Burlington City Arts

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Flag Redesign FAQs

Who decided to change our city flag?

The Burlington City Council unanimously approved the creation of a new flag in January 2017. Burlington City Arts (BCA) was instructed to develop a process and present it to the Council for approval. In March 2017, BCA presented a process and timeline for the creation of a new flag as follows, which was approved by the City Council:

  • Announce media campaign to redesign city flag.
  • Select a coordinator to manage this design competition.
  • Develop guidelines for flag design submissions & reach out to North American Vexillological Association.  
  • Develop & implement community outreach plan.
  • Create timeline for digital submissions, finalist selection, and voting.
  • Create a panel of 5-7 judges from the community.
  • Final designs presented for public vote.
  • Finalist determined in November & adopted by City Council.
  • Order Flags from local vendor.
  • Flag raising ceremony at First Night 2017.

Who selected the finalists?

BCA convened a committee of community volunteers, including educators, graphic artists, students in high school and college, government officials, and business owners. Led by Edward “Ted” Kaye, the author of Good Flag Bad Flag and a leading authority on flag design, the committee selected seven flag design finalists for the voting phase. Over 138 designs were submitted. The committee reviewed each design and artist's statement on an anonymous basis. All submissions were evaluated based on the "Five Basic Principles of Flag Design" (see below for more information) and the submission requirements.

What’s a good flag design?

The North American Vexillological Association published a report on flag design. Click here to read it. You can also check out Edward “Ted” Kaye’s publication Good Flag, Bad Flag. Click here to read it. There’s also a great Ted Talk on flags. Click here to watch it.

All residents who submitted a design had to follow the five basic principles of flag design. They are:

  1. Keep it Simple: A flag should be so simple that a child could draw it from memory.
  2. Use Meaningful Symbolism
  3. Use Two to Three Basic Colors
  4. No Lettering or Seals
  5. Be Distinctive or Be Related

How much does it cost to change our flag?

The City allocated $6,000 in the General Fund for the flag project. The flag contest has used staff resources at Burlington City Arts and will incur the cost of producing three flags for City Hall and the winner of the competition, and the winner will receive a $250 honorarium. The city will not produce flags for commercial use. The final flag will be open-source so that residents can use the design and show off their Burlington pride.

Why didn’t the City hire someone to design a flag?

Like many similar flag processes nationwide, this process was geared to invoke broad citizen engagement. The flag is intended to represent everyone who lives in Burlington, and residents of all ages and backgrounds were encouraged to submit a design and then vote for the final flag design. Many designs were submitted by students, and teachers used this process as an opportunity to teach Burlington history, symbolism, design and technology.