What are they?
The ribbons are small pieces of imprinted cloth that attach with an adhesive strip to the bottom of one’s convention badge, or attach to the bottom of the next ribbon in the chain — are a tradition at many science fiction conventions the world over. Most badge ribbons are created by members outside of the convention for cost, but distributed for free. They come in a wide range of styles and colours, though traditionally are horizontal-oriented with an adhesive strip at the top. It’s entirely upon the attendee(s) to create and distribute them.
Do I have to get involved?
They are simply a fun thing. We hope that many attendees will decide to partake in ribbon swapping to add their own unique signature to their convention experience. They are absolutely not necessary… in fact, apart from a small handful of ribbons actually printed by the convention they have nothing whatsoever to do with the convention itself. But they certainly add to the ambience of the event, and all of us on the Sherlocked USA team love them, so enjoy yourself! They are also a great way to meet new people.
What to print on my ribbon?
The sky is the limit when it comes to printing ribbons! Many ribbons feature quotes from TV shows, movies, games or books, while others are silly memes or inside jokes. Some fan groups or businesses use ribbons to advertise their club, their website or events. Many costumers even print ribbons to accompany their costumes! There is no right or wrong when it comes to printing badge ribbons but please keep it friendly.
How do I get my own ribbons for distribution?
You can buy them anywhere you’d like, but we have a few suggestions. There are plenty of places online to order them. Here is a short list of vendors from whom you can order badge ribbons. Sherlocked USA does not officially endorse any of these ribbon vendors.
• MARCO Badge Ribbons
• Ribbons Galore
• Hodges Badge Company
If for any reason you need to decline a ribbon request please be polite and respectful to the other attendees. It is ok to say “I’m sorry, but this ribbon was specifically made to give to my friends.” Or “I’m sorry, I only give this ribbon to people who speak a password.” Above all, remember to be polite!
How can I collect ribbons?
Ribbon distribution tends to be completely open, available to anyone (though, sometimes with caveats, i.e. one must be wearing a certain costume or must speak a certain phrase), but never for any compensation. As it is a fun activity it is not permitted to sell badge ribbons for any reason.
If you see someone freely handing out ribbons, it’s okay to approach them and ask, “May I please have a ribbon?”
If someone declines to give you one of their ribbons for whatever reason, just accept their decision politely.
When someone quietly palms a ribbon to another person or otherwise engages in a behavior suggesting they are being secretive, it’s rude to ask them for a ribbon. The individual could be low on ribbons, or they may have made a ribbon that is specifically given to only their friends.
It is rude to randomly walk up to strangers and ask, “Do you have a ribbon?” Remember, ribbons cost money to print and not everyone who has ribbons is going to want to give them out freely to just anybody.
The best way to get ribbons is to offer your own ribbons for trade. For example, if you see someone with ribbons but they are not giving them to everybody, it’s okay to ask, “Are your ribbons available for trading?”
Are there any “official” Sherlocked USA Ribbons?
The convention does occasionally print its own ribbons, but these are collectible only in certain circumstances. For example for volunteers/staff and our guests, and occasionally for other select groups such as participants in our masquerade.