The contest being run by the Bangor Daily News to propose a new flag for Portland, Maine is asking for your feedback on 10 semifinalist designs no later than this Sunday, 15 May. Here are the 10 semifinalists – with the designers’ statements and brief notes by Ted Kaye in the captions.
North Star Pennant” by Nicolas Roose Designer’s comments: One is the flag of the Isle of Portland (England), the place that Portland-ME was named for. It has two horizontal bands of green & blue on the fly side and on the hoist side a vertical band of ‘limestone’, with a white tower and a crown on it. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Portland
The other flag is the original flag of Maine that was used until the current flag was adopted in 1909. It consisted of a green pine tree in the center and a blue North Star on a buff-colored background. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Maine
For this new Portland-ME flag design, I charged the green & blue horizontal bands from the first flag with a buff-colored pennant-shaped triangle containing the blue North Star from the second flag. The result is a flag that is easily recognizable from afar. An 1 x 1.67 inch scaled image of the flag will prove that. The design is simple enough for a child to draw from memory. The number of colors is limited to three. Green is for the mainland, the woods in particular, as Portland is known as the Forest City. Blue is for the ocean, to which Portland Harbor serves as a major gateway. The buff color refers to the buff background of the original Maine flag and adds the necessary contrast between blue and green. The main element of the flag is the North Star. It is the mariner’s guide in conducting his ship over the ocean to his haven and therefore it became the symbol of the state’s motto: Dirigo (I lead). As the largest city of Maine, Portland has a leading role in the state’s economy. That is why I gave the North Star such a predominant position on the flag. Placing it on a pennant-shaped triangle also reflects the maritime heritage of the city. “It is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken It is the star to every wandering bark Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken” (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116) The design of the flag is distinctive as it does not duplicate any other flag, not even with alternate colors (as far as I know). It relates both to its English namesake and to the state of Maine and replaces the lettering and seal of the current flag with meaningful symbolism. In short, this is the kind of flag that might just make certain people of Portland-OR jealous, even while their own flag is already highly rated in the world of vexillology. In conclusion, I named my undeniably rectangular flag ‘The North Star Pennant.’ This pays homage to my fellow countryman René Magritte and his Treachery of Images: ‘Ceci n’est pas un pennon’. Yes, I admit, I’m from Belgium. Judge Ted Kaye’s comments: The colors and shapes in this design carry great overlapping meaning, and its overall “look” just shouts “nautical” — appropriate for Portland.
“Portland Flag” by Megan Young Designer’s comments: The design of this flag is to represent events, and land surrounding Portland, Maine. The Blue background represents the water that Portland is surrounded by. The Yellow Stripe, and white buoys across the flag represent the city wealth of fishing, and making money off the water. The buoys are white for purity. Finally the 4 red stars on the four white buoys represent the four times Portland was burned to ground. I thought this was a simple design that has all the elements for city on the water with historic meaning as well. Contest judge Ted Kaye’s comments: The four buoys effectively impart the maritime heritage of Portland and the symbolism of “four” in an effective, recognizable image.
“Sunny Bird” by Natalia Lefebvre Designer’s comments: I’ve been living in Portland for about 2 years now attending Maine College of Art. I have to get up early every morning for school. On my way walking to my school I see the beautiful sun shining between the buildings of Portland. I also hear seagulls throughout the day. The view of the sun is like no other that I’ve experienced. I think it represents Portland very well. Seagulls don’t live everywhere in the world but they definitely live in Portland. I guess when I designed this flag I wanted to represent Portland the way an outsider see it. What I’ve noticed that’s unlike anywhere else. This is what I see. Judge Ted Kaye’s comments: While all port cities have seagulls, this simple and effective imagery creates a successful design.
“The Buoy” by Laura Clapp Designer’s comments: I decided to design a lobster buoy representing the lobster industries that are so popular in Portland. The sun is rising in the background because we see the sun rise on the east coast here. The blue represents the water, as well as the sky because of the beautiful weather here when spring and summer come around. The green represents the seaweed in the ocean. Overall I wanted to capture the element of serenity that the ocean provides, as well as the calm of the sunrise early in the morning. The colors of the buoy are bright and fun because Portland is such a fun place to be in. The red represents the brick historical buildings seen all over Portland. Not only is Portland right by the ocean but the downtown area is quaint and cheerful and there are so many different people here. Portland is a town loved by many people and I tried by best to capture the fun, calm, and beautiful aspects of it. Judge Ted Kaye’s comments: This whimsical design would counter the stiff formality of the state flag.
“Portland: The Phoenix Rising” by Kirk Simpson Designer’s comments: This four-color design utilizes form and shape. The phoenix form shares its form as pine trees as well utilizing a blue bar on the bottom for water with the rising phoenix and sun with reflection on the water of the bay. Judge Ted Kaye’s comments: This version of a phoenix, with tremendous meaning for fire-ravaged Portland, is far better than San Francisco’s and rivals Phoenix, Arizona’s.
“Portland Beacon” by Matthew Morey Designer’s comments: The purpose behind this design for the flag of Portland is to display a beacon of pride in being a Portlander and a beacon of welcome to all others, just as the lighthouses of Portland welcome ships into its harbor. The lighthouse also represents Portland’s rich history in the maritime industries which helped Portland become the diverse, ever-growing city it is today. The goal was to accomplish all this with simple and dynamic use of shapes and a reference to the original blue and gold color scheme of the current flag. Judge Ted Kaye’s comments: An outstanding rendition of a lighthouse—not a particular site but an allegory for Portland as a beacon—makes for a stunning design.
“Portland Liberty” by Jeremy Hammond Designer’s comments: This flag is includes popular Portland symbolism and is also designed to fly well with the American flag. Judge Ted Kaye’s comments: This simple, conservative design could represent a state or even a country—the anchor is a great symbol.
“Guiding Flag of Portland, Maine” by Vince Facchiano Designer’s comments: The number of colors (three) represent the past, present and future of the city. The flag is horizontally symmetrical, so there is never a concern that the flag could be mistakenly flown upside-down. Also it will still look appropriate when flown/display vertically (long-ways top to bottom) or on an angled pole. The blue triangle provides a nautical theme as if it was a pennant, but actually represents the peninsula of land that Portland was originally settled on and occupies. The two golden yellow triangles point inward, towards Portland together representing the rising sun, and separately the Atlantic Ocean (top) and the more immediate river, cove/harbor, and bay that surround Portland (bottom). The golden yellow represents the water, a main stay of industry and wealth providing abundance and transportation. The medium, lighter color blue presents the land of Portland and its strength and history (the past), which the city is tied to. It points outward to the golden yellow (the future) and brightness of the sun and sunrise. The lighter shade blue is lighter because it is a mix of the dark blue from the waters of Portland and the lighter blue of heavens and sunlit sky, and Portland is where the two meet and combine. It also brings in the blue of the Union or starfield/canton of the U.S. flag and field of the Maine flag, but is lighter because Portland is city within the two and obtains its full strength from the two. The single ship’s wheel is Portland itself; representing strength, guidance, control, and power as a city itself and within Maine, the region, and the United States. It has eight handles representing the four cardinal directions and the four equal divisions; NW, NE, SW, SE, providing a steady, reliable port and home for all those who come to her. Together, they are a constellation in the heavens provide guidance. Colors are white, “Royal Blue” PMS 286 and “Golden Yellow” PMS 1235, both stock nylon colors for easy manufacturing in both sewn and dyed flag production. Judge Ted Kaye’s comments: While the white band may not stand out well against the yellow, the multi-part symbolism of the ship’s wheel and stars carries important meaning.
“Jewel of Casco Bay” by Jeff Woodbury Designer’s comments: Green for Forest City. Blue for Casco Bay. The zigzag echoes waves on a rocky coast. Portland is the central point: the peninsula in the center, pointing to the stars. Indents above and below center represent the Fore and Presumpscot Rivers. 12 stars shine for the 12 major islands of Casco Bay. Each 4-pointed star is a compass rose, symbolizing both direction and the individuality of Mainers. The stars in a grid combine to weave the warp and weft of lobster traps and sailcloth. Turned on its end, green side down, the constellations illuminate forested mountains. Green side up, and ships rest safely at anchor. Uncomplicated, but not simplistic. A flag for Portland. Judge Ted Kaye’s comments: It’s refreshing to see the division of a flag’s field hold meaning—in this case the serrated line representing the division of coast and sea. The four-pointed stars for islands create an effective pattern.
“Resurgam Flag 2” by Jeremy Hammond Designer’s comments: Blue and gold represent the sea and prosperity and provide continuity with the current Portland flag. In true heraldic form, the image of several overlapping anchors depicts a busy port. The number of anchors was chosen to honor the four fires the city has survived and in visual form to exclaim the city’s motto, Resurgam. Contest judge Ted Kaye’s comments: This stand-out design combines two symbolic themes—the nautical history of Portland and its four fires—in a striking, effective, and recognizable image. I would be proud to live under this flag.
The three most highly rated flags will go on to the final round of voting, which closes Friday, 27 May. The winning designer will receive a $300 prize.