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Just what Birmingham needs…a People’s Flag

Just what Birmingham needs…a People’s Flag

🕔20.Jan 2015

Brummies are being invited to take pride in their city and wrap themselves in the flag, but they will have to design one first of all.

Although Birmingham does have an official civic flag fluttering above the Council House it doesn’t have a ‘people’s flag’, according to former Lord Mayor and Labour councillor Mike Leddy.

Cllr Leddy points out that the civic flag belongs to the council “and no one is allowed to fly it without the council’s permission”. What’s needed, he reckons, is a symbol that everyone can embrace.

He is launching a competition to design a community flag that he says will instil pride in Brummies.

The contest is backed by the city council which has issued a list of do’s and don’ts for flag designing with tips such as “keep it simple”.

Cllr Leddy, chair of the Birmingham Flag Project Team, said: “You may well think that Birmingham already has a flag, but this isn’t the case as the flag flying over the Council House belongs to the council and no one is allowed to fly it without the council’s permission.

“I believe that a flag for Birmingham will instil civic pride, allow Brummies to express pride in our community, celebrate our heritage and culture and raise greater recognition and awareness of Birmingham nationwide.  That’s why I’m launching a competition to create a people’s flag for Birmingham.”

A council spokesperson said: “The ‘People’s Flag for Birmingham’ competition is free to enter and open to all.  Whether you are young or old, amateur or professional, an individual or a group your design will be judged impartially and purely on merit, irrespective of artistic ability.  School children will have exactly the same chance as experienced designers.”

The deadline for entries is 31 March.  Judges will then draw up a shortlist of five designs to put forward to a public vote from 11 May till 28 June.

The winner will be announced week commencing 13 July and will be presented with the first flag.  This will then be registered as the official flag of Birmingham and will be free for anyone to use from that point on.

How to design a flag, by Birmingham City Council:

  1. Keep it simple
    The flag should be simple enough that a child can draw it from memory.
  2. Use meaningful symbolism
    The flag’s elements, colours, or patterns should relate to what it symbolises.
  3. Use two to three basic colours
    Limit the number of colours on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard colour set: red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple, black and white.
    Yellow and white work well on any of the other colours and vice versa.
  4. No lettering or seals
    Avoid the use of writing of any kind or an organisation’s badge, seal or coat of arms. It is better to use elements from an appropriate coat of arms as symbols on the flag.
  5. Be distinctive or be related
    Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections.
  6. How will it fly in the wind?
    Remember, the design must be distinctive when flying on a high pole in a strong wind, and when hanging in windless conditions too. Also remember that it will almost always have ripples caused by the wind.

Full details of the competition can be found at

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