City of Toledo Flag Design Competition

Help design Toledo's next flag!

The City of Toledo is holding a competition for proposed redesigns of the Toledo flag, facilitated by The Arts Commission.

This initiative aims to engage the community in reimagining the city's visual identity and unify residents around a new flag design that reflects Toledo's spirit and values. A Design Review Board (DRB) composed of community members and design experts will guide the redesign process. 

Individuals must reside in the City of Toledo to participate in this redesign effort. Design submissions will remain anonymous throughout the process, ensuring a fair and unbiased evaluation of each entry.

Three finalists for the project will receive cash prizes for their designs. Second and third place will receive a $1000 cash prize. The first place winner will receive a $3000 cash prize.

Click here to view guidelines for submission.

Entries must be submitted by August 28, 2024.

Submission Guidelines

Eligibility

Individuals must be a resident of the City of Toledo to participate in this redesign effort. Submissions by those under 18 years of age will be accepted ONLY with a Consent, Release, Transfer and Waiver of Liability Agreement signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Members of the City of Toledo Flag Design Review Board and their immediate family are not eligible to submit designs to this competition.

Consent, Release, Transfer and Waiver of Liability Agreement

Designs are NOT eligible if they:

Are generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Contain religious symbols, depictions of violence, gang, or sexually-related material, nudity, profanity, or political images or themes.

Are construed as hateful, defamatory or discriminatory.

Are incomplete or submitted after the deadline.

Have references to alcohol, drugs, illicit or illegal activities.

Any such designs will be discarded.

Submission Requirements

Submissions must include:
1. Contact information for the individual who designed the flag (name, address, phone number, email, and age).

2. If a designer is under 18 years of age, their parent or legal guardian’s contact information must be submitted and the designer’s parent or legal guardian must submit the Consent, Release, Transfer and Waiver of Liability Agreement. Except as otherwise excluded by law, be advised that each Participant’s submission becomes a public record which may be disclosable under the Ohio Open Records Law.

3. A written description (250 words or less) explaining the design and color choices in the flag, what it symbolizes, and how it represents the City of Toledo.

4. A brief statement (100 words or less) on the Participant’s connection to the City of Toledo.

Once submitted, each design submission will be considered anonymously. Do not put your name or identifying information on the image itself or in the designer’s statement. A number will be assigned to each entry. Participants will not receive feedback about their submissions from the Commission.

Participants may submit one (1) design.

Designs should be provided in a digital file (PDF preferred) no smaller than 600 x 1000 pixels (3:5 ratio).  Digital designs should be rectangular and submitted as full-color, high-resolution in landscape format. Photographs of submissions that are created in mediums other than digital are acceptable. The image should fill the frame of the photograph. Physical submissions will not be accepted.

Designs must be original and may not include copyrighted content.  Participants must review these Guidelines and Criteria and certify and warrant, among other things, that they are the original creators of the design, that the design is not copyrighted or trademarked, was not created or enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI), and has not been published previously. A Participant’s design will not be considered unless all documents are provided.

Design Review Board Process

A Design Review Board (DRB) will be assembled to review all eligible submissions. Through a series of meetings and votes, the DRB will narrow the pool to the eight (8) highest scoring submissions. Residents of Toledo will have the opportunity to submit an online and in-person survey indicating their preferred design. The DRB will review the survey and use that information to inform the final design and two runners-up. The final design will be submitted to City Council for final adoption.

Selection Criteria

According to “Good Flag, Bad Flag:  How to Design A Great Flag” published by the North American Vexillological Association, designs should be created with 5 basic flag design principles in mind (which will inform part of the evaluation criteria the DRB will use to review the designs) The criteria is as follows:

Simple design

Design should be rectangular in shape and so simple that a child can draw it from memory and can be easily recognizable from a distance or when it is reduced/enlarged.

Uses meaningful symbolism

Images, colors, or patterns relate to what they symbolize, as described in the entry

Uses 2-3 basic colors

Limit the number of colors to three which contrast well and come from the standard color set.

Be distinct or related

Design should represent a cohesive theme with related components that connect with the City of Toledo.  Avoid duplicating other flags, but may use similarities to show connections.

Enduring appeal

Design should reflect the City of Toledo’s shared history, values, aspirations and diverse cultural communities.

Written description

Description explains the design and color choices, what they symbolize, and how they represent the City of Toledo. Description is depicted in the flag design.

The design should be easily displayed on a 3’ by 5’ cloth flag to be flown on a flagpole. Please consider how the design may appear when draping and when blowing in the wind; and when displayed beside the Ohio and United States flags.

Event Schedule

Important Dates

Submission Portal Opens
June 28, 2024
Submission Deadline
August 28, 2024
Design Review Board (DRB) Voting Begins
September 4, 2024
DRB Reviews Round 1 Voting Results
September 12, 2024
Second Round of DRB Voting
September 13, 2024
DRB Reviews Round 2 Voting Results
September 19, 2024
Momentum Festival
September 20-22, 2024
DRB Reviews Community Feedback
September 27, 2024
Final Selection Announcement
January 7, 2025

History of the Toledo Flag

First Flag: 1909-1994

The first flag of Toledo was adopted by the Toledo City Council on January 11, 1909. The flag features a vertical, blue | white | blue, tricolor with a blue circle and a blue circular outline around a red, simplistic illustration representing Fort Industry. The Mayor at the time, Brand Whitlock, explained the flag's symbolism with the red, white, and blue color scheme as a reference to the colors on the flag of the United States. He also stated that the blue circle outline around Fort Industry represented unity, completeness, eternity, and the state of Ohio.

Source

Second Flag: 1994-2024

The second and current flag was adopted in 1994, and replaces the Fort Industry symbol with the newly updated city seal of Toledo. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner approved the new flag in the run up to Toledo's 160th anniversary that took place in 1997.

Source