People’s Flag of Milwaukee to Fly on Flagpoles and in Neighborhoods Across Milwaukee
The People’s Flag of Milwaukee, a redesigned city flag, was selected to fly on flagpoles and in neighborhoods across Milwaukee. This blue, yellow and white flag is made of poly knit and finished with brass grommets. It is available for sale at $50 for a 3-by-5 foot banner.
Since its launch, the People’s Flag has become popular in the Brew City. The design is being used on shirts, coffee mugs and beer cans. It is also on the Milwaukee Brewing Company’s newest beer, MKE IPA. As of February, the beer is the fastest growing beer in the Brewers’ portfolio.
In response to the widespread interest, the city of Milwaukee launched a design contest in May 2016. More than 1,000 designs were submitted by local residents, amateurs and professionals. Five expert judges selected the top 45 semifinalists. From there, five finalists were chosen and then voted on by the public.
On Monday, June 13, the Common Council of Milwaukee held a committee meeting to consider the redesign of the city’s flag. While some alders questioned the campaign’s reach, several pushed back against the idea that the flag could receive official recognition. There was some spirited debate, though. Some alders pointed out that the design is controversial and that some people would find it offensive. Others claimed it violated basic principles of vexillology, or the study of flags.
Initially, the project was to continue at the ground-breaking for the Milwaukee Bucks arena. However, organizers have said that the flag will be sold and flown in the community. Organizers have asked the public to contact their Common Council members.
After receiving more than 1,000 designs, the committee of five people narrowed down the choices to five finalists. Each finalists’ entry was then rated on a 0-10 scale. Three honorable mentions were awarded. All of the five finalists were selected by voting online between May 14 and 31, based on the number of votes received.
Alderman Fred Steffan incorporated elements from several of the winning designs into his own. His design, “Sunrise Over the Lake,” was the winner of the flag design contest.
Ahead of the announcement, Alderman Russell Stamper questioned whether the People’s Flag campaign had a real audience. He also questioned the symbolism of the flag. He also fumed that the project had been designed to ignore key demographics.
The Milwaukee City Hall and the Native American chief were not included in the original design. Instead, the head of the Indian chief is profiled in the upper hoist quadrant, with the lower hoist quadrant showing three horizontal stripes of red, white and red. These colors are representative of the city’s three founding towns and the three rivers.
The Native American chief wears a white war bonnet with red tips. While this design may be offensive to some, it represents the city’s Indian origins.
Aside from the flag itself, the Milwaukee city logo is a representation of the city’s history and culture. On the left, a golden barley stalk represents the city’s brewing history.