The Red Ribbon Project
The red ribbon has become a worldwide symbol of the fight against AIDS. Wearing the red ribbon represents compassion for people living with AIDS and their caretakers; and support for education and research to effective treatments, vaccines or a cure.
This year be part of the art + action tradition and host a ribbon bee in your community.
Bring together a group of friends, workmates, and volunteers, along with a suitable space, and we will help you with the rest. Click here for more information on how to host a Ribbon Bee.
Through a series of meetings in April and May of 1991, and using the yellow ribbons as inspiration, the Red Ribbon was decided upon as an icon to show support and compassion for those with AIDS and their caregivers. The color red was chosen for its "connection to blood and the idea of passion -- not only anger, but love, like a valentine." The ribbon format was selected in part because it was easy to recreate and wear. The original instructions were to "cut the red ribbon in 6" length, then fold at the top into an inverted 'V" shape. Use a safety pin to attach to clothing." Red ribbons were often created during "ribbon bees," gatherings of friends and supporters fashioning ribbons and pins to be passed out at local and high-profile events.
Visual AIDS partnered with Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS in June 1991 to adorn guests and presenters at the 45th annual Tony Awards. The Tony Awards were chosen as a way to communicate the extent that this epidemic was affecting members of their own community -- artists and performers. One of the first presenters to wear the iconic symbol was Jeremy Irons. The red ribbon quickly became renowned as an international symbol of AIDS awareness, and has been worn at the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys; celebrities, musicians, athletes, artists and politicians have worn the ribbon on talk shows, TV programs, movies, political conventions, sporting events and music videos.
How a red ribbon conquered the world; Tom Geoghegan BBC News, Washington DC, June 2, 2011
Why a red ribbon means AIDS, BBC News, November 7, 2003
Ribbon Culture: Charity, Compassion, and Public Awareness; Sarah E. H. Moore, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008
The most powerful icon of the '90s?; Rick Fleury, Brandweek, Nov 30, 1992
The Year of the Ribbon, New York Times, May 3, 1992> top
NOT OVER -- Artist Bio & Statement
As a communications designer, I have always been drawn to the power of a symbol to communicate. Early in the AIDS epidemic, the red ribbon spoke without using words at a time when awareness and compassion felt invisible. Decades later, it's interesting that we are adding the words "Not Over" to reeducate and reengage audiences in the potential of the red ribbon at a time when its presence has become nearly invisible. I chose the brisk, neutrality of Helvetica to directly speak without distracting from the ribbon itself. I hope my design engages, and I am honored to be included among these respected artists on this project. -- John Chaich> top