South Bend leaders unveil final design for new city flag

Published: Mar. 9, 2016 at 10:29 AM EST
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On Wednesday morning, South Bend officials and leaders from the South Bend 150 Committee unveiled the final design for the city's new flag.

Leaders say the new design will serve as a unifying and recognizable symbol of the city that captures the spirits of South Bend's past, present and future.

"To me this is the official exclamation point on South Bend 150. It's been a whole year celebrating our city's Birthday our past, present and future. Now we have a new symbol to rally around as a city. I think it helps unify us and it's going to help us identify our love for this community," said South Bend Mayor, Pete Buttigieg.

Last October, South Bend 150 held a public meeting to gather community input on themes and guidelines for the flag design.

A design committee selected three finalists for input and design.

The designs were submitted by Garrett Gingerich, Jeffrey Koenig and Indiana University South Bend student, Jesse Villagrana.

The flag is the final contribution of the South Bend 150 celebrations, marking the city's Sesquincentennial.

From a South Bend media release:

Today, leaders from the South Bend 150 Committee and elected officials will unveil a proposed new flag for the City of South Bend, the final contribution of South Bend 150 celebrations marking the city’s sesquicentennial. The new design will serve as a unifying and recognizable symbol of the city that captures the spirit of South Bend’s past, present, and future.

“The flag will help residents rally around our city in its moment of renewal,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg says. “After it is formally adopted, I hope residents will embrace this design and use it in their own, creative ways to show their love of the City. In our City's 151st year, it would be terrific to see 151 of the new flags flying on flag poles throughout the city by the end of the year.”

In October 2015, SB150 leadership held a public meeting to gather community input on themes and guidelines for a new City of South Bend flag design. Rules required that entries include representations of the river, themes of connectivity, diversity, and innovation, and adhere to the North American Vexillological Association’s five basic principles of flag design. Over 200 submissions were received from residents of all ages.

A flag design committee—consisting of professional designers, marketing professionals, city officials, and SB150 representatives—put forward three finalists for public input. The designs were submitted by South Bend residents Garrett Gingerich and Jeffrey Koenig, and Indiana University South Bend student Jesse Villagrana.

Community input, collected in person and online, led to over 1,000 comments on these three designs. The feedback was compiled and the committee produced a final design which incorporated the public input and integrated elements of all three finalist designs.

The flag is an open-source design, with no copyright, allowing residents to incorporate the design in unique ways throughout South Bend. Files are available to be downloaded from the city’s website,

The new flag has a red, six-pointed star on a white field, a yellow field opposite it, and two blue S-shaped lines with a white stripe in between. The six points of the star represent the city’s six council districts, while the blue and white lines evoke the river at the heart of South Bend, our physical and virtual connectivity, and our industrial roots.

The call for submissions encouraged designs that use the city’s traditional color palette of red, blue, yellow, and white, and the flag emphasizes blue and yellow hues that correspond to the Indiana state flag.

The previous city flag, a plain yellow field with the city seal superimposed on it, dates to South Bend’s 1965 centennial. The city will continue to use its current official seal.

Common council president Tim Scott and Council member Gavin Ferlic will introduce an ordinance on Monday, March 14 to officially adopt the new design as the city’s flag.