Symbolizing History & Progress
The flag of Cedar Rapids was designed by our community through an extensive public input process. It is rich in meaningful symbolism. The blue represents the Cedar River. The green represents Mays Island and the wonderful green space and recreational areas of our city. The white represents our homes, businesses and infrastructure. The white arch represents forward progress and the city's future, as well as flood protection, which interacts with — and protects the community from — the river. The white star represents the historic structures built on Mays Island, its five points illustrating the City of Five Seasons.
About the Flag
Designed and selected by our community, for our community.
To select a flag that best reflects the community, we asked residents to tell us what colors, shapes and symbols best represent Cedar Rapids. More than 200 residents sent design ideas.
Several volunteer designers used the input gathered from the community to create a series of concept flags. The concept flags were ranked and refined through feedback from members of the North American Vexillological Association and a local committee.
Cedar Rapids residents ranked four final designs to arrive at a new flag for the City of Cedar Rapids.
Designs for the new Cedar Rapids flag follow the five basic principles of good flag design published by the North American Vexillological Association:
- Keep It Simple: A flag should be so simple it can be drawn from memory.
- Use Meaningful Symbolism: A flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
- Use 2-3 Basic Colors: Limit the number of colors on the flag to three which contrast well and come from the standard color set.
- No Lettering or Seals: Never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal.
- Be Distinctive or Related: Avoid duplicating other flags, but you can use similarities to show connections.
Dissecting the Flag
The primary colors of the Cedar Rapids Flag are blue, green and white.
Blue water forms a backdrop for the Cedar Rapids flag. It represents the Cedar River as it courses through Cedar Rapids, splitting at iconic Mays Island.
A green field forms a rounded shape, emerging from either edge of the flag's hoisted end, and coming to a point just to the right of the flag's center. This shape depicts Mays Island and represents all of the wonderful green space and recreational areas of our city.
A white arch forms a border between the blue water and green field. This shape represents the city’s homes, businesses and infrastructure, including long-term flood protection, which both interacts with and protects the community from the river. The rightward pointing direction of the arch indicates progress and symbolizes the city's promising future.
A white, five-pointed star sits in the middle of the green field. The star represents the historic structures built on Mays Island. The five points illustrate the five seasons in the City's motto — City of Five Seasons — spring, summer, fall, winter, and extra time afforded to residents of Cedar Rapids to enjoy all of the other seasons and life.
Fly the Flag
Free for all to use and display.
The Cedar Rapids flag is free of copyright or trademark. It is available for the public to download and use freely however they’d like! Technically speaking, the flag is licensed under Creative Commons Zero. Anybody can copy, modify, distribute and/or use the work, even for commercial purposes, without asking permission. Local vendors may sell Cedar Rapids Flag merchandise. View a list.
Frequently Asked Questions
Were residents consulted for the design of the flag?
Final designs were created by local volunteer designers using feedback received through an extensive public input process, including suggested symbols and designs from more than 200 residents. The designs were revised based on feedback from members of the North American Vexillological Association and a local committee. More than 2,000 residents ranked their favorite choices among four finalist options to arrive at a final flag design.
How was the flag design unveiled?
The winning flag was unveiled at a public ceremony on September 18, 2021.
Why doesn't the flag incorporate the Tree of Five Seasons® logo?
The Tree of Five Seasons® is a registered trademark of the City of Cedar Rapids and is used to represent the government entity. This process was intended to create a flag that can be used by the whole community, free of copyright or trademark, completely open to public use.
What was the cost for this project?
Costs associated with this project totaled $687.73 for public engagement materials.
Wasn't there already a flag for Cedar Rapids?
The previous Cedar Rapids flag was chosen in 1962 during a design contest among local high schools.
The previous flag was voted as one of the ten worst city flags in America by the North American Vexillological Association. This status was featured in a widely shared TED Talk about the principles of good flag design. Hearing from various residents and elected officials on this matter in the intervening years, City leaders understood that Cedar Rapids is a proud and beautiful community that deserves to have pride in its flag. They determined to move forward with a redesign project in 2019. What was to be a year-long public process was put on hold midway through because of the pandemic and then the derecho response. The project resumed as major derecho cleanup activities completed and as public buildings reopened.