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City Flag Challenge

A great flag brings unity. A great city deserves a great flag.

The city of Scottsdale is seeking design concepts for a new city flag through an open design challenge that will run through Dec. 31.

Scottsdale hopes a new flag will become an immediately recognizable symbol of the proud and accomplished desert community known around the world for its blend of western heritage, natural beauty and modern art and culture.

We are accepting flag design entries from October 3 - December 31. Entries may be submitted online or in person to our Scottsdale libraries during this time. 

What makes a great flag? 

According to the North American Vexillological Association, a group dedicated to the study of flags, there are five basic elements that make up a great flag:

  1. Keep it simple. The flag should be so simple a child can draw it from memory.
  2. Use meaningful symbolism. The flag's images, colors or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
  3. 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.
  4. No lettering or seals of any kind. Never use writing of any kind or an organization's seal. These get small, blurry and can't be understood from a distance.
  5. Be distinctive or be related. Avoid duplicating other flags but use similarities to show connections.

A good tip for flag design is to put your design in a 1×1.5 inch box. This mimics how people view an actual flag from a distance. If your design overwhelms the 1×1.5 inch box, it will be too complex to discern on a flag. We highly recommend watching this entertaining and enlightening TED Talk from Roman Marslinks to external site. It will help you understand how best to structure your design. 

What are our submission guidelines?

  • Designs must be submitted between 9:00 a.m. October 3 and 5:00 p.m. December 31.
  • Designs must be original.
  • Designs must be positive in spirit.
  • Designs with religious symbols will not be considered.
  • Designs construed as hateful, defamatory, or discriminatory will not be considered.
  • Designs with references to alcohol, drugs, or illicit activities will not be considered.
  • Failure to comply with any of these rules will result in the design being eliminated from competition.
  • Designs submitted become the property of the city and we reserve the right to amend designs or combine the design elements of several artists.
  • Designs must be accompanied by an artist's statement of 150 words or less. The artist's statement should accompany the submission including what the colors/symbols represent.  
  • Entries must be submitted by someone 18 years of age or older. Artists under that age must have a parent or guardian sign the entrant agreement and submit it on their behalf.
  • Artists may submit multiple entries.
  • View complete challenge rules here (PDF).

How can you submit an entry?

There are two ways to submit your artwork: 1) submit digital artwork online; 2) download a template (for over 18 year old entrants or one for submitting on behalf of a minor) and draw your submission on the template and take it to a Scottsdale library during business hours anytime between 10/3 at 9 a.m. and 10/27 by 6 p.m. You will be required to complete and sign an entrant agreement before submitting your design.

Physical submissions must be on the template that they can either download from the website or pick up a copy at any Scottsdale library location. There will be a space to fill out the artist details and artistic statement, or it may be attached. We will only accept the first 150 words of any submitted artist's statement.

Digital artwork should be one of these file formats: JPG/PNG/PDF. It should be 72 dpi minimum or up to 300 dpi (recommended). The final size should be a 3:5 ratio or around 500 x 300 pixels.

What is the design selection process?

Entries will be collected 10/3 - 12/31. Submissions meeting the City’s submission guidelines and challenge rules will be assembled and presented to members of the Neighborhood Advisory Commission. Members of that commission will have received education and guidance on flag design elements and will consider those guidelines in examining the entries.  After viewing the anonymous designs and accompanying statements, the NAC will narrow the group of designs, secure public input with the help of staff, and then present a recommendation to the City Council for final decision.  

Submit Entries Online

Digital artwork should be one of these file formats: JPG/PNG/PDF. It should be 72 dpi minimum or up to 300 dpi (recommended). The final size should be a 3:5 ratio or around 500 x 300 pixels. Artwork must be accompanied by an artist's statement no longer than 150 words.

Submit Online

Submit Physical Entries

Designs submitted physically must be on one of these provided templates. Artwork created by artists under 18 must use the Minor Template and be submitted by a parent or guardian. Printed templates will be made available at Scottsdale librarieslinks to external site

The public may submit completed artwork at any Scottsdale librarylinks to external site.


Download Template - over 18

Download Minor Template