DC’s two-bar, three-star flag recently acquired some props because that being distinguishable while additionally having a classic, simple look. A well-designed flag can serve as a rallying allude for civic engagement. Our region bears some good flags, together with some that leave other to be desired.


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Photo by Mr.TinDC top top Flickr.

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The prayer came from roman Mars, a significant radio hold who covers architecture issues, in a recent TED Talk.You don’t should look hard to clues DC’s flag roughly town. The flag is on display screen in numerous storefronts, and it has actually been a clear symbol that city campaigns for statehood. And also for how plenty of cities would a misrepresentation that its banner be a scandal, as was the case this fall when the sheathe of DC’s voter registration guide presented the flag upside down?

Many might question even if it is a flag misprint important compares through all the other difficulties facing America’s cities. The point, though, is the if world are acquisition pride in their city’s flag, it’s an ext likely that they’ll connect meaningfully with issues like transit, green space and signage.

Here’s what renders a good flag

So what renders DC’s flag so great?There’s a totality group of flag enthusiasts prepared to define flag design. According to flag expert Ted Kaye, over there are five general ingredient for creating a great flag:

keep it simple: The flag must be so basic that a boy can attract it native memory.Use systematic symbolism: “The flag’s images, colors, or patterns need to relate come what the symbolizes.Use 2 or three simple colors: limit the number of colors top top the flag to three, which comparison well and come from the standard color set.No lettering or seals: never use creating of any kind of kind or one organization’s seal.Be distinctive or be related: stop duplicating various other flags, however use similarities to display connections.

Some of our region’s flags fulfill the bar. Others, no so much

Given those principles, it’s straightforward to watch why Washingtonians love their flag. (As far as the symbolism part is concerned, DCers can be interested to understand that the red stars and also bars are obtained directly indigenous George Washington’s family members coat of arms.)

The exact same ideas also explain why Marylanders love to flash your state flag, a pattern pulled from the cloak of arms surrounding Cecilius Calvert, Maryland’s founder. The flag is a renowned pattern on neighborhood clothing, and can regularly be watched waving native the hands of pan at Orioles games. In fact, a 2001 inspection by the nationwide American Vexillological (i.e. Flag) association ranked Maryland’s flag 4th best of all state and provincial flags ~ above the continent. (DC ranked 8th.)


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Photo by Missy Corley on Flickr.
Unfortunately flag specialists can’t offer the very same praise for Virginia’s flag, i m sorry ranked 54 the end of 72 on the Vexillological Association’s list. Check VA’s flag against Ted Kaye’s principles, and it’s clean why the flag ranked for this reason low: the complicated seal, no focused selection of colors, and the truth that the flag bypasses all symbolism by literally writing out “Virginia.”


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Image from Wikipedia Commons.
How do other city flags in the region fare? Chalk Annandale’s and also Rockville’s flags in the thumbs-up category. Because that flags that could use part love, take into consideration Fairfax and also Bowie. And also while plenty of county flags in the an ar settle for facility seals slapped ~ above a rectangle, the Montgomery ar flag sticks out nicely.

In situation you’re wonder if only federal governments with coats the arms deserve to claim good flags, examine out Chicago’s, the lead instance in Mars’ TED Talk. The blue bars stand for the regional bodies the water such as Lake Michigan, while the red stars and their points signify different facets of the city’s history.


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Photo by WBEZ top top Flickr.
And for cities whose flags miss out on the design principles, Mars urges you to show your love for her city anyway and brandish that is flag. Or far better yet, begin a motion to style a new one.

You have the right to search for her city or county flag here.

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Tagged: bowie, dc, fairfax, maryland, montgomery, montgomery county, prince george"s county, virginia
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Brian Johnson moved to DC in 2015 and also wonders why that didn’t relocate sooner. During the work he is a campaigner through Greenpeace.