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Phil Patton and the Case of the Red Cross

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Another speaker at today’s Cause/Effect, Phil Patton expounded upon his AIGA Voice article “Whose Cross to Bear?” about the ubiquity and meaning behind that little red cross. So iconic is the shape that furniture and fashion have embraced it, and the cross itself has become pretty much the universal symbol for just about everything: Blue Cross, the green cross, the New Mexico flag. And then of course, you have the crossover from Swiss flags to Swiss Army Knives.

He reported on the ongoing battle between Johnson & Johnson and the American Red Cross over use of that iconic little symbol. Yes, J&J actually sued the Red Cross for the rights to use it earlier this year. The case hasn’t been settled yet, although we wonder if another of this afternoon’s panelists, Chris Hacker, in charge of design at J&J, can enlighten us on that.

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