AIDS 2016 Logo Contest


Durban will host the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in July 2016. AIDS 2016 is expected to convene close to 20,000 delegates from nearly 200 countries, including 1,000 journalists. The biennial International AIDS Conference is the premier gathering for those working in the field of HIV, as well as policymakers, people living with HIV and others committed to ending the epidemic.

AIDS 2016 will also focus on the Africa region which has the largest geographic area and population in the world, dramatically varying levels of wealth, and mix of different cultures. Sub-Saharan Africa has the most serious HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world. In 2013, roughly 25 million people were living with HIV in the region, accounting for almost 70% of the global total. Part of the conference is the global village and youth programme aimed at strengthening the participation of affected communities and young people at AIDS 2016.

The contest was open to the general public between 10 and 30 years old at the time of the contest deadline (30 January 2015).

The contest was only open to single individuals; therefore design/creative agencies could not enter the contest.

Winning Entry

John Hanawalt, 30, USA

Design Concept: The logo recreates the AIDS ribbon out of a bold geometric pattern inspired by the distinctively patterned baskets woven in many parts of Africa. Each basket is unique and the weaving of them is often a social activity. They are woven so tightly that they are able to carry water. In addition to their cultural and economic significance, the baskets are a metaphor for the power of a tightly woven community.

Selection: In addition to the eye catching design, conference organizers selected John's logo because they were attracted to the idea of the baskets being watertight and used as a metaphor for ‘the power of a tightly woven community’. This same sense of solidarity and commitment - from community, leadership and science - has had a powerful impact on the HIV response. AIDS 2016 will celebrate this power and work to forge new pathways to overcome the epidemic.


Runners Up

Julien Burns, 26, USA

Design Concept: The 2016 International AIDS Conference comes at a time when prevention efforts are beginning to yield results and treatment access is becoming a reality for millions across Sub-Saharan Africa. Success in turning the tide of the epidemic will require a dedoubling of these efforts and a unified show of resolve by the AIDS community. The lion, as a proud African symbol of strength and courage, reflects this moment and would be an inspiring emblem for this crucial convening

Kgaogelo Pakadi, 22, South Africa

Design Concept: The AIDS ribbon represents the unifying factor that brings Africa together and the stylized map of the African continent portrays a sense of forward modern thinking and equality by involving every African.

Ethel-Ruth Tawe, 20, Cameroon

Design Concept: The center piece for this design represents the famous red "AIDS ribbon". The top part of the ribbon is a circular shape of popular African sculptures symbolizing the South African philosophy of "Ubuntu" (a quality that includes the essential human virtues, compassion and humanity - the principle of inclusiveness). The five dots of the Ubuntu symbol represent the five regions of Africa (North, South, West, East, Central) and the principle of participation by all. The spear-like tips of the bottom half of the ribbon represent male warriors of the Zulu tribe. They also represent a meticulous stride in the direction of medical success. The circular band around the ribbon is an illusion of the traditional Zulu female headdress from the Durban region; KwaZulu Natal. The spears and the headdress are symbols of gender equality. The design in the headdress represents the African sun and the rising sun depicted on the South African Coat of Arms. This is a symbol of hope for both the nation as well the continent in the fight against HIV/AIDS, as well as a brighter future for the young generations. The triangular shapes also resemble that of the South African flag and traditional popular prints in the region. This logo incorporates ideas from both the specific region of Durban as well as Africa as a continent. The interwoven concept of Ubuntu also highlights the role of the international community's human virtue and commitment to end the epidemic.

Yohannes Haule (Tanzania), winner of the AIDS 2014 logo contest at the conference opening ceremony in Melbourne, Australia, July 2014. © IAS/Steve Forrest


The designer of the winning logo will be invited to attend the conference in Durban, South Africa, with an accompanying person.

A formal presentation to recognize the winner will take place at the conference.

Economy flights, attendance fee and accommodation will be paid for both the winner and the accompanying person.

Artwork Considerations

  • The logo concept should be reflective of the 2016 conference destination, Durban, South Africa AND/OR Sub-Saharan Africa AND/OR Africa as a continent;
  • It should incorporate the well-known ‘AIDS ribbon’;
  • It should reflect the conference principles of inclusiveness, participation and gender equality;
  • It should be conceptual rather than literal;
  • The logo should include:
    • the abbreviated name of the conference “AIDS 2016”;
    • the words “21st  International AIDS Conference”;
    • and “Durban, South Africa” as well as the date (17-22 July 2016).
  • The logo should in no way include elements of the International AIDS Society or any of the local or international partner logos. In addition, it should not be visually similar to previous conference logos (see below the most recent examples);

  • The logo concept should work well on white and coloured backgrounds and be easily adaptable for use on the website and in social media platforms, as well as for animation purposes. For that reason, we suggest the logo should work in a squared box (e.g., the Facebook or Twitter picture box), in both a portrait and landscape format and that should have a maximum of two colours.

Copyright and Usage

Please note that IAS will retain the copyright for any artwork selected for use as the AIDS 2016 logo. Following the logo selection, the chosen design will be further developed with a complete graphic profile by the IAS.