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New flags are having a moment right now. Why is that?

The three finalists for the new official flag of Ogden, Utah.
courtesy of Ogden City
The three finalists for the new official flag of Ogden, Utah.

On the heels of Utah’s new state flag, the city of Ogden is also considering a new flag of its own.

The Ogden City Youth Council joined other high school students at the Utah State Capitol on Jan. 20, 2022, to learn more about flag design – just as the state launched its redesign effort.

When asked if Ogden had a flag, city council communications manager Brandon Garside said “no.” Ogden had a flag until 2016, but it hasn't been used since then due to a rebranding campaign.

But Utahns are not the only ones giddy about flags right now.

Illinois and Minnesota are also considering new flags, but for different reasons. So why all the fuss? One reason flags might be seeing a resurgence is due to the current cultural focus on identity.

"Flags have always stood to communicate our allegiance or affiliation in a broad sense,” said Lynne McNeill, an associate professor of folklore in the English Department at Utah State University. “And we see that still happening in the broad sense, but now we see it happening on a much smaller scale as well."

Flags also convey one's politics and cultural background. In the LGBTQ+ community, pride is signified through flags both in and outside of the home. McNeill said it's important to be able to communicate without using words.

"And flags are a way that we do that. And I see more people now flying the Utah flag than I ever have before. And I think that it's a way of saying, ‘hey, I'm regionally proud, I'm proud of where I'm from, but I'm setting aside all of the immense complications of national politics right now I'm going with something smaller.’"

Which brings us back to Ogden. The students’ trip to the state capitol got the city council and the Ogden City Flag Design committee thinking about a new city flag.

"So the youth council kind of got things started with a contest for the local schools to submit designs from students. And then we opened it up to the general public and got a bunch of submissions that way as well," Garside said.

Over 200 designs were submitted. The artists leaned on details that speak to the city like its rich railroad history, the famous Golden Spike or shared values of people and family.

"There are little things kind of interlaced here and there with each design that tie it distinctively to Ogden," Garside said.

The council has narrowed the submissions down to three finalists, and they hope to have a decision made before the start of summer.

"The goal is to have a new design selected before the end of the school year so that the Youth Council can participate since this is something that they started. And so to have them be a part of the final moment where this is the official flag of Ogden City is important to us."

Curtis Booker is KUER’s growth, wealth and poverty reporter in Central Utah.
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