SLC man designs Pride version of Utah state flag that people can purchase
SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City man has created a different version of the newly re-designed Utah state flag by meshing it with the Progress Pride flag.
The design is now on sale to the public in both flag and sticker form.
In his home office, Riley Adamson has been working on a huge project — a big overhaul of his company’s platform. Adamson is the founder and CEO of Cortex, a company that offers a software platform to healthcare providers for patient care.
While he’s all about tech during the day, outside of work, Adamson loves to take on artistic projects. With a background in industrial design, Adamson’s home is full of his creations. He constructed a chair out of elk antlers purchased at a state-run wildlife auction, and his coffee table is in the shape of an EKG line. What appears to be a side table is actually a glow-in-the-dark 3D map of Salt Lake County.
A stately portrait of his dog, Pluto, dressed from the Napoleonic era, hangs surrounded by an ornate gold frame on the wall. A painting with orange flowers against the wall upstairs outside his home office, upon closer inspection, is made from real mini orange peels.
Across from his work computer, Adamson has a separate computer just for his fun design projects. He spent countless hours on his computer creating a Quantum Particles infographic poster that is massive in real life. But he has also worked on smaller projects like silly stickers and a book titled “My Aunt Karen.”
When he saw that Utah was going to choose a new state flag, Adamson was interested in what design leaders would go with. He followed the process and began to document it on TikTok.
Twenty options were narrowed to five, but the final design wasn’t actually one of the original options — it was a combination of choices.
The design lawmakers will vote to approve in the upcoming session features white zig zags, meant to symbolize the state’s snowy peaks, atop a red band that dips — a symbol for the red rocks and valleys of southern Utah. Smack dab in the middle is a gold beehive inside of a blue hexagon, with a white eight-pointed star underneath that represents Utah’s eight tribal nations.
The flag has garnered a lot of attention online, as people seem to love it or hate it. Riley described how he read some people thought the beehive being included in the state flag was controversial because of its roots in religion.
“Which is fine, but having it on a state flag — maybe that’s controversial to some. And that’s understandable,” he said.
He thought there should be a pride version of the flag and thought it would be fun to work on a design.
“Flags are emblems that are adopted by a whole group of people, right? So, essentially, you can say that this flag is something that all people in Utah, whether they like it or not, are kind of embracing as part of their story,” he said. “I wanted a flag that matched that, that matched what people, what all Utahns, could have or should have or would be proud to fly in their house.”
Meshing the colors from the pride flag with the state flag, Adamson got to work experimenting with different designs and iterations.
The shape of the snowy peaks reminded him of the 2018 Progress Pride Flag that includes a chevron of colors representing people of color and transgender communities, and those living with HIV/AIDS.
Just like the state process, Adamson put a few top options out on TikTok and source opinions. Support for one design was overwhelming.
It features wide, vertical rainbow stripes up top, with black, brown, blue, and pink stripes forming the mountainous zig zags. Like the Utah state flag, the middle mountains stripe is white.
At the bottom lie horizontal rainbow stripes, with a similar variation of the middle dip. In the middle, Adamson placed a rainbow beehive on a black hexagon with a gold border. The eight-pointed star is purple.
“Making it more inclusive and making it match more of, let’s involve everybody. Everyone who is here in Utah is a Utahn,” he said.
“There’s nothing really wrong with just having another emblem that represents something slightly different than what is already there,” Adamson said.
While Adamson doesn’t hate the soon-to-be state-approved design, he’s hoping that people will fly both flags.
“It’s a significant upgrade to what it was before,” Adamson said of the state-sponsored flag. “And making a Pride version, also matches.”
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