Michael Greshko: Redesign of the city flag for San Francisco

A while back, I blogged about a TED Talk that was about flags.

Watch the TED Talk

The basic rules of flag design include:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Use meaningful symbolism.
  • Use two to three basic colors.
  • Don’t use lettering or seals (too hard to read from the ground when the flag is atop a pole).
  • Be distinctive.

I live in Alameda, California. Alameda resident, Donald Ingraham, designed the Alameda flag back in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s as part of a city-wide contest for the design.


Based on these rules described in the TED Talk, our Alameda flag is well designed.

  • It is simple — easy enough for a child to draw.
  • It uses meaningful nautical symbolism to compliment Alameda’s “Island City” reputation.
  • It uses three basic colors: red, white, and blue.
  • It doesn’t use lettering nor seals.
  • It is distinctive — incorporating the A for Alameda into the anchor in the middle.

Though I live in Alameda, I work in San Francisco. San Francisco, on the other hand, was…

Read more