Columbia, South Carolina, City Flag

Jun 17th, 2017

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina. It is located in the center of the state between the Atlantic Ocean and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Columbia was chartered as a town in 1805, and a city in 1854. It took the city 58 years to adopt an official city flag.

 

 

In 1912, South Carolina offered a $75 prize for the winning entry in a Columbia city flag design contest. The Columbia City Council added $25 to that amount for a total prize of $100. Entries were received from individuals throughout the state. Kate Manning, a first-grade teacher at Taylor School, submitted the winning design.

 

The field was the same dark blue as the South Carolina state flag, with the city seal featured in the center. Above the seal are the words “City of Columbia, S.C.” and below the seal, the motto “Justia Virtutum Regina”, meaning Justice, the Queen of Virtues. On the left side of the circular seal appears a corn stalk, and on the right side a spray of cotton. Corn and cotton were the two largest crops in South Carolina at the time.

 

Columbia’s flag has served the city for more than a century, but it represents a bygone era (corn and cotton) with an outdated, ineffective design (a seal on a bedsheet).

 

Local leaders launched an effort to update the city flag as part of its initiative to reclaim civic pride and improve the branding of the city.  To kick off that goal, a large group came together at the Columbia Museum of Art for a workshop to learn about flag design and discuss ideas for change. As a result, a city flag competition was held and 19 finalists have been selected by the North American Vexillological Assocation. The public can vote for their favorite design until July 10, 2017. The contest was organized by Columbia Design League and One Columbia for Arts and History. The prize for the winning entry is $2,000.

 

In 2004, the North American Vexillological Association, NAVA, conducted The American City Flag Survey. Columbia’s flag was not among the 150 flags that were surveyed, but it would most likely not have ranked very high. Most flags that contained a seal ranked much lower in the than those that were designed based on the basic principles of good flag design.

 

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