San Francisco Flag

A flag should be more than an abstract representation of a place; it should express what is essential about that place and the people who call it home. San Francisco Magazine asked MD to develop a new city flag based on Roman Mars’ criticisms laid down in his TED talk about the poor design of municipal flags. [+]

We decided that a city flag should (1) be easy to draw by hand. (2) It should appeal first to insiders, meaning that it can remain enigmatic for outsiders. (3) The flag should tell a story that is both specific and aspirational, and, (4) the flag should have essential presence, meaning that it should maintain its emotive power even after the design has been seen many times.

The left facing bison, an homage to the imported bison that live in Golden Gate Park, honors the myriad transplanted individuals, each with their own story, who have relocated to this farthest west coast. The three colors, international orange, gold, and blue represent, respectively the Golden Gate, the dazzling Northern California sun, and the waters that surround our peninsula. The white field and gold border have been carried forward from the original city flag to underscore that the new design is an evolution, not a replacement. The black star, registered to the exact location of the red star on the California state flag, suggests the inward journey of ideas, innovation, and discovery that those of us aspire to who have chosen The West.