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?