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Columbia Business Monthly

Design League and City of Columbia Announce Adoption and Ratification of a New City Flag

Mar 11, 2020 09:26AM ● By David Dykes

The Columbia Design League, in partnership with the Columbia City Council and Mayor Steve Benjamin, announced adoption and ratification of a new City of Columbia flag.

City Council Resolution R-2017-010, adopted by the Columbia City Council on Jan. 10, 2017, established an open design competition for a new city flag. 

The effort, which was facilitated by the Columbia Design League and One Columbia for Arts and Culture, resulted in the submission of 547 designs. Of the submissions, 18 designs were identified as top finalists. 

After Council’s review of the finalist entries and the more than 7000 ratings and comments provided by the public on each of the designs, city officials determined that additional design criteria should be considered, with the hope of arriving at finalist designs that most accurately reflect Columbia’s history and spirit. 

Following the review of submissions based on the new guidelines by the top five designers from the initial process, Columbia City Council selected a design and voted to approve the design as a new City of Columbia flag.

When Columbia was founded in 1786 as a new planned city to house South Carolina’s state government, Senator John Lewis Gervais proclaimed the city would be a place where residents would “find refuge under the wings of Columbia,” referring to a personified Columbia, often depicted as a goddess-like female figure. 

Since then, wings have continued to be a recurring symbol in the City of Columbia identity. Wings were represented as part of the city’s “rise from the ashes” following the burning of the city in February 1865.

The flag adopted by City Council was designed by the design studio and print shop The Half and Half, which is located in Columbia. 

The flag design has a field of navy blue that connects the city flag to the flag of the State of South Carolina. The light blue harkens back to the city flag utilized for most of the 20th century. The flags symbols include a six-pointed star that identifies Columbia as a capital city and represents the resilience of the city in the face of past challenges. 

The three sections of the bold abstract wing shape represent the three rivers that converge together in Columbia and are a vital part of the unique identity of the city.  

“I am thankful for the leadership of the Columbia Design league, One Columbia for Arts & Culture, and the thousands of citizens and friends of Columbia that gave life to this process. The beautiful end result is a flag that represents the past, present, and future hopes & dreams of this great city.” Benjamin said.

The design is available for download at and the design is copyright free.

The Columbia Design League is an affiliate group of the Columbia Museum of Art. The group works to educate others about design excellence, and to broaden understanding of how good design affects nearly every facet of life.

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