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San Francisco's flag: Should it be redesigned?

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In honor of National Flag Day, reconsider the phoenix emblazoned banner

Chided as neither the prettiest nor sleekest U.S. city flag (arguably, those honors go to Portland and Chicago, respectively), San Francisco’s flag breaks all the rules, and not in a good way.

The flag, which depicts a phoenix rising above the Latin phrase “oro en Paz, Fierro en Guerra" (Gold in Peace, Iron in War) and the city’s name, was created sometime in the 1900s and later adopted as the official flag in 1940.

Ho-hum, to say the least.

According to a 2011 CityLab article, here’s the unofficial style guide for good flags:

1. Keep It Simple (The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory)

2. Use Meaningful Symbolism (The flag's images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes)

3. Use Basic Colors (Limit the number of colors on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard color set)

4. No Lettering or Seals (Never use writing of any kind or an organization's seal)

5. Be Distinctive or Be Related (Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections)

Not all of the aforementioned rules need be followed; Oakland’s flag, for example, bears minimal text yet is still lovely. Alas, the same cannot be said for San Francisco’s waving travesty. While certainly not the ugliest (that honor that could go to Milwaukee’s flag that has a flag on it), the city’s official banner could use a renovation.

Vexillologists on Reddit have had enough of San Francisco’s flag. So much so that they reimagined and reconceived what Baghdad by the Bay’s flag could be.

Here are just a few examples. Some designs riffed off the established rising phoenix theme.

Created by Reddit user StrykerX7
Created by Reddit user BoogsterSU2
Created by Reddit user DasBirdies
Created by reddit user FnZombie
Created by Reddit user 1clkgtramg
Created by Reddit user SonovaVondruke

Other redesigns created a new concept entirely.

According to the flag’s designer, “Blue hexagon represents the shape of the bay” while the ”green bar on top represents the vast park lands north of the bay.”
Created by Reddit user wheresthekitty
The designer writes, “I started designing this flag by first finding colors that I thought really represented San Francisco. I settled on three colors: the red from the stripe on the California state flag, the gold from the border of original San Francisco flag, and the blue from the words ‘San Francisco’ also from the original flag.”
Created by reddit user Novesters
Created by Reddit user mittim80
Inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge.
Created by by Reddit user masongb
“San Francisco is a historically modern and progressive city. Part of being so ahead of the times, means the city was the host to the tech boom. The center star/flower is comprised of 5 Humpback Whales, a mammal that migrates by San Francisco.”
Created by Reddit user 1clkgtramg