Designer calls for San Francisco flag redesign

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Chicago's got one, so does Portland, Oakland's is catching on -- what they have are flags that are symbols of civic pride. Now, some people say it's time for San Francisco to become part of the trend and redesign its city flag.

Next to the American flag and California's bear is San Francisco's symbol of civic pride that flies high over city hall. Many people are unaware there is a city flag.

"The main problem with it is you don't see it. It's not flown. It's clearly not loved," said Roman Mars.

He believes great cities need great flags. As the host of a design podcast called "99 Percent Invisible," Mars recently gave a TED talk calling out San Francisco's banner.

The flag shows a phoenix rising from the ashes, not from the 1906 quake, but fires in the 1850's. Flag experts -- and yes, there are experts known as vexillologists -- say San Francisco's design violates the basic rules which include keep it so simple a child can draw it from memory.

"A flag that citizens can feel proud of will be a catalyst for people coming together, for inclusiveness," Jason Medal-Katz from Autodesk.

Autodesk has teamed up to push for a flag re-design. The company and Mars are planning a contest they hope will encourage professionals and amateurs alike.

"I understand this is not the most important thing going on, but it is a symbol of who we are, how we represent ourselves," Mars said.

At city hall where the flag is flown and displayed outside the mayor's office, tour guide and docent, Ellen Schumer isn't so keen on a change.

"I've never heard anyone having an objection to the phoenix rising up out of the ashes," Schumer said.

Maybe because they've never seen it.
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