In 2006 the United Nations adopted the blue circle as the international symbol of diabetes. Before that, there was no single, universal symbol. Many people in the diabetes community were using a grey ribbon in hopes of replicating the recognition power of the pink cancer ribbon and the red AIDs ribbon.
The original grey diabetes awareness ribbon sometimes had a drop of red blood added to it. There was also the use of a red ribbon representing the American Diabetes Association.
In 2006, the International Diabetes Federation put out a call to create a new diabetes symbol. They wanted to find a symbol that would be recognized by everyone in the world. Kari Rosenfeld and her daughter Clare had just the symbol. They created a blue circle.
Why is a blue circle used to represent diabetes?
They chose the colour blue to represent the sky and the flag of the United Nations. According to Diabetes Mine, the circle was used to “symbolize life, Mother Earth, and health. The unbreakable unity it represents mirrors the global diabetes community.”
On December 20, 2006, the United Nations passed the “World Diabetes Day” resolution which recognized the blue circle as the symbol of diabetes worldwide.
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Is there a diabetes awareness ribbon?
Before 2006, many people used a grey ribbon to symbolize diabetes awareness. Since the adoption of the blue circle, ribbons now tend to be both grey and blue or replaced by blue circle pins.
Is there a different symbol for type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are different diseases. Both types of diabetes are represented by the International Diabetes Federation however, and therefore both are represented by the blue circle.
Is there a standard diabetes awareness tattoo?
Be as creative as you like when it comes to spreading awareness through a diabetes tattoo! There are tattoos of insulin pumps, tattoos incorporating the grey ribbon, and ones that use the blue circle.
If you are considering a diabetes awareness tattoo, our tattoo gallery may help to inspire you.
If you have diabetes and are considering getting a tattoo, make sure to read our precautions first.
Are there other diabetes symbols?
The two main diabetes awareness symbols are the blue circle and the grey and blue ribbon. There are many diabetes organizations with their own brands and logos. Beyond Type 1 has adopted the dotted tear drop. Children with Diabetes has the yellow smiley face.
Here at Diabetes Advocacy, our symbol has evolved from a phoenix with a grey ribbon into the phoenix with the blue circle. It reflects our rising from the devastation of a type 1 diabetes diagnosis and embracing the community we are part of.
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