Category Archives: North America

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.


Greene County, Virginia

Yes, another Greene County, another bad flag. If I had to pick, though, I”d say this one is about three times as bad as Greene County, Ohio. I get the green part. It’s the County of Greene – see what they did there?  The rest of the flag is a bit of a puzzle. Spotswood? Golden Horseshoe? 1717 and 1838? The only thing I can think of is that county officials designed this flag on the back of a cocktail napkin after a long night of slugging bourbon at the Blue Ridge Cafe in Ruckersville. The county board of supervisors were particularly wasted, and could barely open their eyes, let alone form words when they started mumbling partially hallucinated random numbers and words. How else could you come up with “Spotswood,” and “Golden Horseshoe,” (and not even make the horseshoe on the flag gold?) Thank God the county’s graphic designer left off the suggestion of “Mouse Tits,” from at-large Administrator Carl Schmitt. Too embarassed to admit their overindulgence the next day, the board of supervisors unanimously voted to approve the flag.

Greene County, Ohio

Greene County, Ohio

Bullitt County, Kentucky

Bullit Co. Kentucky

Let’s just say it: the crossed muskets front and center really make me think the name of this county is Bullet, but the flag designer misspelled it because he or she is from Kentucky.  It’s not very nice of me to revert to a yokel stereotype, but I’m sure 90% of readers would agree. First impressions are a bitch.

Once we get past that, the symbolism is kinda janky. The white background represents salt, which was an important natural resource in Bullitt County 200 years ago. The green in the text represents the fertile land and prolific game from 200 years ago. The muskets represent the fact that 200 years ago, people shot other people a bunch to get their land. The 20 stars refer to Bullitt being the 20th county in Kentucky (in 1796, naturally.)

Abaco Independence Movement (Bahamas)

Abaco Island Independence Movement

Abaco Island Independence Movement

 At first, I thought this was the flag of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, if the Tower were inhabited by a cult of barbers, and moved to bizarro Macedonia. Then I thought it was a panel from a very boring architecture-focused comic. But then I realized that it’s the flag of a separatist movement that sought to split from the Bahamas in the 1970s. Naturally.

The members of the Abaco Independence Movement were concerned that the newly independent Bahamas would become another Caribbean socialist paradise that would frown on the largely American expatriate Abaco islanders’ penchant for arms smuggling. In a bout of characteristic stiff upperlippedness, the British refused the Abacoan request for partition, and the movement largely faded away into obscurity. Until their flag was revealed to be a terror worse than any shipping container of AK47s that may or may not have been delivered to El Salvador in 1975.

Martha Stewart enojys the waters of Abaco.

Martha Stewart enojys the waters of Abaco.

Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana

Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana

Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana

I believe this flag represents loggorhea. Oh wait – no. It’s Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. But it sure is chatty!

Avoyelles Parish is located in east-central Louisiana, right near the border with Mississippi. It’s named for the Avoyel Indian tribe, and was settled by French immigrants in the late 1700s. Not to be confused with the Cajuns (who came to southern Louisiana from Nova Scotia, the Francophone settlers of Avoyelles were Creole, but the culture there is quite similar to the Cajun culture found further south. So there you go, a story told in far more words than it was worth.

Aside from being the most verbiose flag I have yet encountered, the symbolism on this flag is atrocious. The map of the parish is unnecessary. With just the text, one can be quite sure this flag represents Avoyelles Parish. Plus, the shape of Avoyelles Parish is a little too similar to the Quebecois portion of the Canadian Shield. The other imagery is not spectacular. Three geese, two of which look like they’re too plump to fly horizontally. Everywhere has geese. I can see five geese right now. A cypress tree – makes me think of scary swamps where gators attack fanboats. And a plow. Oh – I think it symbolizes agriculture. At first glance, I thought it was a jet ski – which would have been much better. Also, the color pallete (a classic red, white and blue) is muddled by that unappealing Dijon shade.

Ignoring the 54 words of text around the edges, the large words in the middle are redundant. Translated, it means, “Avoyelles Parish – Welcome to Avoyelles.” Maybe that’s their slogan. Original. I do have to say, though that some of the towns of Avoyelles have names you don’t hear every day. I like Egg Bend, Cocoville, Rexmere and Bunkie; but Fifth Ward doesn’t do anything for me.

Avoyelles needs a copy editor to fix this flag. I’ll allow them a word count of five. Eliminate that map, and revamp the symbols.

Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana

This flag commemorates the moment when 1971 Gary-native Michael Jackson time traveled to shake the hand of 2006 Bahrain-native Michael Jackson.