Phillip Scholtes and Jordan Little say it's not a grand old flag, Little Rock's banner, and they want folks to pitch in to design a new one.
The Little Rock flag — in case you, like everyone else, didn't know Little Rock had a flag — sort of looks like the top of a wrapped birthday present. A horizontal ribbon of blue and yellow intersects a vertical ribbon of green and yellow, and at the intersection where the bow would go is a yellow seal showing a rock, a drawing of the state with a star in it, a couple of oak leaves and the words City of Little Rock Arkansas. It was adopted in 1988.
Scholtes, 32, a programmer at Inuvo who has lived in Chicago, and Little, 29, a professional designer, say it's just too busy to be a good brand for the city.
"I lived in Little Rock my entire life," Little said, "and never thought about a flag until Phillip started showing me Chicago's [flag]." Chicago's flag is simply four red stars between two pale blue stripes, symbolic of places and events in Chicago history. The word Chicago does not appear on it. The North American Vexillological Association (vexillology is the study of flags) has ranked the Chicago flag second out of 150 U.S. flags (the Washington, D.C., flag is ranked first). Though it appears as spare and modern as a 21st century logo, the flag dates to 1917. It's so popular, Little said, that people tattoo it on their bodies.
Scholtes and Little say a Little Rock flag of good design would create unity among the residents of Little Rock, give them something to rally around.
On their webpage, littlerockflag.com, Scholtes and Little say Little Rock is a great city and deserves a great flag, and it's their mission to create one. "The current flag is outdated and elicits no feelings of civic pride," their statement there says. "There are too many colors, the lettering and images are too detailed for a flag design, and will you get a load of that rock?"
The website also includes a link to a petition drive to tell Mayor Mark Stodola that it's time to adopt a new flag "that shows where we've come while breathing life into where we're heading." It also includes a video of a Ted Talk by Roman Mars on bad flag design and provides the "Five Principles of Good Flag Design": Keep it simple. Use only two or three colors. Be distinctive. Use meaningful symbolism. Use no lettering or seals. Scholtes and Little have also created a Facebook page, facebook.com/littlerockflag.
So, what comes next? "We'd be lying if we said we knew how this was going to unfold," Scholtes said. The duo hopes to raise awareness, get the city's backing, and encourage submissions of designs to the city, which would own the design. They've created a new flag themselves, but, to encourage other people to submit, they aren't releasing it.