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5 Popular Awareness Ribbon Colors Meanings

Updated on August 7, 2014

Ribbons have become part of our culture to show support for a cause and bring awareness to that cause. These awareness ribbons come in almost every color and many organizations, from large national groups to local small nonprofits, use ribbons to advertise their work. Some ribbons are more popular than others, displayed by millions around the country.

Pink Awareness Ribbons

With the rise in breast cancer awareness, the pink ribbon has become one of the most recognizable awareness ribbons. It came about as a symbol for breast cancer at the Komen Foundation's first Race for The Cure.

Yellow Awareness Ribbons

The popular 1973 song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” based on stories of civil war veterans coming home to yellow ribbons tied around trees, brought about the yellow ribbon symbol. Today support of soldiers and showing hope that each one comes home safe is still a popular use of the yellow ribbon. Sharing the use of yellow colored ribbons with veteran support are other causes such as suicide prevention and endometriosis.

Red Awareness Ribbons

The yearly National Red Ribbon Week in October is a popular school campaign to educate schoolchildren about the dangers of using drugs and how to just say “no” when offered drugs. Another use of the red awareness ribbon brings attention to those suffering from AIDS.

Blue Awareness Ribbons

Blue ribbons are most commonly associated with child abuse and prevention. This symbol came about when a Virginia grandmother tied a blue ribbon on her van to honor her grandson who was killed by an abuser. The blue represents the bruises on an abused child.  Love Our Children USA has a national Get Blue campaign to bring awareness and help prevent child abuse around the country.

Multicolored- Puzzle Awareness Ribbon

The puzzle ribbon brings awareness to autism. With the rise of autism cases, this autism ribbon has quickly become a popularly displayed ribbon. According to the Autism Society, “the puzzle pattern reflects the mystery and complexity of the autism spectrum.”

People have come to recognize that a simple colored ribbon holds great significance. By using colored ribbons, organizations have created an easily recognized symbol that on site conveys a broad message. By selling these ribbons, the organizations raise funds to further support the cause. By wearing a small ribbon pin or placing a ribbon magnet on your car, you lend your support and join others around the country, and the world, who understand the personal hardships of a disease or struggle.

Grey Awareness Ribbons

Grey represents brain cancer (for "grey" matter), aphasia, mental illness, allergies, and diabetes.


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