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Cities Have Had It With Their Ugly Flags

A graphic designer in Milwaukee takes action after his city’s flag is called “one of the biggest train wrecks.”
Steve Kodis is leading an initiative to redesign Milwaukee's official flag.
Steve Kodis is leading an initiative to redesign Milwaukee's official flag.Wikimedia Commons

Steve Kodis will be the first to admit it: Until two years ago, he had no idea what the official flag of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, looked like. In fact, he wasn’t aware his home city even had one.

When he finally saw it, the 29-year-old graphic designer wasn’t impressed. The flag, adopted in the mid 1950s, features a drawing of a gear surrounded by a mix of other symbols, including a boat, a stalk of wheat, a stereotypical depiction of a Native American, and—wait, is that a flag within a flag? It’s what Roman Mars, host of the podcast 99 Percent Invisible, has dubbed “one of the biggest train wrecks in vexillological history.” (Vexillology is a fancy name for the study of flags.)