The Design
of Forms in Government departments

Compiled by the
Organisation and Methods
Division of
Her Majesty's Treasury

Her Majesty’s Stationery Office

First published 1945
Second edition 1962

© Crown copyright 1962

Published by Her Majesty's Stationary Office

To be purchased from

Price £1 1s. 0d. net

Printed in England under the authority of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office by The Curwen Press, Plaistow, London E.13


This guide to the design and simplification of forms is intended for use by civil servants employed on Organisation and Methods and Forms Design/Control work. It may also be of interest to others both inside and outside the Government service.

The guide is concerned not only with design aspects of forms in the popular sense but with a wide range of other office documents used in collecting, recording, preserving, storing, or disseminating management information. It does not cover departmental arrangements for controlling forms and stationery although attention is drawn to the fundamental importance of establishing the need for a form before embarking upon its design.

The related subjects which, according to circumstances, may influence the design of forms are too many and varied to be covered effectively in a single book. Such matters have, therefore, been dealt with only to the extent necessary to lead to the development of the right attitude and approach to forms design, namely by outlining the more important factors likely to be of practical value. It is hoped that this will serve both as a guide to the newcomer to forms work and as an aide-mémoire to the experienced officer. Fuller details about various related topics can be found in the publications listed on page 170.

The illustrations in this book were prepared by H.M. Stationery Office.

Note: Most of the forms illustrated in this book have had to be shown in reduced size.