I believe a good flag has the ability to unite the city that works under it, and personify the people that live in the city it represents.
Years ago a new city flag made its way up the flagpole at City Hall, but the design was never completely embraced by our residents.
Now, in the midst of significant changes to the way we live and how our community functions, one thing has remained steadfast – the character, ingenuity and perseverance of our city and its people.
Salt Lake City deserves a flag that is emblematic of what we are, and who we are. It deserves a flag we’re proud to see whether it’s waving atop City Hall or outside our very own homes and businesses.
Today, I am pleased that we have a new flag that will take us forward, together.
Thank you to the Salt Lake City council and our flag design review committee for all their work to make this possible, and of course, thank you to the new flag’s designers, Arianna Meinking and Ella Kennedy-Yoon!
Mayor, Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City’s New Flag
To download a file to have your own flag made, please use one of the links below. Note, the links include style guide information and the entire file should be sent to flag makers.
This Salt Lake City Flag design is approved for creating flags and designs for personal, non-commercial use.
About The Design
The blue over white colors of the Salt Lake City flag announce the City’s name: white for salt and the blue of the Great Salt Lake for which the City is named. The blue band includes a white Sego Lily of three petals. Salt Lake City is the only state capital with a three-word name.
White also symbolizes “the Greatest Snow on Earth” found blanketing slopes that lie beneath clear blue skies of the city’s surrounding mountains. The area’s reputation as a winter sport’s destination drew the world to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The Sego Lily—a hardy flowering plant native to dry, sandy soil—has grown in the valley for millennia before the earliest inhabitants arrived. Native tribes used the plant’s bulbs, seeds and flowers for food and taught later coming pioneers to consume the plants in times of food shortage. Despite the harsh clime the Sego Lily brought beauty to the area and is the symbol of resilience that exemplifies Salt Lake City and its residents.
White and blue also represent peace and justice, which ideals unite a diverse population and symbolize the harmony of Salt Lake residents in moving forward to reach common values and aspirations. The golden stamen symbolizes future growth that comes with each succeeding generation.
About The Process
Salt Lake City began its process of selecting a new flag this spring with an open call for submissions. After receiving over 600 entries, the Salt Lake City Flag Design Committee convened to narrow the field down.
Without any personal or demographic information on who designed each submission, the Committee followed the key principles of good flag design to narrow the field to eight flags for the public to rate. Those principles are: Keep It Simple, Use Meaningful Symbolism, Use 2-3 Basic Colors, No Lettering or Seals, and Be Distinctive or Be Related.
Providing the same key principles of design, the public was asked to rate each design for symbols used, colors used, overall design, and how well each design represented Salt Lake City.
The Committee convened once again to evaluate survey data, then narrowed the field of eight down to two top designs: one, a stylized black honeybee overlaying a golden honeycomb centered on horizontal bands of sky blue and white; and the other, a white and golden-yellow sego lily centered on an isosceles triangle of deep blue, under sky blue triangles.
Ultimately it was decided that the blue and white backdrop – which could symbolize snow, the sky, the Great Salt Lake, and salt – would pair best with the Sego Lily, a flower indiginous to the area, and which symbolizes resilience.
The flag’s designers are Salt Lake City locals Arianna Meinking, 18, and Ella Kennedy-Yoon, 17.
Meinking has lived in Salt Lake City her whole life, recently graduating from West High School. She’s preparing to attend Harvey Mudd College in California, but expects to return to the City, which is also where her family lives. Meinking said the thing she loves most about the City is that it offers a lifelong community of people who value each other and where they live.
“To me, this experience highlights what it means to live here. If I do my best to try to change the world around me, even in little ways, I can make a difference, and grow into that role,” Meinking said.
Kennedy-Yoon was also born and raised in Salt Lake City. The youngest of four children, she is a senior at West High School. According to Kennedy-Yoon, Salt Lake City is defined by its wonderful residents.
“I am honored to have my design chosen to be part of what represents Salt Lake City. This opportunity is encouraging me to make a difference. I hope this flag will grow to become a symbol of the kindness and community that Salt Lake City embodies,” said Kennedy-Yoon.
Flag Design Considerations
In looking for a new flag for Salt Lake City the committee looked to experts for what a good flag design looks like.
The Five Basic Principles of Flag Design
- Keep It Simple
The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory.
- Use Meaningful Symbolism
The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
- Use 2-3 Basic Colors
Limit the number of colors on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard color set.
- No Lettering or Seals
Never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal.
- Be Distinctive or Be Related
Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections.
For more information on flag design principles read Ted Kaye’s Good Flag Bad Flag, or watch the Ted Talk “Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed.” Please note, the Ted Talk contains some Adult Language, but is a good source of context for city flags and flag design.
Salt Lake City Flag Design Committee
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall
Salt Lake City Council Chair Chris Wharton
Ted Kaye, North American Vexillological Association, Author of Good Flag, Bad Flag
Felicia Baca, Director, Salt Lake City Arts Council
Luna Banuri, HR commissioner for SLC (HRC) and ED of Utah Muslim Civic League
Angela Brown, Executive Editor, SLUG Mag, Executive Director, Craft Lake City
Samantha Eldridge, Executive Assistant, Student Development and Inclusion, University of Utah, and Indigenous Community Advocate
John Hartvigsen, Vexillologist, Colonial Flag Foundation & Company, and President, North American Vexillological Association from 2014-2017
Amanda Lau, Salt Lake City Public Engagement & Communications Specialist
Jorge Rojas, Director of Learning and Engagement, Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA)