Will Raising a New City Flag Raise Civic Pride? Cedar Park’s Mayor Hopes So

“If you need to write the name of what you’re representing on the flag, your symbolism has failed.”

By Jimmy MaasMay 2, 2016 9:30 am| ,

This story originally aired on KUT News

What’s on your city flag? If your city has one at all, it’s likely an official seal with wording. More likely, you have not given a city flag any thought at all. But there is one man who wants to change that for his town.

Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell is on a mission to create a lasting legacy for his city, something citizens can look upon for generations: a city flag.

And what inspired him to hatch a plan like this?

“I watch a lot of TED Talks,” Powell said.

One day he came upon a Talk on flag design from 99% Invisible podcaster Roman Mars. Powell said it “piqued [his] interest.”

“Few things give me greater joy than a well-designed flag,” Mars says in the talk.

But, why give a TED Talk about flag design?

“Sometimes I bring up the topic of flags and people are like, ‘I don’t care about flags.’ We start talking about flags, and trust me — one hundred percent of people care about flags. There’s just something about them that works on our emotions.”

And it turns out people do care. Shortly after the TED Talk was published last year, a designer pushed to change Austin’s flag. But the effort in Cedar Park is different. The initiative is coming from the top.

“Afterward…I said, ‘maybe our city flag could use some work, but it’s not horrible,'” Powell said.

But expert vexillologist Ted Kaye might disagree. Vexillology is the study of flags. He wrote a book called Good Flag, Bad Flag, which provides the base material for much of Mars’ talk.

Cedar Park currently has what flag folks like Kaye call a bedsheet: white rectangle, official Cedar Park logo in the middle – a white sprig of cedar against a two-tone green background – and the words “Cedar Park” along the bottom.

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