Juneau, AK

Please Read – Not long after writing this post, I discovered the flag of another Alaskan city, Seward, which bears a great resemblence to some of my redesigns for Juneau (you can find an image of Seward’s flag on the city’s Wikipedia page). I want to take the opportunity to apologize if it appears that I copied the work of another flag designer. When I created my redesigns of the flag of Juneau, I was completely unaware that such a flag existed. My redesigns are my own original creations and not in any way attempting to steal another flag’s design and call it my own.

Please reach out to me if you disagree or have any comments about my original redesigns.

Hey, Fanatics! I’m excited to share this post of “Flag Redesign” with you. Today, we are investigating the flag of Juneau, Alaska and taking a look at my attempt to design a proper flag worthy of this beautiful city. Without further ado, let’s jump in!

Juneau is the capital city of the state of Alaska. Population-wise, the city is small, with about 30,000 residents; however, the municipality consists of over 2,700 square miles of land. The city cannot be reached by car, as there are no road networks connecting the city to the rest of Alaska.

The area of Juneau was long inhabited by members of the Auke and Taku tribes, who used the land for fishing and hunting. It’s estimated that some of the tribes’ villages are over 750 years old. The tribes continued living in this area without any colonial interference until the late 19th century. About 13 years after the Alaskan territory was purchased by the United States from the Russian Empire, two American settlers, Joe Juneau and Richard Harris, established a gold mining village on what is now the City of Juneau. The village grew larger as more and more prospectors from America settled nearby, hoping to cash in on the gold deposits in the area.

This increase in population continued into the 20th century and Juneau replaced Sitka as the Alaskan territory’s capital in 1906. Juneau would hold onto this title when Alaska was admitted into the Union in 1959.

As a capital city, one would expect there to be a flag for Juneau, but my research found no official flag. According to the North American Vexillological Association’s city flag survey, the flag of Juneau consists of a variation of the city logo on a light blue field. However, I reached out to some state and city agencies and both were not aware of any official city flag. Additionally, I did not locate any flag flying outside of city hall from any online image or street view. One official I spoke with stated that in events where a city flag was needed or used, the flag was typically just the city logo. This supports NAVA’s flag survey findings and, because of this, I chose to highlight NAVA’s design as Juneau’s “current” flag.

The unofficial flag of Juneau, Alaska

As with most flags using a logo on a solid background, Juneau’s unofficial flag fails to adequately represent the city and its residents. We can do better. 

What do I envision for a flag for the City of Juneau? Well, I included a lot fewer designs in this edition of “Flag Redesign” because I felt there were too many in prior posts. I also found that most of my designs were simply different versions of the same idea. And with so many designs, I come off as indecisive. In this post, I aimed to shorten my list of final designs as a self “vote of confidence” in my work. So here are my four designs that would make for great flags for the capital of the 49th state.

The first design (and all four of my designs) has a 2:3 dimension, my favorite ratio for flags. This design has a blue canton with a five-pointed star in gold. The canton has a gold border on the bottom and fly sides. This border was inspired by the supposed pre-1970 city flag of Juneau, which is detailed by NAVA in their flag survey. At the bottom of the flag are two horizontal light-blue stripes, representing the waterways in and around Juneau. The star represents both the North Star (as depicted in Alaska’s flag) and Juneau’s status as Alaska’s capital. The gold and dark blue used in the flag are also borrowed from Alaska’s flag. 

Star and Rivers

My second design, “Gray Peak”, keeps Polaris in the canton, but removes the border. Instead, on a dark blue background, is a gray, upside-down “V”, which represents the mountains in Juneau.

Gray Peak

I admit this third design is similar to my second one, but I wanted to have a design that represented both the mountains and rivers in Juneau. In this design, the bottom part of the mountain is a light blue, to represent the waterways of Juneau. Additionally, the mountain is white instead of gray for a better contrast between the two shades of blue.

Mountains and Rivers

The last design follows a similar pattern as the previous flag. With this one, however, I  extended the mountain out, creating a tricolor design of dark blue, white and light blue. The gold star, like my other flag designs, is in the canton.

Tricolor

Some might feel that my four designs are a bit too similar and that’s a valid point. However, I would argue that my designs hold common symbolism which represents Juneau’s geography and standing as the capital of the great state of Alaska. And as I have expressed in the past, I think the best symbols for flags are typically the ones that are clear and discernable from afar. My belief is that the above four designs follow this rule while remaining esthetically pleasing. Most importantly, I believe any of the above designs would make a fantastic flag for the City of Juneau.

You are free to disagree, though! I encourage you to vote below and let me know if you like any of my flag designs. I can’t thank you enough for stopping by and look forward to seeing the results of the poll.

Thanks for reading.


Sources

Douglas Indian Association Tribal Government. (n.d.). The A`akw Kwáan & T`aaku Kwáan Tribal History. Douglas Indian Association. Retrieved 2021, from https://diataku.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/DIA-Tribal-History-Brochure-Booklet-edited-7-21-17.pdf

Juneau. (2020, December 10). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/place/Juneau

Purcell, J. M., Croft, J. A., & Monahan, R. (2003). American City Flags: 150 Flags from Akron to Yonkers (E. B. Kaye, Ed.). North American Vexillological Association. https://nava.org/digital-library/raven/Raven_v09-10_2002-2003_p162-200_J-L.pdf

United States Census Bureau. (n.d.). City and Town Population Totals: 2010-2019. Census. Retrieved 2021, from https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/popest/2010s-total-cities-and-towns.html