The City of Columbia set out to adopt a new, official city flag, to be designed by its citizens.
In 1988, a flag was created using the city logo in order to hold a flag exchange ceremony with representatives from Mattō, Japan, now part of Hakusan, one of Columbia’s sister cities. Since then, the flag has been used at other official events and was displayed in the old Council Chambers. Our ambition is to have a flag that proudly represents our city, is used in an official capacity, and flies outside city buildings and throughout Columbia.
The Office of Cultural Affairs administered the contest. We offered citizens an opportunity to create a lasting symbol for the city that captures the history, beauty, and uniqueness of our community. The contest was open to everyone, from amateurs to professional graphic designers.
Applicants were asked to consider elements of a good flag design. Materials were provided from the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA), an organization dedicated to the study of flags and their cultural, historical, political, and social significance.
NAVA’s Five Basic Principles of Flag Design
1. Keep it simple
2. Use meaningful symbolism
3. Use 2-3 Basic Colors (in our guidelines we restricted to 5 colors)
4. No lettering or seals (in our guidelines, using the city logo or city seal was optional)
5. Be distinctive
September 15, 2014: First announcement of contest to the public.
November 14, 2014: Deadline for design submissions.
November 18 – December 18, 2014: Public voting period on Columbia Daily Tribune website and in person at City Hall.
January 2015: Commission on Cultural Affairs and OCA Staff reviewed entries and chose finalists.
September 2015: City Council reviewed finalists, selecting its top three.
October 2015: Public comment open for top three finalists.
The public is invited to comment on its favorite of the top three finalists, as chosen by City Council. After a public comment period, City Council will evaluate the feedback from citizens and make a final recommendation on the flag with official action at a future Council meeting.
View designs ideas (below) and read descriptions of the top three finalists in the contest. All follow the rules of good flags, convey strong symbolism, and are easy to recreate. Please review each design idea and leave a comment.