Why Change the Flag?

 Simply put, we should update the Town flag  because no one flies the current one.  A new well designed flag will  foster Town pride so that the Town Colors will be more visible  throughout the Town.  In "Good Flag, Bad Flag: How to Design a Great  Flag," Ted Kaye, a nationally recognized flag expert, proposes five  basic principles of what he deems “good flag design.”[i]  

 First, the design of the flag should be so  simple that a kindergartener could reproduce it from memory. Our  current flag includes eight colors and a busy town seal which renders it  difficult to reproduce. The proposed flag, on the other hand, contains  two colors (red and black), and could easily be redrawn from memory. 

Second, the design of the flag should  contain meaningful symbolism. The Town Seal has become an important part  of the Town’s heritage, so we borrowed the largest element of the Seal –  the four-point compass star, and placed it prominently in the center of  the flag. The two horizontal red stripes also represent the importance  of the railroad in making the Town what it is today. The Town of Herndon  was originally incorporated as an important station on the Washington  & Old Dominium Railroad used by farmers to deliver dairy and crops  to Washington D.C. Now, the Metro serves the community and will continue  to foster growth. Herndon’s downtown district has been revitalized with  the recreational use of the W&OD Trail.  Nackman’s General Store  served railroad passengers since 1919.  Now the Nackman Building houses  the Green Lizard Cycling and Coffee Bar caters to bicyclist, roller  bladders, pedestrians and virtually everyone in Town. 

Third,  the flag should contain 2-3 basic colors. The current flag violates  this principle by containing eight colors of varying shades. The  proposed flag contains two basic colors, red and black, which pay homage  to the school colors of Herndon High School and echo the Town’s brand  strategy.


Fourth,  the flag should neither contain lettering nor the Town’s seal. The  current Town flag violates both provisions by containing only the Town  seal, which is encircled by lettering. The proposed flag, while it  borrows elements from the town seal, neither contains lettering nor the  town seal.

 Fifth,  the flag should be distinctive. It should avoid duplicating other  flags, but should use similarities to illustrate connection. The  proposed flag is not duplicative of any other flags, but purposefully  contains similarities to the District of Columbia flag, which also  boasts horizontal red stripes. This similarity avows the geographical  connection and interdependence between the two localities

 “[A] great city flag is something that  represents a city to its people and its people to the world at  large.”[ii]  In addition to being an incorporated Town, Herndon is  widely considered a rendezvous of Western Fairfax County, Virginia.   Town residents as well as people from neighboring Reston, Oak Hill,  Fairfax, Great Falls, and Loudoun Counties frequent Herndon restaurants,  the Farmer’s Market, summer concerts at Friday Night Live, 5k and 10k  races, and the annual Town Festival.  A new Town Flag flown together  with the American Flag at these events will foster civic pride in our  community.  A well designed and displayed flag will also provide each  member of the Herndon community a way to express this pride to others.

Our  local government has invested in a Brand Strategy for the Town of  Herndon and various ad campaigns designed to increase local business.  A  new flag would certainly nurture this policy.

A symptom of a  poorly designed flag is that it is not recognized by Town residents, nor  hung on their houses.  Cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL,  Madison, WI, and Portland, OR, all have widely acclaimed flags.  Their  residents proudly display these flags prominently.  These flags are  displayed on light posts in commercial districts, but also decorate  houses in residential neighborhoods. These flag designs are often  replicated onto other objects such as coffee mugs, clothing, and even  human body parts as tattoos.  While tattooing might be going too far,  shouldn’t the people of Herndon be entitled to the same source of civic  pride?