seal of approval

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Egg carton with organic seal

As a seal of approval , quality mark or seal of quality , graphic or written product labels are referred to, which are intended to make a statement about the quality of a product, possibly also about compliance with safety requirements or environmental properties.

The purpose of these mostly privately owned “ seals ” or “ symbols ” should be on the one hand to provide the consumer with positive information about the quality or characteristics of a product and on the other hand to highlight the manufacturer of a product as a particularly trustworthy supplier. In this way, already existing trust structures and their inherent function as an originally communicative seal of approval are ensured, expanded and formalized.

Differentiation from certification marks

The linguistic distinction for Approval / seal is not fixed, a demarcation possibility arises from the fact that quality or quality marks a special use quality or convenience to represent, while marks rather refer to the audited compliance with safety-related characteristics. Sometimes there is also an overlap between the two objectives.

Character editor

Basically anyone can create a seal of approval or quality, there are no legal regulations. In many cases, manufacturers and suppliers of a certain type of product have come together in a quality association in order to create a product-related quality certificate, such as B. the carpet seal or the wool seal . Cross-divisional institutions have also been established that deal primarily with the organization, administration and award of test seals or quality seals.

Deception and abuse

Due to the lack of legal regulation, associations, initiatives and companies can always issue and market new seals with more or less transparent and strict standards. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to issue a seal of approval for their own products, for example as a greenwashing measure . There are over 1,000 different marks and labels on the German market alone, which makes it virtually impossible for end consumers to evaluate the respective quality mark without advice. Internet portals such as, which was brought into being by the federal government, or Label Online from the consumer initiative e. V. and rate seals of quality according to certain criteria and want to enable consumers to compare different seals. Some standard providers or companies of quality seals publish their catalogs of criteria on which the award of the quality seal is based in order to create more transparency. This is what makes the inspection and comparison of the quality seals possible in the first place. Another feature that counteracts abuse is certification . Here, compliance with the catalog of criteria is checked independently or in a proprietary manner by a certification body and is therefore to be distinguished from pure self-disclosure.

Design of the markings

The markings used as signs are predominantly graphically and stylistically designed symbols or icons in an individually defined manner and are used uniformly with this design . This ensures a high recognition value and a differentiation from competing or different characters. The marking can be attached directly to the product or to the accompanying information and document material, the latter is particularly the case with services .

List of seals of approval

Sign for tested safety (GS mark)
TransFair seal

Different certification systems

In many cases, "test judgments" in the typical pictorial form such as those from Stiftung Warentest or Öko-Test are also referred to as a seal of quality. The individual test result (e.g. "Very good") is usually printed on this type of sign. They thus contain an individual product rating and, in the true sense of the word, are not generally valid "seals of quality", but rather evaluating " ratings ".

The CE marking and references to fulfilled DIN standards on products can in a certain way also be understood as a seal of quality, since they are also based on statements about certain product properties.

In the GDR , the quality classes of industrial and handicraft products were marked with the quality mark .

Assessment of seals of approval

The logo or symbol itself does not contain any qualitative statement. To what extent and with what specification a test or quality seal actually represents a particular product quality can usually only be derived from the underlying provisions, rules or other symbol-related explanations.

Reversal of valuation intentions

Some seals of approval were created by achieving the opposite of what was initially intended.

  • The story of “ Made in Germany ” is well known: at the end of the 19th century, people in Great Britain tried to protect themselves against supposedly inferior imitation products by labeling imported goods. The British Merchandise Marks Act 1887 of 23 August 1887 required goods to be clearly labeled with the country of origin. This was to protect the UK economy from imported goods from the continent. Some regulations were tightened during the First World War to make it easier for the British to identify and boycott goods from war opponents. Since the quality of German goods was often superior to the quality of local products abroad, “Made in Germany” often looked like a seal of quality . The negatively intended product labeling was reversed (for details see Made in Germany # history ).
  • Banned in Boston was when a book, play, or film was banned from sale or performance in Boston by a Boston censorship agency. The phrase and sticker "Banned in Boston" became a kind of trademark for not entirely youth-free cultural creation. In some cases, commercial dealers issued works as banned in Boston , although this was not the case at all, or through their own activities they ensured that their work was placed on the list of prohibited works.
  • Similarly, age restrictions on films ( FSK ) or age restrictions on alcohol and cigarettes can exercise what is also called the “stimulus of the forbidden” (see Reaktanz (Psychology) ).

See also


  • Sandra Dusch Silva (ViSdP), Anil Shah, Thorsten Moll: A guide through the label labyrinth . Christian Initiative Romero, Münster, 3rd, updated edition 2018.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Anne Kunze: Not even more labels - most seals of approval mislead the consumer in: Zeit Online , online , accessed on December 21, 2013
  3. ^ Label Online
  4. Vier Pfoten brings the seal of approval "Animal Welfare Control" to the trade , from May 31, 2017 in
  5. accessed on May 8, 2018
  6. ^ Banned in Boston: the development of literary censorship in Massachusetts, University of Illinois., 1956, University of Michigan