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Note: PFFBMT stands for "Proposed Flag for Billings, Montana."

The Current Municipal Flag Design[edit]

The current municipal Flag of Billings, Montana that was adopted in 1986 is a “Canadian-like" triband of very dark blue and white with the city logo/seal on the white panel. This seal/logo shows the Billings skyline with its skyscrapers in blue-on-white line draw with red sun disc and large rim, lined in blue with red capitals reading "Star of the Big Sky Country".

Superimposed on the bottom of this design a red panel with "Billings" in commissioned words, with larger, swash initial "B" and "S" between which tails, on white, "Montana" in tiny blue capitals. In 2004 NAVA conducted an internet survey of 150 city flags across the US and Billings' current flag ranked 106th place out of the 150 flags surveyed, 3.35 points on a 0-10 scale/D+.[1] Words defeat the purpose: why not just write “United States of America.” on a flag? A flag is a graphic symbol and symbols are more well...symbolic than wording and are nearly impossible to read from a distance, hard to sew, and difficult to reduce to lapel–pin size. Words are not reversible—this forces double– or triple–thickness fabric. NAVA members and the general public closely parallel each other on judging the quality of flags.

Michael Riedel's Proposed Municipal Flag Design[edit]

The Proposed municipal flag of Billings, Montana as designed by Michael Riedel, a Billings resident and a NAVA member.

My Latest proposed 3:5 proportion municipal flag for Billings, Montana is a yellow field with a radiating sunshine rays from the center. The rays can also be a wheel spokes, representing Billings as a radiating center for commerce and trade. The Yellow field represents Yellowstone County. This flag uses the RBG color model below.


Color Code
R: 174 G: 28 B: 33
R: 254 G: 196 B: 43

Reasons For A New Flag Design For Billings, Montana[edit]

The current municipal flag design('s)...

  • is complicated, not colorful & not recognizable.
  • words are not good symbols.
  • photographic representation of the skyline are not suitable as flag symbols either.
  • seal does NOT represent all of Billings; Billings is way more than its Downtown Core.
  • seals belongs on paper documents.
  • curved lines are more expensive to fabricate.
  • seal can't be read or seen from a distance or be seen on a lapel pin..
  • gets a low rating (D-) or 106 out of 150 on NAVA’s 2004 city flag internet survey.
  • will have to be modified if the skyline changes, which will cost money.
  • fails to follow the principles of good flag design[2].

Michael Riedel’s proposed municipal flag design('s)…

  • clean, simple, unique, symbolic, colorful & visible.
  • represents ALL of Billings.
  • colors contrast and are from a basic and standard color set.
  • gives all of Billings an identity and a sense of unity & pride.
  • straight lines are less expensive to fabricate.
  • can be made into lapel pins.
  • can be made into a seal.
  • has colors, symbols and shapes that are meaningful.
  • won't need to change if the skyline changes.
  • is rooted in our traditions and open to the future.

Case Studies[edit]

The following municipalities have redesigned their flags inspired by NAVA's 2004 City Flag survey...

Final Thoughts[edit]

Cities with great flag designs see those flags flown everywhere, creating a sense of civic cohesion and citizens tend to fly city flags that are simple and attractive. The basic colors used in flags are red, blue, orange, yellow, gold, green, light blue, dark blue, black, and white. Turning once again to cases, among world flags Canada, United States, Norway, Japan, United Kingdom, Israel, Greenland and a few others are considered excellent.

A flag should be simple, readily made, and capable of being made up in bunting; it should be different from the flag of any other country, place or people; it should be significant; it should be readily distinguishable at a distance; the colors should be well contrasted and durable; and lastly, and not the least important point, it should be effective and handsome.

By updating the flag design, Billings, Montana can create a new symbol that can bring its citizens together. And most of all, design a flag that looks attractive and balanced to the viewer and to the place, organization, or person it represents!

After the 2004 NAVA City Flag Survey, some comments from the public include:[3]

  • "A flag should be symbolic; if you’ve the name of the city written on it I think you’ve missed the point."
  • "If the results of this survey prompt a city to change a flag for the better, it will be worth it."
  • "I wouldn’t want to live in a city with a flag like a mediocre company logo."
  • "A good flag should be able to be identified with out any writing on it."
  • "The best flags do not merely incorporate a seal; they incorporate the icons, colors, and patterns of the region."
  • "The worst city flags might be mistaken for the city’s tourist campaign logo."
  • "Some look like each member of the city council took a turn adding something to a sheet."
  • "Tell everyone to stop writing all over their flags. This would help immensely."
  • "The purpose of a flag is non-verbal expression. Flags are condensed expressions of emotion. They are a link between the experiences and the emotions we have."