Columbus, Ohio

So I’ve been ignoring badflags for a long time,  and a bunch of people have been telling me how lame that is, so after another hiatus, I’m back with something special. I live in Columbus, Ohio, and I really love this city. I love it so much that it’s a little hard to tell Columbus that its flag is terrible. But it really is. Not the worst I’ve seen, and not even in the bottom quintile of flags, but it’s just plain ugly. So with the inevitable takedown, I’ve offered a suggestion for a new, much better flag.

The current flag of Columbus is not quite a travesty, but it’s pretty bad. It’s a fairly boring tricolor with a ton of crap in the middle. The Santa Maria in in there, inside an American shield, a semi circle of some plants and a semi circle of stars surround an eagle holding the American flag on supporting what looks like the rotunda of the Statehouse. That’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t really mean anything!

This actually brings up an interesting point: The American flag is idenitfible within the Columbus flag. There’s no way the Columbus flag would be identifiable within some other flag. (Perhaps Beechwold has its own flag and includes the Columbus flag inside of it, with the American flag inside the Columbus flag.) That’s not good.

“Columbus, Ohio,” is spelled out in a gothic font, no doubt a nod to the German heritage of some Columbusites. I always think writing on flags is a bad idea. Flags should be understood through symbols, they shouldn’t need explanation. But if a flag has to have writing, I think a sans serif font is best of legibility from a distance.

Here’s my design for a new Columbus flag.

A tricolor is a very traditional basis for a flag. Using non-primary colors pulls this design out of the 18th century and into the modern era while still retaining a classic background, just in the way that Columbus is modern city built on the traditions of the past.

The grey field represents techonology. The blue field represents our bountiful water resources. The green field represents the verdant patches of our city, our agricultural heritage and our commitment to the green movement.

I struggled for a while about what to put at the center of the flag – Columbus doesn’t have a single defining icon. To me, Columbus is a city in which the good life is accesible to a lot of people. Our cost of living is low. Our quality of life is high. There are still opportunties for people who work hard, and people can create their own opportunities as well. Nothing speaks to the idea of a sweet life and affordable luxuries better than ice cream. And we happen to be a mecca of great ice cream, to boot. And ice cream is never going out of style. Ever. This flag is unique and identifiable.  And also, the triangle is the strongest shape. So there you go.

10 responses to “Columbus, Ohio

  1. Yay – a new entry!
    I think the yellow-white-red tricolor is actually quite eye-catching – but you’re spot on about the crap in the middle.
    The proposed new flag is pretty neat – nice use of non-traditional colors. Of course, no city fathers would approve an ice cream cone, though (pity).

  2. Happy Flag Day!

  3. Wouldn’t an obvious symbol of Columbus, Ohio be…you know…something to do with Christopher Columbus? Canting arms and flags are always fun. Although I’ll admit that finding a good, simple symbol for Columbus would be hard, so perhaps ice cream is a better way to go.

    • Christopher Columbus never came within 1500 miles of Columbus, Ohio, and beside the name of the city and a few statues, our ties with the Genovese sailor are not strong.

  4. kevin Harrington

    No Columbus icon? indeed, how about using the explorer’s name in translation. It is ‘dove’, as in the Italian song title ‘Vola, Colomba bianca, vola’ (Fly away, my dove, fly on). It’s a sign of peace and new beginnings.

  5. I agree that writing on a flag is a bad idea…so much so that I really don’t think that it ever should be done. The same is for a map outline…seen in a few national flags. The reason is that seen in the obverse the word or map is meaningless.

    I’m also kinda old school and the colors used in your new flag aren’t standard vexillological colors.

  6. I scream, you scream, we all scream for Columbus, Ohio?!?!?!?!?

  7. Ice cream design is awesome. My vote is on that one.

  8. Huh! So ugly … What if you don’t like ice cream? They actually are so disgusting to a lot of us.
    And the color representing the technology is not grey, but blue.
    And do you know that your ice cream sitting next to your green (pretending to represent the “green movement”… but could represent islam or anything else as well) is kinda paradoxal because making an ice cream is all but green.
    This design is ugly and very gay.

  9. (and btw, what about the accordance between colors …?)

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