless that site is currently using Omniture on its landing page and will provide us with the metrics.

Process – How to create a Button or Badge

  1. Develop and clear concept and messaging for the button or badge through the pre-determined HCSO channels, keeping in mind the requirements and “best practices” described in this document.
  2. Determine the button or badge size based on the requirements of the target Web site. Refer to the PDF document for the size chart.
  3. Contact the Division of Communication Services (DCS) to:
    1. Identify an image to utilize. To view a selection of stock photography images available, go to CDC intranet. Select “stock photography” from the left navigation.
    2. Complete a Create-It service request form in the CDC intranet. Select “Graphic Design or Illustration” from the left navigation. Provide text and selected image to DCS.
  4. Clear button or badge files and 508 alternate text through clearance channels developed by your HCSO.
  5. Fill out button/badge table,(see PDF for example and table template) and supply the requested information, including audience, language, image thumbnail, URL, image file name, width, height and alt text. Be sure that the attached image files match the height and width of the button you want produced. Attach the image file you received from DCS or graphic designer, not a PDF or other non-graphic format.
  6. Send completed table and cleared image file(s) to DMB. DMB will generate the following codes:
    1. campaign code to allow tracking through Omniture Site Catalyst.
    2. an HTML code that allows the button or badge to be embedded and link the URL to CDC.gov
  7. DMB will send back the completed chart with the HTML code and Campaign code information.
  8. Notify DMB  if posting to the CDC Button and Badge Gallery.
  9. Post Button or Badge to program Web pages and promote the button to partners and other audiences members.

Digital Media Consultation

The Digital Media Branch is able to provide assistance and consultation on the planning and development of social media tools.

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Page last reviewed: January 14, 2014