Students launch campaign to redesign Naperville flag

The city flag that denotes Naperville doesn't do it well enough for a group of high school students who have launched a campaign to design a new one.

Six students from Neuqua Valley High School say they've gathered 20 design submissions since launching their campaign Friday at

"We got the idea to enrich the culture of Naperville by launching the campaign for a new Naperville flag," said Connor Tenny, one of two students who told the city council of the plan Tuesday night.

The students are accepting design submissions from Naperville residents and those who work in the city through mid-June in hopes of unveiling a new flag in November at the TEDxNaperville ideas conference.

"Naperville's current flag is in a dire need of a facelift," student Andy Wang said.

The logo for the banner was created on Jan. 21, 1974, by a panel called the Community Appearance Advisory Board, according to a Curious Curator column in Positively Naperville by Bryan Ogg, curator of research at Naper Settlement. The flag features a tree, a river and small buildings to represent housing, industry and churches.

But the small buildings are difficult to see from far away, students said, and a new flag could do better at highlighting the city's best elements.

"Our flag can and will be a source of pride for the community," Wang said.

Council members praised the students for their "Naperville pride" and for taking the initiative to launch the contest.

But some of them brought up technical details that prove coming up with a new flag for a city of 145,000 isn't as easy as choosing the best among designs submitted online.

The students say they want the community-designed flag to be something that could be flown by businesses or clubs to show their allegiance to Naperville.

"I would be proud to fly it on my business whatever you guys come up with," council member Becky Anderson said. "I think it's a really cool idea."

But the city's 42-year-old flag is protected by provisions in the municipal code, which restrict its use by outside groups, city attorney Jill Wilger said.

With legal restrictions related to using the city's official logo, council member Judith Brodhead said it might be better if what the students come up with becomes an unofficial flag instead. Council member Kevin Gallaher said there must be a way to welcome a new city flag without changing the municipality's official logo.

"I like the idea of having a flag we can all fly proudly," Gallaher said. "I don't see any of these issues as insurmountable."

Mayor Steve Chirico said he thinks a flag redesign, if desired by the community, should be part of a broader rebranding effort, which would come with a cost.

"I love to see the enthusiasm," Chirico said. "Let's see where it goes."

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