PROVO -- In early 2013, a publication on American City Flags noted the North American Vexillological Association did an Internet public opinion poll on 150 U.S. city flag designs. Provo ranked 143.
The next month, Mayor John Curtis and staff rolled up their sleeves and began a project to have a new city flag designed.
A full year-and-a-half later, many discussions, resident comments, blogs and more vetting, and as of Tuesday's work session the municipal council has yet to figure out just what long-term symbol could represent Provo on the city's flagpole.
Deputy Mayor Corey Norman has somewhat spearheaded the project. The process eventually led to a three-member committee of Provo's resident vexillogist, Jason Bates; former councilwoman Sherrie Hall Everett; and councilman Stephen Hales.
The flag debacle has also been a thorn in the side of many residents who have commented through Facebook and other media platforms that there surely must be more important things than fussing over the city's flag.
"We do need a new city flag," Bates said. "The current one is in violation of key design principles."
The Vexillological Association says those key design principles include:
• Keep it so simple a child can draw it.
• Use symbols unique to a city or area.
• Limit colors to three that contrast well.
• No lettering or seals on flags.
• Make it distinctive from other flags.
"It's important to come up with a good flag design," Bates said. "A good city flag design can become more than just a logo."
Bates referred to the popular Chicago city flag that is marketed and used everywhere. Vexillologists voted the Washington D.C. city flag the best in the nation.
Bates, as a vexillologist, has a vested enthusiasm in what could be Provo's brightest and best flag yet. He has submitted designs conforming to flag design standards, but as of yet no decision maker has yet chosen to be the standard bearer of those designs.
"After we received feedback, we tried to find a compromising position," Norman said after a brief dialogue with the council.
The comment brought laughter and raised eyebrows from the council. However, without having compromised their position, Norman and the mayor's office offered two similar designs to the council that fit the flag design form. They brought together elements of several designs.
"It has some things residents can be proud of," Norman said, "And it abides by flag principles. When we asked the public to get engaged we got many ideas."
It appears, however, that even a group of three cannot get the project done. Hales, a graphic designer by trade, doesn't seem to be as caught up in flag tradition as his team member Bates.
"Have the flag with a circle in the middle with the city's logo," Hales said. "It doesn't need classic flag elements. It needs something that extends the city's identity."
With that, coupled with the brief time the council allowed for discussion, Hales called for more time.
"I suggest we go back and discuss this some more," Hales said. "Let's continue this to the next work session."