Visual AIDS Visual AIDS Visual AIDS 15h Annual Postcards From the Edge, January 25-27, 2013 The Body
Visual AIDS
Visual AIDS
  Visual AIDS   Visual AIDS


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.

The Red Ribbon Project

NOT OVER:
Last year to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Red Ribbon, Ribbon Bees were held in artist studios, homes, Pride Centers, Universities across the US, and at Liberty Park in New York City as part of OCCUPY.

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.

The Red Ribbon Project

History:
In 1991, a group of artists came together to create a meaningful symbol at the height of the AIDS crisis. These artists were a part of the Visual AIDS Artists' Caucus and what they created was titled, "The Ribbon Project," better know today, simply as the Red Ribbon.

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.

The Red Ribbon Project

> top

Copyright:
The ribbon has never been copyrighted in the United States, to allow it to be worn and used widely as a symbol in the fight against AIDS. In creating the Ribbon Project, the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus believed it was important to:

  1. Remain anonymous as individuals and to credit the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus as a whole in the creation of the Red Ribbon Project, and not to list any individual as the "creator" of the Red Ribbon Project.
  2. Keep the image copyright free, so that no individual or organization would profit from the use of the red ribbon.
  3. Use the Red Ribbon as a consciousness-raising symbol, not as a commercial or trademark tool.

The Red Ribbon Project

> top

Recognition:
The Red Ribbon was the first "awareness" ribbon, later followed by many other colors and causes. The Red Ribbon has been used by many AIDS service organizations for its universal recognition and has been written about in several publications and articles. In 1993 a 29¢ red ribbon stamp was issued by the United States Post Office. The Red Ribbon was honored by the CFDA in 1992 for its design and iconic power. In 1997, the Red Ribbon was included in the exhibition "Design for Life" at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and is also included in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art and featured in the exhibition "Humble Masterpieces."

The Red Ribbon Project

Articles

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

Downloads

1991 -- Original Ribbon Project 2011 -- NOT OVER!
 
1991 -- Original Ribbon Project2011 -- NOT OVER!

> top

NOT OVER -- Artist Bio & Statement


John Chaich has designed a range of multi-arts projects to raise AIDS awareness, from an educational theatre project funded with support from Do Something and LifeBeat, to a nationally distributed edutainment zine by and for young adults, to social marketing campaigns recognized by Print magazine and helping design Visual AIDS annual artist edition broadsides. Most recently, he curated the critically acclaimed exhibition Mixed Messages: A(I)DS, Art, + Words for Visual AIDS at LaMaMa La Galleria. He has presented at national conferences on AIDS and the arts and written on visual responses to HIV/AIDS for Art & Understanding magazine, as well as contributed to BUST magazine and the anthology, Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image. Chaich holds an MFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute. johnchaich.com

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
 

Facebook | Twitter | about visual aids | contact | mailing list | internships/volunteers | copyright | back to the body