A New Flag for Coral Springs, Florida

Congratulations to Dale Williams, winner of the Coral Springs flag design contest! This flag replaces a previous flag featuring the city seal:

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The city received 80 submissions to the contest and narrowed the field to these six finalists: Continue reading “A New Flag for Coral Springs, Florida”

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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”

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”

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.

Laconian Vexillonaires Struggle Against Inertia

New Hampshire Public Radio reports that city-council supported efforts to find a new flag for the city — the existing monstrosity is pictured above — have run into a roadblock in the form of councilmember Brenda Baer and her bad-design-blind colleagues:

“Why are we changing it, what is so wrong with our present flag?” asked Brenda Baer, who represents Laconia’s Ward 4. She voted against selecting a new design.

“There wasn’t one submission that had anything or said anything about Laconia, whatsoever,” Baer said. “There was no relationship in any of them, to the city.”

Baer says she doesn’t buy the idea that Laconia would somehow suddenly rally together under a new flag.

Vexillonaire Bree Henderson is vowing to continue pushing for action.  The redesign process has gotten as far as six finalists (see below) — so near, but so far.

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Bree Henderson

NHPR is conducting a poll to gather public feedback on the designs.  To vote, scroll to the bottom of: nhpr.org/post/after-crowdsourcing-new-options-laconia-will-keep-its-old-flag-thank-you-very-much

Flag Change in Columbia, South Carolina

by Ted Kaye

Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina, could really use a change of topic when it comes to flags.

As the focal point for display of the Confederate Battle Flag in the South, the city hosted a turning point in the fractious debate, with the removal of the flag from the Confederate Monument in front of the capitol, in July 2015, by order of Governor Nikki Haley.

Calls for the flag’s removal had intensified since the murder of nine people in the Charleston church shooting the month before.

The flag had flown from a pole next to the monument, surrounded by a concrete deck and a small fence.  Within a day of the decision to remove it, all of that was gone and sod was being laid in its place.

The most visible event associated with the flag was its lowering two weeks before as an act of civil disobedience by a young African-American filmmaker, Brittany Ann “Bree” Newsome, whose pole-climb went viral and won praise from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

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Activist Bree Newsome capturing the Confederate flag on the SC state house grounds, as interpreted by Rebecca Cohen. [Museum May/June 2016]
I visited Columbia in 2009 in conjunction with NAVA 43 (Charleston), and then again this year.  That provided an opportunity to see the monument before (with flag) and after (without flag).

The Columbia Design League and the local arts-commission equivalent had invited me in September to speak about flag design and how the city flag might be improved.

Columbia’s flag has served the city for more than a century, but it represents a bygone era (corn and cotton) with an outdated, ineffective design (a seal on a bedsheet).

Local leaders have begun an effort to consider updating the flag as part of reclaiming civic pride and improving the branding of the city.  A large group came together at the Columbia Museum of Art for a workshop to learn about flag design and discuss ideas for change.

Perhaps this new flag topic will bring positive attention to Columbia.  It may well show how flags are far more than designs on bits of cloth, and can serve a community as a unifying symbol.

 

Voting Ends 8/8 for Albany Flag Contest

In June we announced the launch of a process to find a flag for Albany, Oregon initiated by our fellow Oregonians at GUAVA (Greater Unified Albany Vexillological Association). Five finalists have been chosen and the public has been rating each on a scale of 0 (low) to 10 (high) at cityofalbany.net/flag.  This phase ends this Monday (8 August), so if you want to weigh in on the five contenders and haven’t yet, please do so soon!

Here renditions by graphic designer Steve Kodis (of People’s Flag of Milwaukee fame)  of what the flag designs would look like in flight, along with the “artist’s statement” for each.


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The two green triangles represent Agriculture and Timber, their combined shape is a tree which represents Albany’s status as a tree city. The two blue stripes represent the Calapooia and Willamette rivers. The gray background represents rare metals and roads.


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The triangle wedge on the hoist symbolizes the three names Albany has been called: Takena, New Albany and Albany, with the color green representing the nature and agriculture of Albany.

The 12 pointed star within a circle represents both how the 12 neighborhoods of Albany come together as one community, but it creates 12 white arrows that look inwards towards Albany for guidance as county seat and the Hub City.

The purple stripe is a symbol of Albany’s uniqueness as no current country or American state flag uses purple.

The blue stripe is a symbol of the Willamette River, upon which Albany was founded, and provided the bulk of Albany’s economy during the early years.

The grey stripe is the symbol of Albany being the rare metals capital of the world, upon which much of the current economy is based. The gray stripe also enforces Albany’s uniqueness, as it is a color used rarely in country and American state flags.


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Title, ‘Confluence and Crossroads.’ The blue portions represent the confluence of the Calapooia and Willamette rivers. The gray portion represents Interstate 5 and Hwy 20 intersecting, a nod to our Hub City nickname; the gray is also representative of our metal industry. The green portion represents our agriculture, timber, and Tree City designation. The overall design forms an A representing Albany as well.


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This flag has a Northwest color scheme of green, blue and black.

Green symbolized Albany’s place as the grass seed capital and its emerging filbert tree market.

Blue symbolizes the importance of the Willamette River and Calapoolia River in their role in establishing Albany and Kalapuya Tribe.

Black represents metal because Albany is the “rare metals capital of the world.”

The white bridge give this flag a landmark and ties in with other symbols currently in use throughout Albany.

The angle at the front of the flag symbolizes Albany’s location within the valley and looks like the slope of a roof of one of Albany’s many historic homes.


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Drawing inspiration from the flag of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, in which the Kalapuya tribe was associated, this design silhouettes our city’s background. Using the colors yellow, reflecting wheat or grain, and blue, resembling our Willamette River, the logo is placed on a green background that represents the forests our state is known for.