American Red Cross Logo

American Red Cross logoAmerican Red Cross Logo PNG

The symbol of the armed forces’ medical services, the Red Cross emblem is familiar in every corner of the world. It was declared in 1864, and its use today was determined by the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Meaning and history

American Red Cross Logo history

The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization dedicated to emergency assistance and disaster relief, was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton. Inspired by the Swiss-based International Red Cross, Barton established the American version to provide aid during natural disasters and wars. It was chartered by Congress in 1900 and 1905, granting it a unique role as a government-mandated agency with a certain degree of operational autonomy.

Initially focusing on battlefield assistance, the American Red Cross expanded its services to disaster relief following the 1889 Johnstown Flood. During World War I, its efforts grew exponentially, providing ambulances, nurses, and financial support. This period marked a significant transformation, with the Red Cross becoming a prominent fixture in American and international relief efforts.

In the interwar period, the organization diversified its services, including first aid, water safety, and public health nursing. World War II again saw an expansion of its scope, notably in blood services. The Red Cross initiated a national blood program to meet the needs of the armed forces, later extending it to civilian hospitals, a landmark in medical history.

Post-WWII, the Red Cross continued to evolve, responding to peacetime needs like blood services and disaster relief. The latter half of the 20th century saw the organization playing key roles in response to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, and man-made crises, including the 9/11 attacks.

The American Red Cross governed by volunteers and supported by community donations. Its production, primarily in terms of blood and emergency supplies, has adapted over the years, focusing on meeting current demands and incorporating technological advancements.

The history of the American Red Cross reflects a journey of adaptation and service, evolving from a war-focused aid organization to a multifaceted agency addressing a broad range of humanitarian needs.

What is American Red Cross?
The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization in the U.S. that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and education. Part of the global Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, it supports people during emergencies and natural disasters, offers first aid training, and runs health-enhancing community programs.

1863 – 2012

American Red Cross Logo 1863

The history of the Red Cross logo goes back to 1863, the name of its author is Henri Dunant. He did not design the emblem from scratch; in fact it was created by mere reversing the colors of the Swiss flag.

Although this fact was mentioned in the 1906 revision of the Geneva Convention, in fact there are people who disagree with it. For instance, Pierre Boissier, who specializes in the organization’s history, claims that there is no connection between the Swiss flag and the Red Cross logo, and this idea was introduced later so as to object Turkey claiming the flag had Christian origins.

2012 – Today

American Red Cross logo

Certainly, the logo shown in the image is a visual representation of the American Red Cross, characterized by its minimalistic yet powerful design. At its core is the universally recognized symbol of a red cross, rendered here in a vibrant shade that captures attention and signifies urgency and compassion. This cross is encased within a spherical boundary, presenting the idea of global reach and the organization’s readiness to encompass and address the full spectrum of humanitarian needs. To the right, the organization’s name is displayed in a contemporary, unembellished typeface, which conveys accessibility and straightforward communication. The grayscale color of the text provides a contrast that underscores the gravitas of the red emblem, highlighting the Red Cross’s pivotal role in crisis response and humanitarian aid. The logo’s overall aesthetic is designed to convey trust, readiness, and the noble spirit of altruism that the American Red Cross embodies.

Alternative symbols

Alternative symbols red cross Red and Lion with Sun

As a cross is an emblem with a multitude of symbolic meanings, alternative symbols have been created more than once to avoid semantic ambiguity. For instance, in 1876-78 the Ottoman Empire replaced the Red Cross symbol with a Red Crescent as the cross could alienate the Muslim soldiers.

One more alternative symbol, the Red Crystal, was adopted in 2006 as a result of several controversies, the most important of them being the dispute with Israeli national first-aid society Magen David Adom.

The Red Lion with Sun emblem was a standard in Iran from 1924 to 1980, and the country sometimes uses it even now. We can also mention the Red Shield of David, which is the symbol for Magen David Adom when it is working abroad.

American Red Cross emblem

Johnson & Johnson emblem sue

Johnson & Johnson adopted the red cross shape as a trademark back in 1887, earlier than it became the official symbol of the American Red Cross. It took Johnson & Johnson more than a hundred years to make a decision and file a lawsuit against the Red Cross over their logo. This happened in 2007.

Johnson & Johnson and red cross

As a result of the controversy, the Red Cross was forbidden to use the badge when taking part in commercial incentives that can compete with a private business.


Font of the American Red Cross Logo

The Red Cross logo is recognizable all around the world even if it does not contain any text. However, the official version of the emblem does include an “International Movement” insignia given in a clear, sans-serif all-cap type.


Color American Red Cross Logo

The choice of color is closely interconnected with the symbol’s history. The combination of red and white was borrowed from the flag of Switzerland, which was the source of the Red Cross logo.