The Philadelphia city flag. You really don’t see it that much.
“You really don’t,” said Edward Mitchell, an industrial designer at Philadelphia’s Bresslergroup. “When we’ve gone around and looked at this, you don’t even see it hung that much around the city, which has been kind of surprising.”
There’s nothing wrong with the current Philly flag, Mitchell says. But its design doesn’t inspire much affection, either.
After redesigning all 50 state flags as a side project earlier this year, Mitchell decided to turned his attention closer to home.
For DesignPhiladelphia, he reworked the city’s flag — keeping the blue and yellow color scheme, but ditching the city seal in favor of a stylized Liberty Bell.
“It’s kind of an obvious pick,” Mitchell said of the bell, “but it has such a strong background in relationship to the city.”
Mitchell’s new city flags actually flew around Center City for a couple weeks. Their biggest fans, however, appear to be online, Mitchell says. His flag redesign has inspired others to submit their own. Mitchell’s flag was also highlighted in a push by Hidden City blogger Michael Burlando to commission an official redesign of the city flag.
But that doesn’t mean the new look is without its detractors.
“It just doesn’t resonate for me because I’m so vested in the message of this current flag,” said Brenda Exon, aka Philly Pride Lady!™
Exon is the executive director and co-founder of the nonprofit Partners for Civic Pride. She’s trying to organize a big celebration for the current flag’s 120th birthday on March 27, 2015.
Exon says she grateful Mitchell’s makeover has sparked conversation around the city flag. “A lot of people don’t even know there’s a flag to redesign,” she said.
But that does not mean she wants to see an official redesign process move forward.
“I really do think that this is a pretty powerful message presented in our flag,” Exon said, pointing out that peace, hope, justice and prosperity are symbolized in the city seal.
Plus, according to Exon, it’s the first city flag in America.
Whether that means it’s a design worth keeping is a matter of opinion. Washington, D.C., and Chicago each initiated citizen-driven redesigns of their city flags. According to the people who keep track of such things, those are the two best looking city flags in America.