Residents and city officials gathered at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Feb. 24 for a ceremonial raising of Lincoln’s new flag. The celebration featured Ed Mejia, the graphic designer and local art director behind the design.
“People come from everywhere,” Mejia said during the ceremony. “They stop in Nebraska; they settle the land, they start businesses, tech businesses, big businesses, small businesses. I’ve met so many of them. This flag is in honor of all of them.”
Mejia’s design was one of over 190 submissions entered in a contest held in the summer of 2021 titled ‘ReFlag Lincoln.’ The contest was coordinated by members of Lincoln’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and the Lincoln Young Professionals Group. Submissions came from a wide range of applicants, from professional designers to flag enthusiasts.
Whitney Hansen is the former president of AMA Lincoln and was on the eight-person committee that chose the winning design. She said the flag raising came at an opportune time, and she was glad to be able to interact with people in person.
“Getting to see the fruit of our labor of the last year is really fun,” Hansen said.
Mejia said he drew inspiration from the capitol building for his design, titled ‘All Roads Lead to Lincoln.’ He took a balanced approach to designing the flag and said he hopes that people will think about the meaning behind the flag when they look at it in the future.
“The flag is very centered,” Mejia said. “This is not about left wing or right wing; it’s not about the past only. It’s not just about the future and aspirations. It’s really about a moment in time.”
According to an announcement from the city, native artwork displayed inside the Capitol and art deco architecture also inspired Mejia. Among the imagery pictured in the flag is the traditional center of town, a star located at 13th and O Street. Additionally, each color on the flag represents a different aspect of Lincoln. The teal green symbolizes the nature of the city, the deep blue represents groundwater aquifers and the gold reflects a bright future.
Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird was also in attendance at the ceremony and said Mejia’s design reflects unity, common identity and hope. She said the design honors Lincoln’s local history and the importance of agriculture and natural resources to the city.
“When I look at the new flag, I see a beacon of light.” Mayor Gaylor Baird said. “I see a welcoming spirit, I see a place that is inclusive and I see a city that’s on the rise.”