Today is World AIDS Day, an international day of solidarity for the estimated 37 million people living with HIV and AIDS worldwide. The UK National Trust is calling everyone to "rock the band" and refers to the iconic symbol that has become a unique avatar for almost every HIV and AIDS campaign worldwide.
The red ribbon began in protest. Founded in 1991 by New York-based Visual AIDS Artist Caucus, it was a sign of compassion for people suffering from AIDS. At that time, they were forced to hide their illness for fear of being ostracized. The US government has been hard pressed to deal with the pandemic in the 1980s, despite thousands of HIV-related deaths, and groups like Visual AIDS took to the streets to raise public awareness.
The design of the six-inch red ribbon folded in. An inverted "V" came from Marc Happel, a costume designer who drew inspiration from the yellow ribbons used in honor of the military. Happel and a small group of volunteer "band bees" made hundreds of grosgrain ribbons that they used to hand out leaflets.
The tapes immediately became a sensation after celebrities had worn them at major awards. Visual AIDS chose not to label the design, and other marketing initiatives – from alopecia to schizophrenia – soon copied it. Today there is an awareness ribbon in all shades and patterns. Campaigns for heart disease, stroke and drug addiction have not even bothered to choose a new color. They all use the red ribbon that AIDS activists have produced.
The red ribbon, once a radical symbol, is today a graphic design cliché. Designers just can not get away. Any booklet, poster and branding project on HIV or AIDS seems to require a version of the ubiquitous fabric loop.
The plague of painfully vicious tapes – including the official World AIDS Day website – makes Shuka the solution of design for the SPID.Center (also known as AIDS.Center Foundation or Фонд «СПИД.Центр) in Moscow, so refreshing. At the New York Fire New Conference in September, founders Ivan Vasin and Ivan Velichko revealed why they had to go beyond the Red Ribbon.
"The situation in Russia could be the situation in the US 20 years ago. "
HIV infection rates in Russia are rising, according to UNAIDS data. There, about 250 people are diagnosed with HIV on a daily basis, and conservative government policies have prevented HIV prevention and treatment programs. As the stigma surrounding the disease in Russia is still very high, leading the established AIDS education band will do more harm, Vasin and Velichko, best known for their sexy renaming of the World Chess Championship, said.
Gap between those with and without HIV. Those who suffer from HIV can not get jobs or services, "Vasin explains. "The situation in Russia could be the situation in the US 20 years ago."
"How do you talk to Russians about something as important as HIV literacy? We are not destined for quilts and hands. See?" There are only two things that can unite us while he is at war Shuka Design wrote
In building traditional folklore and art, Shuka Design developed a solution that appealed to most Russians: the horse.
The horse is an important symbol in Russian fantasy as an avatar of heroic struggle, with horses appearing in folklore, public architecture, corporate branding, and tourism campaigns.The horse is a central figure in Moscow's coat of arms, displaying St. George A horse fighting a dragon.
"Horses symbolize hard work," says Alexey Mikheev in Russia Beyond. "Workaholics is often said to plow like a horse . "
The horse is also the central figure in a symbol of social change in Russia: Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin's painting" The Bathing of a Red Horse "from 1912. The branding for the SPID.Center offers creative variations of this red horse – often elongated to imitate a bus – to create an inviting platform for all Russians, with or without HIV.
"It reminds me of those who still stand and those who have fallen in the endless battle. The horse is death itself, tamed and subdued by consciousness, "writes Velichko.
Vasin and Velichko, who met with Quartz in New York , say this small project is especially special for their growing studio, saying that co-founder of SPID.Center, television presenter Anton Krasovsky, is one of the first openly gay people to talk about HIV in Russian media. "This is a really small one Foundation, but it is a really cozy place in the center of Moscow, where people can meet with HIV, "says Velichko, who has found the horse motif." It is a really important project for us as designers and artists. "Vachim adds added: "It's about real people, it's about real life."