Little Rock, AR

Hey, Fanatics! It’s another “Flag Redesign,” a series I thoroughly enjoy. Today, we are back in the continental United States to visit and reimagine the flag of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Little Rock is a major City and capital of the state of Arkansas. Situated on the Arkansas River, Little Rock has been a major center of trade and culture in the state.

The City’s name comes from French explorer, Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe, who, in 1722, while exploring the Arkansas River in what was then the Louisiana territory, noted a rock formation which he called, “la petite roche” (“the little rock”).

Little Rock became an important location after the creation of the Arkansas Territory by the United States in 1819. The City (at that time, just a very small collection of homes) served as a stop for settlers and traders travelling along the Arkansas River. Its importance was further cemented when it was declared the capital of the newly-formed state of Arkansas in 1836.

Not long after the outbreak of the Civil War, in 1861, Arkansas seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy. Two years later, Little Rock would be the site of the Battle of Bayou Fourche, which resulted in the Union takeover of the City.

Little Rock continued to see growth after the Civil War and into the 20th century. The City made front-page news in 1957 after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka declared public school segregation unconstitutional. In September of that year, the Governor of Arkansas attempted to stop nine African-American students from entering Little Rock Central High School by deploying the State’s National Guard. However, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the Army to intervene and enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling at the school.

The City is now the home of almost 200,000 residents and the site of the Clinton Presidential Center, established for Bill Clinton, former governor of Arkansas and an Arkansas native.

Flag time!

The flag of Little Rock is fairly new: adopted on October 18, 1988. The design, created by David Wilson, was selected in a contest hosted by the city. According to the city ordinance that adopted the flag, there are many meanings to the symbols/colors used in the flag:

As the official flag of the City of Little Rock, its symbolism is described as follows: A clean white background of the banner represents the optimism and open potential that the city has to offer. The royal blue horizontal broad stripe symbolizes the Arkansas River which borders Little Rock, and has served as an economical and historical emblem since the city’s beginning. The forest green stripe runs vertical to the royal blue stripe, creating a cross which symbolizes the location and statute of Little Rock—a city serving not only as the crossroads of Arkansas, but a crossroad of the mid-southern United States as well. The strong forest green color depicts the fields, parks and forests which contribute to the natural beauty of the city. The seal of the flag is a modernized adaptation of the current Little Rock seal. The razorback red silhouette of the great State of Arkansas shows her capitol, the City of Little Rock, represented by the centered star. The star rises directly above “The Little Rock”—the protruding cliff along the Arkansas River, which was discovered in 1722 by French explorer La Harpe, when the city was given the name. The Arkansas River behind the rock and the symmetrical oak leaves in the border of the seal are a stylized illustration of what the flag’s stripes represent—the natural beauty of the city. Finally, the gold color of the seal and bordering stripes symbolize the superior economic history, and the future economic potential that is available in the City of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Little Rock, AR. Ord. No. 15,566, §§ 1, 2 (1988).
The flag of Little Rock, Arkansas

As we have encountered in many of the previous Flag Redesign posts, the flag of the City of Little Rock greets its observer with a busy seal. Whenever I witness a flag like this, a part of me dies. In spite of this, I must admit that I like the meaning behind the flag design choices. It captures the history of the City in a small canvas. Unfortunately, the details are too small to be noticed by anyone observing the flag. If there was no wind and this flag was in front of City Hall, no one could possibly identify the symbols.

My proposed redesigns for the flag of Little Rock are much more conservative than my prior flag redesigns. I chose to keep much of the original design choices because I think Mr. Wilson was close to finding the ideal design. I also attempted to keep the same color palette as the current flag. And, as I typically do, I kept the flag ratio of the current flag, 3:5. So, without further ado, let me present my four redesigns.

The first design is the most conservative of them all. Using the current flag, I simply removed the yellow border lines from the green and blue stripes and replaced the seal with a simple star within a circle. It’s clean, easy to discern from a distance and captures some (but not all) symbols of the original design.

Crossroads A

This second design is almost identical to the first, but I swapped the colors of the charge border and star. This gives the charge negative space which I think works well with the blue and green Nordic cross.

Crossroads B

My third design proposal is, again, similar to my previous two flags. With this design, however, I chose to make a wavy blue stripe to better represent the Arkansas River. The charge’s border and star also share the same color of yellow, to better highlight the charge on the flag.

Arkansas River A

And, finally, my last proposal. I played around with the color palette, but kept most aspects of the design the same as in my other proposals.

Arkansas River B

Those are my four proposed flags for the City of Little Rock. You might find they are too similar to the City’s current flag, but I chose to do this on purpose. Mr. Wilson was close in finding a proper flag for the city; it just needed to be simplified and cleaned up a bit. You may disagree with my decision, and that is perfectly fine! It’s the reason I have a poll at the end of my redesigns where you can pick your favorite flag or tell me my attempts were a swing-and-a-miss.

Thanks for reading!