Flag of the City of Boston


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Dec 10, 2011
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Wikipedia says:
"The flag [of the City of Boston] placed 133rd out of 150 city flags in a 2004 survey by the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA), based on appearance.[4]
It is commonly categorized by vexillologists as a 'seal on a bed sheet.'"

Always good to know that Founded and Given A City Charter can happen 192 years apart. And when that question does come up in meetings or sidewalk conversations, it is always handy to have a flag available for settling bets.

Flag of Boston

For comparison, here are the top 10 form the 2004 Survey:

Washington DC | Chicago | Denver


Phoenix | St Louis | Wichita


Portland (Ore) | Indianapolis | Louisville


Corpus Christi

I never liked the ugly powder blue color; that would be the first thing I would change.

Out of those I like the St. Louis flag
Because when you have a sucky city flag (& Sucky City Branding) the corporate owners fill the void in defining your city--owning it and renting it back to you.

I think that's the Boston Globe muscling in on the B and Delta Airlines inserting itself as the O.

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I am a fan of Nat Varmac's redesign of the Boston city flag:

A little "Before" and "After"

Mind blown. The one on the right is spectacularly good branding. Thank you wilkee.

Before I read Nat Varmac's words (in the post), here's what I immediately and wordlessly get from the picture:
1) Blue and Yellow == Brand colors of Boston as used in Boston Strong (etc)
1a) we tend not to go for the "washed out blue" of the current bedsheet flag​
1b) The BAA's Blue & Yellow are basically "it", but this is a more "US Flag" blue and a more "Bruins" Yellow​
2) White Star on Blue Field == It is a Capital City* (first reading of the star) of a (founding) United States State (second level read of the same star)
3) A Hub == Oliver Wendell Holmes' "Boston State-House is the hub of the solar system."
3a) The Ring need not be 128 (indeed for the city, it isn't) but it kinda puts a claim on the metro area.​
4) A Map == the star is in an unusual location, and is depicted roughly where Boston falls when Mass' State Map is inscribed on a rectangle. If it didn't have the "southwest" spoke, it would be a beautifully stylized map of the whole state. With that spoke, I'd say you've added CT and you're looking at "New England"
4a) A city on Massachusetts Bay (only blue to its East, no spoke on the right)​
4b) A nod to the capital of New England and our Principal Highways with spokes in counterclockwise from upper right​

  • Maine (I-95),
  • NH (I-93)
  • VT (US3/I-89)
  • Massachusetts Itself I-90/US20,
  • CT I-84,
  • RI I-95,
  • Plymouth Colony / The Cape US3
Freaking brilliant. I frankly don't see how it can be improved upon. Were I Boston Inhabitant, i'd be writing my politicians at this very moment.

I don't think the white outlines are necessary, but I see that they make the sports variants easier (The ability to do Red/White/Blue for the Sox, Red/Blue/Silver for the Patriots, Brown/Green/White for the Celtics and Brown/Gold/White for the Bruins)

I move for immediate adoption.

*and one of only two Capitals of the 13 Colonies from 1776 still in use as a capital, which, in itself is a great tale.
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I like that I (generally) got the significance Nat Varmac intended in his 7-spoke hub, even though he was being more "in state" He describes it as:

Each of the seven spokes harken to New England cities as they geographically relate to the city. Counterclockwise from the top right, they go:​

  • Northeast: Salem, MA
  • North: Haverhill, MA
  • Northwest: Lowell, MA, and Nashua, NH
  • West: Framingham, Worcester, and Springfield, MA
  • Southwest: Attleboro, MA, and Providence, RI
  • South: Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford, MA
  • Southeast: Plymouth, MA, and Cape Cod
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That is a truly great flag design. The asymmetry makes me a little uncomfortable, but that isn’t necessarily a reason not to use it. It makes you stare at the flag longer.
I like it, a lot. But if we are hoping a flag will represent a people I think it is too abstract. So maybe it should go through some civic process. I think most people in the city would agree that it's time for a new flag but it's also possible they don't. I would be interested to see what people today might come up with as representations of themselves and how that it may be incorporated into a new flag
What does "too abstract" mean?

Bicolor, Tricolor, stars and stripes, maple leaf, are all abstractions.
I asked because I was interested in your thoughts.
Okay, the St Louis flag has all kinds symbolism of its past, the Phoenix one says we are rising. I think the idea of the flag representing the city as being the Hub just isn't very modern. I would love the city to ask people from the Dedham line to the Revere line for ideas. How do you see the city; how would you like to be represented. I think it could foster civic pride, not that we don't have an abundance of that