Flags matter. They rally. They mobilize. They represent.

A flag can embody and affirm a community’s ideals and values. A flag can welcome, console, honor, unify.

Birmingham has a flag, but you probably haven’t seen it. It was designed nearly a century ago, and while it is not an especially bad flag, it is not a representative symbol of what Birmingham is now and aspires to be.

Birmingham needs a new flag. And we need you to design it.

The BHM Flag Project is an open competition aligned with Design Week Birmingham (DWB), an annual city-wide event inspired by the belief that design matters. Each year in October, design professionals, artists and creatives gather for lectures, film screenings, exhibitions and workshops to promote communication and collaboration and build lasting relationships across the design community.

DWB believes good design - and a well-designed flag - is a transformational tool, used to engage, connect, and inspire.


The height-to-width ratio of the flag must be 3:5.

According to the North American Vexillological Association, there are five principles of good flag design:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Use meaningful symbolism.
  • Use two to three basic colors.
  • Avoid lettering or seals of any kind.
  • Be distinctive.

For more ideas about designing your flag, visit the resources page.


This call is open to any individual or team of individuals. Any team that submits a proposal must list an individual team leader as the main point of contact. Individuals and teams may submit multiple entries, but each entry must be submitted with its own application.


The deadline for the submittal of all application materials is 5 p.m. CDT on Monday, September 14, 2015. You can apply online or mail in a hard copy of your application. (Download Application Packet.) 

Mail/delivered submissions must be received by 5 p.m. CDT on Monday, September 14, 2015, at the American Institute of Architecture - Birmingham, 109 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd S, Birmingham, AL 35233.

Birmingham Flag Project organizers are not responsible for lost or undelivered submissions.


September 14, 2015
Deadline for submission of application materials.

September 15-22, 2015
All submissions are reviewed and 3-5 finalists are selected.

September 23, 2015
Finalists are notified.

September 24, 2015
Finalists announced.

September 24-October 18, 2015
Public votes on finalists.

October 19-24, 2015
Exhibition of all submissions at UAB's Project Space.

October 24, 2015
Winner unveiled at DWB closing event.


By submitting your design, you consent to releasing your works, rights and interests to Creative Commons Zero (CC0 1.0 Universal) – “No Rights Reserved” licensing, thereby dedicating the work to the public domain by waiving all of your rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. In an effort to keep this a free-to-submit design competition there is no monetary compensation for finalists or winners.


For more information on flag design and to find inspiration, visit the North American Vexillological Association site, download our Education Packet and see our resources page.

When designing your flag, remember:

  • Keep it simple. Using fewer colors will make for a bold design. Contrast is also important - consider using light colors on dark, and vice-versa.
  • Use meaningful symbolism. Graphical representations and symbols work better than realistic pictorial depictions.
  • Make it legible. Are the elements readable if reproduced at the size of a postage stamp? Please avoid using text. Avoid using the city seal.
  • Be distinctive. Are the elements of your flag are different enough from other recognizable flags? Could a child draw your flag from memory? Avoid features that could become obsolete or dated. Your flag should work in both historic and modern settings.


The BHM Flag Project media kit (zip file) contains the official BHM Flag Project media release (doc), the BHM Flag Project Application Packet (pdf), the BHM Flag Project Education Packet (pdf), the BHM Flag Project banner (jpg), Birmingham's current flag (jpg) and the Design Week Birmingham logo (pdf and eps).