See 13 City Flags Get A Modern, Minimalist Makeover

Throughout history, flags have been a powerful symbol. Their meaning and history are so significant there’s an entire field of study dedicated to them (aka vexillology—say that five times fast).

Flags are also an important visual communication tool. A well-designed flag can portray a country’s heritage, a state’s history, or a community’s culture. That’s the true power of design: to tell a story with just a few visual elements. If that’s not a challenge, we don’t know what is.

Flag Redesign Challenge

While the creative minds at our parent company Column Five love designing infographics, interactives, and other types of visual content, their designers love to flex their muscles in other ways, whether it’s experimenting with hand-lettering or papercraft. From time to time, they’ll give themselves a little challenge to keep them on our toes.

For that reason Column Five Creative Director Nate Butler recently had their team try their hand at creative flag redesigns—but not just any flags. Column Five’s NYC and Orange County designers were challenged to redesign local city flags to celebrate the cities they live and work in.

Of course, it’s not a challenge without a few rules. The assignment was to redesign according to the following guidelines:

  1. Keep it simple: The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory.
  2. Use meaningful symbolism: The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
  3. Use 2-3 basic colors: Limit the number of colors on the flag to three that contrast well.
  4. Don’t use lettering or seals: No writing of any kind or direct copying of the organization’s seal.
  5. Be distinctive or be related: Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections or relationships.

They’re happy to finally get to share the results of their work with you. Here are the designers’ 13 flag redesigns, along with their thoughts on what inspired each design.

Flag Redesign: Bronx

Flag Redesign: Brooklyn

Flag Redesign: Manhattan

Flag Redesign: Staten Island

Flag Redesign: Queens

Flag Redesign: Dana Point

Flag Redesign: Fountain Valley

Flag Redesign: Huntington Beach

Flag Redesign: Irvine

Flag Redesign: Newport Beach

Flag Redesign: San Juan Capistrano

Flag Redesign: Santa Ana

Flag Redesign: Tustin

We are so grateful for their team’s interest, passion, creativity, and willingness to experiment during this flag redesign challenge. We can’t wait to show you the results of their next design challenge. In the meantime, take a look at some of our favorite previous projects:

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