07. The Red Cross
The red cross emblem is an incredibly economical symbol, but one that delivers its meaning – of neutrality and protection – in the most effective ways.
It's a simple mark, but one that conveys its message immediately. With no exact specification of red, and the only guidelines instructing that the cross should always have arms of equal length and be shown on a white background, the red cross emblem is easily displayed in places where materials to create perfect design might not be available.
The red cross, and indeed the red crescent (first used by soldiers from the Ottoman Empire in 1876 because the red cross reminded them of the crusaders of the Middle Ages) is a sign of neutrality and protection in armed conflict. Its use is restricted by international and national laws.
Both emblems have the same meaning and status, and have no political or religious significance. The restriction of usage is important here: the red cross emblem must be trusted to signify this neutrality and protection, and therefore unauthorised use is forbidden in international, humanitarian and national law.
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