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Color Guide for Cause Ribbon Awareness Campaigns


If you are planning to launch an awareness campaign to raise funds for a charitable cause, you must understand the foundation of any awareness campaign — a cause ribbon.

If you are planning to launch an awareness campaign to raise funds for a charitable cause, you must understand the foundation of any awareness campaign — a cause ribbon. At HALO, we understand these items hold monumental importance for all promotional awareness marketing. We work with you to place your charity, cause, or organization at the heart of your campaign.

What Is a Cause Ribbon?

cause ribbon is an iconic, recognizable loop of fabric used for awareness campaigns. The traditional shape is a loop at the top with two “legs” of fabric on either side. The point of an awareness ribbon is to wear it around town, display it on your car, wear it at work, or in another prominent location to spark conversation about your cause.

Many causes have pre-assigned colors (pink for breast cancer awareness for example), while local campaigns often choose their own designs and colors. The amount of causes and affiliated colors is quite exhaustive. Read our color ribbons guide and conduct online research before settling on a color for your campaign. If you are raising money or awareness for the plight of a person in your community, try to choose the color associated with their illness, condition, or situation.

History of Color Ribbons

One of the first uses of color ribbons popular with the public was during the Iranian Hostage Crisis — those raising awareness for the hostages and the American embassy personnel tied yellow ribbons around trees. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, cause ribbons became common symbols in the United States and beyond, with colors becoming known for association with certain causes (red for HIV/AIDS awareness for example).

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office now considers color cause ribbons a “universal symbol” and does not allow organizations to trademark color ribbons unless they are modified significantly.

What Color Ribbon Should I Choose?

Many causes already have specific colors associated with them. Whenever you order cause ribbons and choose other promotional products for an awareness campaign, be sure to follow the guide below. Research general information on the charity or organization’s website you are raising funds for so you are careful to comply with their branding and imagery guidelines. For example:

  • Blue ribbons are used to raise awareness for child abuse, stomach cancer, and drunk driving.
  • Red ribbons are used to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS, heart disease, alcohol abuse, and lymphoma.
  • White ribbons are used to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, bone disease, blindness, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Read our in-depth color guide to determine the color paired with your awareness campaign or cause.

What Else Do I Need for My Awareness Campaign?

Beyond cause ribbons, consider ordering various awareness promotional items to reach the widest possible audience. With our extensive line of promos and the flexibility we offer in the final design of your products, getting creative with your campaign is a breeze.

For example, we offer dozens of promos specifically tailored for Breast Cancer Awareness. Choose between ribbon stress relievers, event wristbands, backpacks, mugs, notepads, and writing utensils. Awareness campaign promos can be customized in various colors and affixed with your logo or slogan.

Cause Ribbon Hot/Cold Pack

Not sure what color ribbon to use? If you don’t see your cause or organization listed on our cause ribbon color chartcontact your HALO Account Executive. When planning promotional materials for your charitable campaign, it is important to know if the design you are considering is trademarked, as well as what colors are ideal to use. We stand ready to help you plan an effective promotional marketing campaign with the appropriate color ribbons.