Flag Flap

About a year or so ago, I wrote about our City’s flag and referenced a site that rates them. I was horrified to learn that Provo’s flag was one of the worst in the entire country.

After talking with a local vexillologist, we learned that a good flag needs to follow a few important principles –

  • Keep it so simple a child can draw it.
  • Use symbols unique to a city or area.
  • Limit colors to three that contrast well.
  • No lettering or seals on flags.
  • Make it distinctive from other flags.

Below are two flag designs that I think meet the outlined standards:

Option 1

Screenshot 2014-05-19 08.42.51

Option 2

Screenshot 2014-05-19 08.41.42

For those who have not been that close to this issue, you may not be able to appreciate the difficulty associated with it. It’s been sort of like the overall branding process we went through a few years ago (who knew that we had 115,000 logo experts in the city?). This is why some have asked, “Why not just put the new logo in the center of the flag?” A flag is really timeless and less trendy. Think of the Texas flag.

This has been hard also to balance wanting to run out there with something we feel good about while giving it enough solid association to Provo that we don’t have to explain it too much.

Provo Flag Symbolism

The two flag designs are cut into three sections. The bottom represents the lake, the middle is the mountain, and the upper is the sky.

The stars on the one flag represent the three distinct things that make Provo unique – our people, innovation, and quality of life.

Help us out by voting

While this is a city council decision, I’d like to engage you in helping with the process. Take the poll below and vote on which design you like the most and comment on what, if any, subtle change you’d like to see (emphasis on the word subtle).

Help us out by voting.

 

 

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  1. Jessica

    I think it would be more obvious if there were multiple mountain peaks. One point just doesn’t do it justice.

    1. Lauren

      agreed. it looks like a thorn.

  2. Scott Norton

    Looks like a flag from a banana republic

  3. Pete Hansen

    No option for Neither. Not a fan so far.

  4. Spencer Powell

    I can understand why you chose to go with green and blue, for the sky and land. But those shades do not work together. A lighter blue would be better. And if you must keep the green — which is far from a traditional “mountain” color — then it should be darker.

  5. Parker

    I don’t like either flag. Can we please reconsider the design with some alternatives?

  6. dougj

    Don’t prefer either option. Sorry.

  7. Harley

    what if the middle was brown, since the mountains are rarely green?

  8. Greg

    These don’t look like Provo. The symbolism doesn’t come through. In spite of the guidelines stated, I think it needs to say Provo on it.

  9. Michael

    My initial thought was that both look like modified African flags. I’m not a fan either so no vote from me.

  10. Matt

    Making a flag everyone (or even most) can agree on is an unenviable task. Thank you for taking up the challenge — you’re doing great!

    I don’t like either option 🙂

    You don’t need more opinions… but here they are anyway. How about one of these?

    http://picpaste.com/pics/Screen_shot_2014-05-19_at_4.14.01_PM-8WMT10wk.1400537820.png

    http://picpaste.com/pics/Screen_shot_2014-05-19_at_4.14.07_PM-jWGOGtYR.1400537867.png

    http://picpaste.com/pics/Screen_shot_2014-05-19_at_4.13.55_PM-QpVtu08v.1400537922.png

    1. Stuart

      I like the third choice the most be I would rather see the orange on the left side of the mountain signifying the ever increase of significance in technology and yet to be. With the orange on the right it looks like a constant downward fall.

    2. Michaelann

      Ooh, I like yours much better!

  11. Cynthia

    I think it needs three peaks and no stars. I didn’t think “mountain” when I saw it.

  12. Beau Sorensen

    The stars make it look banana republic-y, therefore I choose option 2.

  13. steve

    really really terrible design…. i’d contact http://www.leolasagna.com. They are local and WAY better at design than this

    1. Just a thought

      Better design? These flags suck for sure. However the link you provided was the worste design I’ve seen… Ever. Thanks for the laugh. Do we need a flag?

  14. Andrew Wilson

    I think both flags smell.

  15. Tom

    Do not like them.

  16. Louise

    Nothing about these flag designs says “Provo.” The guiding principles are fine, but your results stink.

    1. Jared C

      Ugly 1 or ugly 2. I think (and it seems like most agree) that both are unsightly and don’t convey the symbolism the city would like.

      1. John

        Jared – Check out my recent blog post. If you have a design, please send it in.

        -John

  17. Jen

    What about unifying by using the city brand? I think the best look would be putting the decorative O from the current city brand on a white background. You don’t have to use the lettering around the O since it’s discouraged. All suggestions would be met by doing this.

  18. Laurie

    I have to agree with everyone else. I did vote, but I’m not a real fan of the design. It doesn’t make me think of Provo at all when I look at it. I was born here and moved away when I was very young, then came back as an adult. The time I was away what I missed most was the mountains and the way they looked in the sunset. This doesn’t make me think of mountains – it’s just a weird pointy thing that means nothing. I agree with others – maybe change the colors and add more “mountain peaks?”

  19. kent moos

  20. kent moos

    Why not just use the Provo Logo? Blue Water Green Mountains Yellow sky.

    1. JOEL

      I agree that looks a lot better

    2. yes! exactly! That’s an awesome logo! Why can’t we have something that matches that identity more?

  21. KBA

    It reminds me of an EKG of someone that just flat lined.

    1. ahf

      That was exactly what my first thought was.

    2. doc

      Thank you. That encapsulated my subconscious thoughts. I’d say quit listening to design experts and think of the city you want to represent and its citizens.

    3. Jared C

      Same here. I work in a laboratory and the proposed flag options look like a set of data.

  22. GEORGIA HARDY

    In todays interview with Mayor Curtis there is the most beautiful logo on the glass door behind him that would be a perfect flag for Provo!! It has mountains and a bright sun and looks positively uplifting….why look any further…it’s right there in plain sight! That would be the best and perfect choice for our flag!

  23. Kevin

    Option One would be the best choice if you eliminated the bottom blue stripe.

  24. Sarah

    Either one is an improvement over the old version. I like the idea other people have suggested of doing three mountain peaks instead of three stars.

    Good luck on this decision! It’ll be impossible to please everyone, but seriously, almost anything is better than the old flag. (no offense to whoever designed the old one, it’s just outdated now)

  25. kb

    Please have a contest and let residents submit logo/flag options. I think we can do much better! I do not like these options.

  26. Ryan

    As a Provo resident, please don’t do this. The Provo logo on a white flag background is just fine. It might be against the rules, but it does keep things simple. I have never associated a flag with a city anyway.

  27. Kim Ostler

    These are both terrible. Please don’t choose either.

  28. MWJ

    I agree. Please add more than just one mountain peak.

  29. Brenden

    C: None of Ћ above.

  30. MKB

    What a waste of time and money. Just like having to replace street signs for a new design. Provo knows how to waste money. Both flag options look horrible.

  31. Matt

    like the overall design, but what is the point of the 3 stars? I do not like the stars, so cliche.

  32. Jessica w.

    I think the larger peak needs two smaller peaks on each side!

  33. JOEL

    The logo in the top left corner of this page would make a better flag.

  34. Melissa Franklin

    Sorry, but neither. I looked at some of the other designs people suggested and saw some great ones, still simple too. But I think these are both really awful. I had no idea it was a mountain until I read the description. I live in Springville now so maybe my votes doesn’t count as much…

  35. DFK

    I didn’t think mountains when I saw the peak. I just thought ‘huh?’ I loved the symbolism after it was described but I didn’t even get water, mountain, sky until I read the explanation. I love the idea of three mtn peaks. I think then it might look like mountains. Bonus if they’re brown! I grew up at the base of Y mtn and they are brown in my mind! Good luck.

  36. doug

    Just use the symbol from the city logo. Much more expressive than the hard-to-guess meaning of the two options above.

  37. Diane

    I agree with the majority of the above comments. The flag says nothing to say and depict “Provo”. The one peak definitely doesn’t remind me of our beautiful mountains. I think a little more fine tuning is called for. And why not put the word “Provo” on it. It means little without that. I really DISLIKE both of them.

  38. Stuart

    It’s sad, and very un-Provo-tic that the Mayor suggested for help from a foreign country to get the design of the flag. There are plenty of intelligent residents in Provo who can create a better design. Whether it passes or not I hope in a few years it’ll change.

  39. Michael again

    With the opinions expressed here so far, as well as on KSL.com, you would think that they would return to the drawing board ASAP. I would recommend posting an initial or primary citizens’ poll (Provo residents only) with a dozen options along with the selection criteria to consider and letting us narrow it down to a final three or four. Give city council a figurehead part to eliminate one. Then let us go to the online polls again and vote the most popular flag. Some PR and you have community support.

  40. BNM

    Like many who’ve left comments, I don’t like either proposed design — so I haven’t voted for either.

    Provo already has a “word-and-design” trademark — its brand is the stylized text and logo “O” at the upper left of this website. Why not use the existing Provo brand the city has already used and promoted? Everyone will recognize that it’s Provo’s flag — because it will say so. If you don’t want to break the “rule” about text, just use the existing logo on a field of white. Simple.

  41. Becks

    Disappointed in both design options.

  42. Erick

    Neither. We don’t need symbolism over substance. If you Mayor want to change the flag then pay for it out of your own pocket.

  43. Claudia

    I with agreement with everyone else. I care for either flag so I couldn’t vote for a favorite. I feel the colors clash and the mountain is to simple. It doen’t scream Provo.

  44. Rebekah

    I’m a fan.

  45. Cassidy

    I think we should use the Provo logo (inside the o) that actually looks like what you’re going for.

  46. Katie

    This really isn’t 2 options. It’s the same sneech but one has stars upon thars. Why bother asking people to vote if you aren’t really presenting an option. Also, do provoans think our flag is the worst in the country because why on earth do we care what other people think of our flag?

  47. Johnny York

    Wow – I hope they didn’t spend too much of our tax dollars and end up with this as our only choices? I think they need another design firm. I don’t like either, so I didn’t vote.

  48. Chall

    I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either. I love Provo. Please don’t choose one of these designs for your flag.

  49. Gabi Campbell

    While neither of these flags seem to represent provo, what with the lack of actual mountain/lake/sky look… option one seems a bit more.. creative. They actually added shapes. 😉

  50. Molly

    I like the colors but not the design. Looks like a foreign nation flag. Needs to look more like mountains. Please come up with some other options and ask us to vote again. Something needs to be designed that we would be proud to fly in front of our homes. Keep working on it!

  51. jim

    there must be better ideas than these

  52. NMB

    I agree with most others on this thread. I’m not a fan of it. Is there a reason why the bottom white line is thinner than the top? It looks like it was a mistake to me, not intentional. I would prefer to see three mountain peaks as well, but maybe that is too similar to the Deseret Book logo that represents the SLC temple. Even if you stick to just one peak you could have it mirrored on the bottom as if it were a reflection in the lake. ___/\___ and —\/—

  53. Garrett

    Whatever you do, don’t add any lettering to the flag. The vast majority of (good) flags have no lettering on them whatsoever, and Provo would be well served to follow that formula. As for adding multiple peaks… Well, there’s a reason vexillology dictates that keeping it simple is the way to go.

    These ideas proposed are okay. The colors are not as bad as everyone says, but perhaps tinkering with the shades will make it better.

  54. Karen

    Not a fan of either. I agree with KBA. My first reaction was it looked like an EKG. Colors are not my favorite. Would have liked to see more choices.

  55. Dallin

    I’d love to see a ‘Y’ on the mountain. That’s my favorite part of Provo.

  56. doc

    Don’t like these at all. Wow. This seems to be another “Life Elevated” idea we’ve gotten locked into. I’d urge another look

  57. Gina Johnson

    My first thought was of an EKG as well – Why dont we use the symbol that is the O in Provo on your blog, and on the doors of city hall. On a white background that would look very nice and I think represent Provo very well, without looking like a different countries flag.

  58. JT

    “Oh, what a beautiful city, I wonder what their city flag looks like!?!?”…Said NO ONE, EVER!! C’mon Mayor Curtis don’t you have more things to do than spending time on websites that rate city flags? I hope you aren’t wasting more of our taxpayer’s money to research this flag idea like you did with our city logo! Btw, both of these flag options are hideous!! I’m sure we will have a new tax added in Provo somehow to pay for an ugly flag that no one except the mayor gives a care about.

  59. This is so sharp and rigid. The fact that there is only one peak makes it painfully obvious. This isn’t a valley with a lone mountain. Why can’t 3 peaks (of different sizes for some interest) represent the 3 things that make provo unique instead of three stars? It seems like a missed opportunity by just putting one peak on there and then sticking three starts on the top. The stars (especially in yellow) make it look like clip art.

    “‘Why not just put the new logo in the center of the flag?’ A flag is really timeless and less trendy. Think of the Texas flag.” <— The current Provo City logo is more timeless than the proposed flag (Blue and green together is VERY trendy at the moment). Texas' flag works because of the color, the simple lines, the wonderful ratios, the contrast in the colors, the rhythm in the shapes, and the established visual recognition.

    The rules that the vexillologist are important and are roughly the same as when designing a log or identity. However, there is more to it than that. There are principles of design that help govern what makes a good design. There is no emphasis here – no dominance, lack of contrast to make it interesting. The Texas flag has these things and more.

    As much as I am against crowd-sourcing, I think you really should consider additional designs and let your city vote on them.

    1. Matt

      Very nice!

    2. Cassidy

      THIS one, I vote for THIS design!

    3. Dennis B

      I agree… This is much better than these other lame excuses.

    4. Thomas

      Your design is vastly better than the two options given by the city.

    5. NMB

      This one totally gets my vote. Way better and more representative of Provo. Good job!

    6. Kristen

      I like this one better. But again – the cost of doing this – hiring designers – as far away as EUROPE (really???? like we don’t have design people in Provo?) makes this sadly silly.

      1. John

        Kristen – No designers have been hired. Check out my new post and get me some of your ideas.

        -John

    7. Don Bugg

      Best I’ve seen! This gets my vote for sure

    8. Michaelann

      excellent!

  60. Jayson

    I don’t like ether flag. Why isn’t there an option for NONE in the poll. My guess is because it would be selected 9 out of 10 times. Please listen to the people of Provo. We don’t like the options and want something that better represents Provo. I like the Provo logo, why not use that image on the flag?

  61. Bevan

    Can we see more options. These two designs are virtually the same and are poorly conceived. There are many talented designers in the area who could design a first rate flag for Provo. I agree with other comments, these two options do look like something from a banana republic.

  62. Kris

    That is ridiculous Sharon

  63. C

    I honestly think both options look foreign and/or socialist and do no reflect the culture of Provo as a city. Please fire your designer and start with a blank slate. Provo makes great decisions and this is just not one of them.

  64. Andrea

    These are both truly hideous. Too geometric and pointy. They don’t remind me of anything, much less mountains, lake and sky. Provo needs to hire a reputable graphics artist and come up with something beautiful and inspiring. These two designs are neither.

  65. Karal F.

    Obviously Provo is saving money by having some city employee, or hipster intern to come up with this design. The city is not paying a real designer for those flags. Give them a break.

  66. Alan

    I’m not in love with it, but I do think it makes for a good flag and it’s the best idea I’ve seen for Provo’s flag (including from the amateur flag designers).

    As far as subtle changes: I like that the mountain is abstract, but it does seem a little too pointy to me. Maybe if it was more obtuse it would feel more like a mountain?
    Also, you point out the flag has three sections, but it really has five. It might be good to attached some symbolism to the white stripes. The first things that come to mind are the river and snow maybe? I dunno.
    I like the idea of the stars, but I’d rather them represent something concrete like a star for BYU, a star for Fort Utah, and a star for. . . something else. I also like the idea that someone else mentioned of having three peaks instead of stars.

  67. bob

    Looks like teepee on some European flag. I don’t see mountains or a lake. The whole thing is very drab. No vote here.

  68. Patrick

    I’m not loving either of these. None of them say “Provo” to me and they’re just too simplistic. You should try an open submission and gather lots of ideas from people around Provo.

  69. Janie

    Just use the logo on the glass door of the building…it’s everything everyone wants in all these comments and it’s right under our noses!

  70. Thomas

    Both look terrible. More triangles are needed to represent mountains, the colors don’t work well together, and the options are just drab. The city seriously needs to rethink the options.

  71. A flag for Provo would be fine;
    Two-tone color and plain line.
    All the comments I am reading
    Seem to me quite self-defeating.
    Why complain of fait accompli?
    It makes us look so bourgeoisie.
    Like the pioneers that settled
    Here in Provo, don’t be nettled.
    Choose an option, then stay mumchance;
    Don’t let others see our dumb stance!

  72. Gabe

    I think these designs could work if the shades of blue and green where a little different. When I first saw the designs I thought of African flags. I do not get the feel of Provo through them. Just a thought.

  73. Sam

    Last I checked Provo is not the only city that has a mountain, a lake, and a sky. Let’s think a little harder about what sets Provo apart form other places and try again.

  74. kirt

    I think it’s almost as bad as the one they’re trying to replace

  75. S Memmott

    I agree with the people saying it needs multiple mountain peaks. But especially I think the simplest thing would be to just rectangular up the circle in the Provo logo at the top of this page. I might add a mountain peak to that. But I think that says mountains, river, and sunrise and is still simple enough for a child to draw the gist of.

  76. S Memmott

    Yea Janie!

  77. I didn’t vote for either flag option, as both are depressing and don’t say “Provo” to me in any way, shape or form. Let’s just go with the city logo and be done with it, if we’re going to have a flag. I also think that the “Y” logo should be incorporated if we don’t go with the current city logo. Provo is far and away most famous for being the host city of the BYU.

  78. Tyce

    Both are horrible! Why not just use what Provo already has in play with their “logo”? You see it as an O in the name at the top of the page. Place that on a blue background, the word Provo along the bottom, and you’ve got it.

  79. GEORGIA HARDY

    Gina has it right…just what I was saying and wanting…it’s perfect…just put the PROVO blog sign with logo on a white background and you’ll have the U.S.’s most beautiful flag!

  80. Gina Johnson

    Thanks Georgia!

  81. The sky and lake colors need to be different.

    Leave the bottom color as it is and make the top be “sky blue”!

  82. leslie

    I like the design at the top of this page that actually has the word Provo in it and has a better drawing of mountains.

  83. Ana

    Neither. They are terrible.

  84. Jason

    I’m not sure that the vexilloligist rules necessarily apply to a city flag, like they do to a state or country flag. I don’t remember ever drawing my city flag growing up…

  85. jan

    a back drop of our mountains would be nice. one point doesn’t look right

  86. Ryan Gardner

    Dear Mr. Mayor: I appreciate your desire to have a flag that the community can support and rally around. That being said.. I think what needs to be on a flag is something that makes that city or community unique. I can think of 3 things that come immediately to mind when I think of Provo-
    1. Majestic Mountains
    2. Y- Mountain/BYU
    3. Pioneers.
    My only suggestion is to use more.. tame colors instead of the bold colors like green and bright blue. Be proud of what Provo represents, how it was founded, and what makes Provo special. I always feel a sense of “home” and “friendship” when I drive thru and interact with people from Provo, even though I grew up in Farmington and now reside in Colorado. God bless you for the work you are doing for the people of Provo and our prayers are with you.

    Ryan Gardner
    Littleton, Colorado

  87. Mary Allen

    I would use the new Provo logo. It is well-loved.

  88. Lynda Bingham

    I like using blue, but I would prefer the old “Cougar Blue”. (Not navy blue). BYU is an integral part of Provo. I agree that the flag needs more peaks, but I think they need to look like mountain peaks, not triangles, perhaps highlighting a “Y” on the mountains. I’m glad the color red is not on the flag as red does not represent Provo. I like the current Provo logo as well.

  89. Jane

    I love the current Provo City logo, but I think these two flag designs are unfortunately awful. I can’t vote for either. I’d love to see the current logo on the flag. Thanks for inviting opinions.

  90. These are both horrible.

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