Stroke Solidarity String Guidelines and Information


The universal stroke awareness symbol is the stroke solidarity string. The symbol comprises a dynamic and versatile string that can be easily applied to a range of campaign materials and can visually be applied as a strong design identifier for the voice of stroke.

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  • Continuity of line and connection – representing solidarity between all people who have been touched by stroke, connection and universality of stroke solidarity – a string is a globally recognizable, easy to understand, visual symbol that links individuals on a global and personal level, across all cultures and age group.
  • The continuous line in a string also represents the flow of blood and the healthy functioning of the brain and body.
  • The stroke solidarity string forms a conceptually strong visual representation that can be sold as a fundraising device and worn to spread awareness and to show solidarity.
  • The string can be used as a storytelling device to create illustrations such as the globe, the brain, people, or as a design brand presenting stroke solidarity itself.
    • This can be applied to a range of promotional materials.
    • The design is versatile and can be applied to a range of fundraising items such as string bracelets, anklets, necklaces, metal pins, t-shirts tote bags and hats.
    • The concept, whilst retaining the recognizable form for the string, would be able to change shape to suite the various campaign materials. It also allows for positioning at various price points.

The stroke solidarity string brand is registered and protected under the Madrid system for the international registration of marks (the "Madrid System"). The Madrid System was established in 1891 and functions under the Madrid Agreement, and the Madrid Protocol (1989). It is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) located in Geneva, Switzerland. For a list of countries covered by the Madrid Protocol, please click on

This offers a trademark owner the possibility to have his trademark protected in several countries by simply filing one application directly with his own national or regional trademark office. An international mark so registered is equivalent to an application or a registration of the same mark effected directly in each of the countries designated by the applicant. If the trademark office of a designated country does not refuse protection within a specified period, the protection of the mark is the same as if it had been registered by that Office. The Madrid system also simplifies greatly the subsequent management of the mark, since it is possible to record subsequent changes or to renew the registration through a single procedural step. Further countries may be designated subsequently.

The WSO distributes the solidarity string globally through designated Lead Agencies and through WSO events such as the World Stroke Congress.

Lead agencies are authorized agencies that can promote, market and distribute the solidarity strings within their own regions.

  • Lead Agencies must be a member of the WSO, meet certain criteria and have signed a MOU with the WSO prior to being able to distribute the string. See below section on criteria.
  • Organizations or individuals in a country with a Lead Agency are not able to distribute, sell or supply the string without express permission from their local Lead Agency (the authorized distributor)
  • Organizations or individuals in a country without a Lead Agency are not able to distribute, sell or supply the string without either 1. meeting agreed criteria (see FAQs below) and signing a MOU with the WSO or 2. Purchasing small quantities of WSO-branded strings for distribution in their region (in some instances costs may be waived).
  • Terms and conditions are outlined in Article One of the WSO Stroke Solidarity String Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
  • Lead implementing agencies cannot market, sell or distribute stroke solidarity strings beyond their national borders, either in their own right, or through another party.

In addition to the World Stroke Organization Secretariat in Geneva, the stroke solidarity strings can be purchased by contacting WSO member organizations in the following countries:

Mary Orgill, Communications Director
National Stroke Foundation
461 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Sheila Martins, MD, PhD
Hospital Moinhos de Vento and Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre
email :

Päivi Seppä-Lassila
Communications Manager
Finnish Brain Association
Turku, 20900

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
James Hails
Head of Corporate Partnerships
Stroke Association House
240 City Road
London EC1V 2PR

United States of America
Laura Sol
Vice President, Cause Initiatives and Integrated Marketing
American Heart Assocation/American Stroke Association
7272 Greenville Avenue

  • WSO member organization: Lead implementing agencies must be current WSO member organizations.
  • Capacity and Expertise: WSO member organization must have demonstrated capacity to manage the roll-out, e.g., internal and external communications expertise, networks with media and community.
  • Scope Reach, Multi-sectoral Partnerships: WSO member organization must have distribution channels as well as willingness to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the WSO and to abide by requirements governing the use of the symbol (i.e., presentation, color, quality of printing, etc.
  • Commitment: Applicants must be able to identify a main point of contact (i.e., staff member) within their organizations who will be responsible for coordinating the stroke solidarity string initiative and who will be able to liaise with WSO Secretariat in Geneva, when and if needed.

Lead Agencies are responsible for coordinating manufacture and supply of the solidarity string for their region. The prototype must be approved by the WSO prior to mass production and comply with terms and conditions in the MOU.

  • A Lead Agency may use another Lead Agency for supply of the string in their region, as long as the product complies with WSO standards and has been approved for distribution.
  • Organizations cannot approach a supplier unless they are a lead agency. WSO strongly encourages organizations to liaise with other lead agencies in choosing suppliers.

Q1: How is a lead agency appointed? How can an organization apply to become a stroke solidarity string lead implementing agency?)

A1: The World Stroke Organization (WSO) actively invites its member organizations to become a lead implementing agency for the distribution and marketing of the stroke solidarity string. The lead implementing agency is the sole entity and the appointed "brand guardian" in a country responsible for the distribution, promotion and marketing of the stroke solidarity string. Only one lead implementing agency is permitted per country.

The criteria for becoming a lead implementing agency are as follow:

Eligibility: candidate societies must be a WSO member organization and should represent either a national scientific and/or national stroke support organizatiion.

Capacity and expertise: candidate organizations must have demonstrated capacity to manage the roll-out of the solidarity string, have internal and external communications expertise and have an extensive network working with media and the community.

Scope, Reach and Multisectoral Partnerships: candidates must have distribution channels as well as willingness to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the WSO and to abide by requirements governing the use of the symbol (i.e., presentation, color, quality of printing, etc.)^

Commitment: candidate societies must also be able to identify a main contact from within their organizations who canserve as focal point to monitor the distribution of the solidarity strings as well as respond to queries and requests from consumers and from the WSO.

Q2 What is the role of lead implementing agencies ? Why are they important ?

A2: Lead implementing agencies are needed to help promote the stroke solidarity string as the symbol that unites the global stroke community. Lead agencies are expected to protect the use of the stroke solidarity string and ensure that any work an organization does to market the string is not capitalized by another group such as charities that have nothing to do with the fight against stroke or industries that are considered a public health threat such as alcohol and tobacco.

Q3: My organization would like to distribute the solidarity strings but there is currently no lead agency in my country. What can I do?

A3: If your organization satisfies the requirements in being a lead implementing agency (see Q1), WSO encourages you to apply as a candidate organization. If not, WSO invites you to approach an organization in your country that could meet the criteria.

If there is no suitable Lead Agency in your country, and you only want a small number of strings (eg. for a local event) you may purchase these from the WSO (charges may be waivered in some circumstances)

Q4: I would like to distribute strings in my area but I am not the Lead Agency. What can I do?

A4: If there is a Lead Agency in your country/region you can approach them to request strings to distribute. There may be a charge for these strings.

Q5: How can a supplier be selected ? Is it mandatory to have only one supplier ?

A5: Most organizations have on-going relationships with suppliers. Lead implementing agencies are encouraged to seek the guidance of their supplier(s) in securing materials for the stroke solidarity string. Of utmost importance is the requirement that the Brand Guide be strictly adhered to as noted in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

For more information, please contact:

World Stroke Organization
Campaigns Secretariat
c/o Kenes International
7, rue François-Versonnex
P.O. Box 6053, CH-1211 Geneva 6
Tel: + 41 22 906 9166

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