The City of Salmon Arm’s new flag has prompted internet vexillographers to produce their own designs.
News of the municipality’s chosen flag design, published by the Salmon Arm Observer on Tuesday (May 11) was greeted with mixed public opinion — weighted heavily towards criticism of the design.
A few commenters on the Observer’s Facebook page championed the design as being consistent with the city’s logo and branding. This, however, was one of the reasons why the flag failed to fly with others.
A repeated sentiment was that the flag looks more like a business card.
Commenter Matthew Heneghan said, “I’d hope to see a little more uniqueness to represent the splendor that is Salmon Arm,” while Helen Barker called the flag a functional failure stating, “Who can decipher it when it’s flapping at the top of a pole? Unlike a symbol or picture.”
The flag happened to catch the attention of CBC municipal affairs reporter, collector of B.C. municipal pins and vexillologist (someone who studies flags) Justin McElroy, who shared a picture of the flag, and his opinion of it, on Twitter.
“It is my sad duty to inform you that salmon arm has WASTED an opportunity to design a new flag writing words on a white blanket is not a flag,” tweeted McElroy, whose post prompted a flurry of feedback, including many alternative flag designs for Salmon Arm.
all of you who immediately designed better flags for salmon arm are today's true heroes pic.twitter.com/0kAElDUOnN
— Justin McElroy (@j_mcelroy) May 11, 2021
“All of you who immediately designed better flags for salmon arm are today’s true heroes,” responded McElroy.
Some of McElroy’s heroes offered flags featuring a salmon with a muscular arm, a design submitted to the city back in February by J.L. Jackson Grade 9 student Sadie Maddigan.
The fish, Maddigan explained, is native to the area, while the arm represents the strong connections residents have to one another, “and that we have our beliefs held tight in our fist.” Maddigan used purple in her flag to represent Salmon Arm’s laid-back nature, orange for fish eggs and Salmon Arm’s fertile future, and blue to represent the lake and how much it’s depended upon.
Maddigan was one of teacher Ryon Ready’s Sciences Humaines students who submitted a package of flag design options to the city after studying flags in school. A letter included with the students’ designs noted a flag should be simple and meaningful — and without text or logos.
“We should have a flag that represents Salmon Arm for Salmon Arm; we shouldn’t have to read it,” offered Tegan Schielke and Hannah Mackie in one of several letters included in a package submitted by the Grade 9 class to city council.
At the city’s May 10 development and planning meeting, councillors were shown the five flag design options, each based on the city’s branding guidelines and carrying the Small City, Big Ideas brand. Couns. Sylvia Lindgren and Tim Lavery opposed the chosen design.
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