|Institution:||Grand Valley State University|
|Category:||Environmental Design, Graphic Design, Symbols, Visual Communication|
|Filed Under:||Brainstorming, Color Theory, Community, Composition, Culture, Design for Good, Design Research, Four-year Program, Iconography, Non-profit, Semiotics, Storytelling|
A well-designed flag could be seen as an indicator of how a city considers all of its design systems: its public transit, its parks, its signage. It might seem frivolous, but it’s not. Often when city leaders say, “We have more important things to do than worry about a city flag,” my response is, “If you had a great city flag, you would have a banner for people to rally under to face those more important things.” – Ted Kaye, Vexillologist, North American Vexillological Association (NAVA).
You will design a flag for one of the cities in the state of Michigan: Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Grand Haven, and Ann Arbor (3 students/city.) The purpose of your flag should be to represent its place, generally on a rectangular piece of cloth, to be seen at a distance, often moving, and reproduced in quantity and in many sizes.
- Improve on the study of semiotics and meaning.
- Practice design research.
- Develop strong presentation skills.
- Assess their and their classmates\' work to form and defend value judgments.
Final Design and research summary
- North American Vexillological Association
- Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you\'ve never noticed | Roman Mars
- Why Do Flags Matter? - The People Speak
- 7 fantastic flags that break every design rule
- Flag Stories
- The People's Flag of Milwaukee
I divided the class into groups so groups could collaborate on the research aspect of the project. I would advise a more strict research framework or at least a few prompts for students to start. Ideally, the flags should be based on cities they can easily travel to or have familiarity with. Providing a research presentation outline is also a good idea.
For their sketching, I also provided sheets with 1x1.5\" rectangles drawn on them. This is the apparent size of a flag when hung from a flagpole. The reduced scale invites students to think about simple forms, high levels of color contrast, minimalism, and symbolic references.
The project may also embrace social causes instead of cities.