LOCAL NEWS

Utah unveils 20 semifinalists for new state flag

Sep 8, 2022, 2:16 PM | Updated: Sep 16, 2022, 9:46 am
Follow @https://twitter.com/jellis9...

SALT LAKE CITY — The quest for a new Utah state flag is moving forward after state officials narrowed down over 7,000 submissions to 20 semifinalists.

The Utah Flag Task Force unveiled the semifinalists on Thursday after member Sen. Daniel McCay leaked a preview of 19 of the flags on Wednesday.

“Each design is inspired by a Utahn (or many) and represents hours of collaboration and volunteer design work. They are rich with meaning and share a strong connection to Utah,” McCay said.

Utahns can give their feedback on the semifinalists here through Oct. 5. Descriptions of each semifinalist can be found on the task force’s website.

“The new flag will be one that people can point to and say: ‘I was part of the evolution of that flag,’” said Rep. Elizabeth Weight of the Utah Flag Task Force.

Semifinalist flag designs will be unveiled in a press event and exhibition at the Utah Capitol on Sept. 22 with flag exhibitions installed in Cedar City and Logan.

“What we have here, in the 20, in many cases, is a combination of ideas,” Jill Love, executive director of the Utah Department of Cultural and Community Engagement, and a member of the task force, told KSL.com. “We tried to get the public in these (20 designs) — the best of the best that represent the significant symbols that we heard were important to Utah. And that includes colors, too.”

After the public comment period ends in October, the design review committee will narrow the field again to four to six finalists.

From there, the flag task force will present a finalist or two to Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Diedre Henderson, who will present their choice to the Utah Legislature in a special session.

The process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Utah state flag history

Utah’s original flag was created in 1903 to be used at the St. Louis World’s Fair. Utah Gov. Heber M. Wells asked the Daughters of the American Revolution to oversee its creation.

The blue flag with the state seal and the year 1896 in white thread was known as the governor’s flag until 1911.

A gold seal was added and the seal was colorized in 1912, and the Utah Legislature officially adopted the changes in 1913.

Technically, Utah’s current state flag was officially adopted in 2011 after an error was introduced in 1922 and went unnoticed for 89 years.

In 2011, John Hartvigsen, a vexillologist or flag expert, said, “The 1847 was moved from its correct position right below the word Utah on the shield, to a place below the shield. That has been followed by flag manufacturers ever since, even though it’s incorrect.”

A joint resolution fixed the error, moving it back to its correct spot on the shield, which was also colorized. Minor changes to the bald eagle and sego lilies were also made.

Utah state flag from 2011-2022

Why now?

A common question that has been presented to the task force so far: Why now?

The task force has a section of its website dedicated to the question, which says task force members “believe that designing a new state flag offers Utahns the chance to talk about who we are now. It’s a chance to talk about bigger questions that get to the heart of our identity nowwhile still honoring and building upon our history.

“A new flag can draw upon our history and be a symbol in a bigger initiative to think about what unites us. A new flag could be one step in helping all of us, together, face our pressing issues.”

State leaders have also said the flag should have a simplified design that is more iconic — much like flags in neighboring Colorado and New Mexico.

This image from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office shows the state’s flag.

“Utah is a very distinctive state, but our current flag blends in with many other state flags. We can do better,” McCay said. “The new state flag can be simplified with a design that is both innovative and memorable.”

Gov. Cox has previously referred to the current state flag as an “S.O.B.” or “seal on a bedsheet” — a joke term from the vexillology community for a flag that uses a solid color (most commonly blue) background and the official seal or coat of arms of whatever it is representing as the main feature.

A survey of Utah residents said nearly half are proud of the current flag, but only one-third would wear the flag on clothing or as an accessory.

A graphic showing all 50 U.S. state flags. Utah’s flag is highlighted in red. It’s one of 24 current flags that’s nearly identical to each other, per Utah State Flag Task Force members. (Photo: State Flag Task Force)

In the survey, 36% indicated they would support a redesign while 35% wouldn’t. The remaining 29% said they neither support nor oppose a change.

Once a new state flag is chosen, officials said the current state flag will become the governor’s flag and will still be flown publicly. The state seal, which is displayed on the current state flag, will also remain in place.

“This is not an effort, at all, to take away our history,” Handy said. “This is an effort to modernize a symbol of our great state.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Scaffolding from an apartment construction site sits along 1300 South on Sept. 29, 2022. (Shelby Lo...
Josh Ellis

TRAX station, 1300 South reopen after scaffolding collapses during storm

Cleanup crews have cleared 1300 South and the TRAX Ballpark Station after scaffolding from a construction site collapsed during a storm Thursday night.
6 hours ago
Harmoni Memmott went through seven months of chemotherapy at Primary Children's Hospital to beat a ...
Ayanna Likens

Tooele 2-year-old beats cancer after receiving care at Primary Children’s

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and one Tooele 2-year-old battled cancer and beat it after treatment at Primary Children's Hospital.
1 day ago
...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah mountain cabin community hoping for national historic designation

Historic cabin community hopes for national designation to preserve area's future.
1 day ago
...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Tourism conference looks at turning around drop in Utah visitation

Tourism in Utah is down by a significant amount, and people from across the state are strategizing how to turn that around.
1 day ago
Youth Impact Ogden Utah...
Mike Anderson

Youth Impact program in Ogden helps students, parents, community

Thursday is casino night at the Monarch in Ogden where the Youth Impact Program hopes to raise some of the needed $300,000 it takes to help kids, parents and the community.
1 day ago
SL County Sheriff Rosie Rivera John Patterson...
Jed Boal

Three in Salt Lake County given awards by sheriff’s association

Salt Lake County Sherriff‘s Office received awards last week from the Utah Sheriffs’ Association for the excellent leadership they show in their jobs.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Utah unveils 20 semifinalists for new state flag