Columbia, SC Soliciting Feedback On 18 Finalists

As Ted Kaye noted last November, South Carolina’s capital Columbia is looking to replace its SOB flag with something that better reflects the contemporary city and that will be embraced instead of ignored by the public. After receiving 547 proposed designs, the Columbia Design League had a panel of NAVA members select 18 finalists to present to the public for feedback. The whole process is outlined on the Columbia Museum of Art’s website, on a page entitled Design a Better Columbia Flag!

The feedback period ends on July 10th, and allows for greater weight to be given to opinions expressed by those with some connection to the city (people who live there, are from there, or work there) via self-identification questions on the survey website colaflag.org. Unfortunately the survey presents the 18 finalists in a fixed order, which can introduce artifacts into the results; on the other hand, it anonymizes the designs, presents a statement of intended symbolism for each, and allows respondents to not only assign a 1-10 rating for each flag but to leave comments.

Continue reading “Columbia, SC Soliciting Feedback On 18 Finalists”

San Francisco Curbs Its Enthusiasm

As we reported in 2015, design journalist Roman Mars spearheaded a prominent effort to revise San Francisco’s flag, starting with a discussion of its problems in his immensely popular TED Talk, Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed. He enlisted the sponsorship of design company Autodesk, attracted some media attention, including an article in WIREDand launched sanfranciscoflag.com.

Two years later, it’s gone nowhere. The last tweet from the project (@SFFlag) was in November of last year. Media coverage has also lapsed — with the exception of a Flag Day article posted last week by the real estate website Curbed: San Francisco’s flag: Should it be redesigned?

Continue reading “San Francisco Curbs Its Enthusiasm”

Rochester (Minnesota) Flag Project

The Rochester Flag Project, a community organization in Minnesota seeking to change the Rochester city flag, is soliciting designs at rochesterflag.com/contest.

Interestingly, they are hosting two rounds of design submissions this year — the first round ends August 18, and the second will run from October 16 to November 17. And each round will result in up to 6 contest winners: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes (with awards of $75, $50, and $25), one set based on evaluations of judges, and another on evaluations from a public survey.

Also noteworthy is the involvement of Lee Herold and his Rochester-based flag store Herold Flags (heroldflags.com) as sponsors of the project. This is not the first redesign effort Herold has been involved in — he is proposing the North Star Flag to replace the current Minnesota state flag. Herold also serves as Treasurer on the Executive Board of the North American Vexillological Association, NAVA.

Continue reading “Rochester (Minnesota) Flag Project”

Municipal Flag Improvement Update

We’re up to a total of 80 efforts to create or redesign US and Canadian flags of cities, towns, or other municipalities, as tracked on our Municipal Flag Improvement page. Many of these have been inspired by the TED Talk Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed by Roman Mars of the design podcast 99% Invisible (and Ted Kaye of NAVA and the PFA). That exploration of Good Flag, Bad Flag principles has been viewed over 2.8 million times since its release in May 2015.

Of these 80 efforts, 18 have resulted in new flags being officially adopted: Continue reading “Municipal Flag Improvement Update”

Code Switch on Flags

The Code Switch project at National Public Radio covers race, ethnicity, and culture in the US. Today, in honor of Flag Day in the US, they published two flag-related podcasts. (Well, published one and re-published another.) Here they are, for your vexillological listening pleasure.


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Demonstrators hold up a Pan-African flag to protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

On Flag Day, Remembering The Red, Black And Green

June 14, 2017 • The Pan-African flag, designed by Marcus Garvey in 1920, was intended as an expression of black liberation. It’s still used around the world.


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At a recent anti-Donald Trump protest in Anaheim, California, this couple said they saved the U.S. flag from a Trump supporter who was trying to get Latinos to trample it. Nervous about giving their full names, he said his was Anthony, and she said she was going by “America.” Photo: Adrian Florido/NPR

You’re A Grand Old Flag

July 6, 2016 • Why do some people of color embrace the American flag while others refuse to wave it? In this episode from the Code Switch archives, Gene Demby and Adrian Florido unpack the complicated patriotism and evolving use of the flag with immigrant rights protesters and Native American veterans.

Vexilloid Tabloid #64

Another edition of our colorful bimonthly newsletter, The Vexilloid Tabloid, is here! It features:

  • Capitols on Capital City Flags (Michael Orelove)
  • Redesigning the Oregon Flag (Liam Dubay)
  • Composable Alphabet Flags (Scott Mainwaring)
  • Portland Police Bureau Flag (Ted Kaye)

It also includes our regular sections:

  • The What’s That Flag? quiz
  • A flag quote (see below)
  • Roundup (news items)
  • Flutterings (highlights from our last meeting)
  • Portland Flag Miscellany (news about the Portland city flag)
  • Next Meeting directions (13 July at Ted Kaye’s house)

To subscribe to get on the email distribution list, to submit items for a future issue, or to otherwise let us know your thoughts, email editor@portlandflag.org. For back issues, visit our Vexilloid Tabloid page.

Remember: it’s free, and worth every penny!

 

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Face Flags of Washington, Part 3: Seattle

Seattle, like its encompassing county and state, is represented by a flag with its namesake’s face — in this case, that of the Suquamish Chief Si’ahl (anglicized as Seattle). Si’ahl lived from c. 1786 to 1866. One photograph of him survives (detail above), taken by  L.B. Franklin in 1864.

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Flag of Seattle, adopted 1990

The flag was ostensibly designed by Boeing engineer and Seattle councilman Paul Kraabel (1933-2016), and adopted by City Ordinance 28207 on 16 July 1990:

A RESOLUTION expressing the intent of the Mayor and City Council of Seattle, to celebrate the best of athletic achievement and artistic expression through the City’s sponsorship of the Goodwill Games and Goodwill Arts Festival, and declaring Seattle to be The City of Goodwill, and adopting a city flag.

The Goodwill Games were an international sports festival created by Ted Turner to promote cultural exchange between the Soviet Union and the US in reaction to the Olympic boycotts of the 1980s. 2,312 athletes from 34 countries competed in Seattle and other Washington cities in 1990, the first time the games were held in the US. Continue reading “Face Flags of Washington, Part 3: Seattle”

Face Flags of Washington, Part 2: King County

Washington state’s most populous county, King, also uses a flag with a face on it: a stylized portrait of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The flag was adopted in 2009 after over 20 years of efforts, lead by African American politicians and civil rights activists Ron Sims and Larry Gossett, to re-affiliate King County with Rev. King rather than its original namesake, US Vice President William Rufus Devane King.

It’s a fascinating story: Continue reading “Face Flags of Washington, Part 2: King County”

Face Flags of Washington, Part 1: State of Washington

The state flag of Washington stands out among its brethren:  not only is it uniquely green, it uniquely bears the likeness of an actual person.  People appear on many US state flags, but other than on Washington’s they stand for generic farmers, pioneers, etc. (Many believe the figures on Kentucky’s flag are Daniel Boone and Henry Clay, but this is unsanctioned by any official document.)

The flag of Washington state. Designed by a committee of the Daughters of the American Revolution, officially adopted 1923.

Just in case the viewer is unfamiliar with George Washington, the Daughters of the American Revolution in designing the flag have helpfully included the entire state seal, which identifies itself with a circular inscription: THE SEAL OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON 1889.  Alas, for the extremely literally minded, we are left with a flag that could be read as saying that it is a seal.

A Washington state seal.

Confused yet?  As a public service, we offer the following improvement:

Just to clear up any confusion.
Just to clear up any confusion.

Continue reading “Face Flags of Washington, Part 1: State of Washington”

Bellingham, Washington adopts a flag

After a little over a year in limbo, Brad Lockhart’s winning entry in the Downtown Bellingham Partnership’s flag contest has been officially adopted by the city council of Bellingham, Washington.

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Brad Lockhart holds the Bellingham flag he designed on a city rooftop at sunset. Photo by Tommy Calderon, published by The Bellingham Herald.
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Lockhart posing with the city council, in “this historic photo of the city’s first-ever flag”.  From the Bellingham City Council Facebook page.
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The symbolism of the design.

For more information about municipal flag improvement efforts in the US and Canada, see our Municipal Flag Improvement page.