Citizen Spotlight: Jacob Johnson
The City of Tulsa’s flag recently made waves for being one of the worst designed flags in the United States. However, there’s hope thanks to a group of committed Tulsans, taking on the challenge to revamp the flag.
Tulsa has an official flag. We’ll wait while you realize that you’ve never thought much about this aspect of this great city. It’s pretty straight forward: The flag is just the seal of Tulsa slapped on a white background. The seal is fine for viewing up close on paper, but not on a flag high in the sky.
Roman Mars, a journalist and TED Conference presenter, spoke at a recent TED Conference, giving a presentation titled, “Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed.”
Mars reasoned cities don’t think about the importance or relevance a flag brings to the city, instead often throwing the town logo or other garbled images onto a flag and calling it done. And, guess what city’s flag was included in the worst city flags in America? You got it – Tulsa.
In Mars’ summation, Tulsa’s flag does not hit the five key points of flag design, according to the North American Vexillological Association, a group dedicated to the scientific and scholarly study of flags. In their opinion, great flags:
1. Keep it simple.
2. Use meaningful symbolism.
3. Use two-to-three basic colors.
4. Do not use any lettering or seals.
5. Are distinctive or related to.
Depending on your definition of these rules, Tulsa’s flag breaks just about all of them. It uses several non-basic colors, a lot of lettering, and its logo is small and complex. If that wasn’t enough to get it mocked at a national conference, the image of the Tulsa flag is copyrighted, meaning reproduction is actually prohibited.
It’s a case of what-not-to-do when it comes to flag design. This is why there is help on the way to make this flag one Tulsans can take pride in.
A creative agency in Tulsa, Gitwit, has stepped up and is powering the movement to redesign the Tulsa flag to better represent Tulsa to the world. The new Tulsa Flag campaign includes a solid month of gathering input of what should be on the flag from all districts of the city. The team will read every answer, and distill the input to pass on to designers.
By utilizing proper flag design principles, the designers aim to increase civic pride by having the flag become a branding piece for Tulsa. Artists will produce multiple flags, before the power is again turned to Tulsa citizens to choose the new Tulsa Flag design.
“Our current flag is both ineffective as a flag because of its current design, and its reproduction and distribution limitations render it useless for anything outside of flying in front of the court house,” Jacob Johnson, Gitwit Principal and Strategist says. “It’s not even a question that a new flag needs to be proposed.”
Johnson says the time to change the flag is now – not only because the current flag is lacking and has received negative national exposure, but also because the ground swell of growing pride and love for Tulsa demands it.
“Tulsa pride has been growing steadily for the past decade,” Johnson said. “And it’s time we have a flag that we can display proudly however and wherever we want.”
“Printed, embroidered, tattooed or painted, we need a flag that represents Tulsa and Tulsans across the globe,” Johnson said. “A great flag is about bringing people together and inviting others to come find out why Tulsans are so proud of their city.”
When Gitwit has completed several designs for the new flag for Tulsa, members of the team will host a reveal to announce the possibilities to the Tulsa community. Tulsa will choose the new flag design to take to City Hall for adoption.
“One thing is for sure, Tulsans are proud of their city,” Johnson said. “Now, it’s time they are proud of their city flag as well.”
To show support and stay involved with the new Tulsa Flag, like #TulsaFlag on Facebook.