My hometown of Coventry is the 2021 UK City of Culture. Shortly after it was announced the BBC launched a competition to right the historic wrong of Coventry not having a flag, naturally I jumped at the chance! Here's my entry & design process.
Coventry’s three spires have dominated the skyline for most of the cities’ history & are particularly well known as one of them stands within the old cathedral ruins that were bombed during the Blitz.
Probably the oldest Coventrian symbol, the legendary Lady Godiva has been familiar to all Coventrians since her (probably fabricated) naked ride through the city’s streets.
Coventry rose from the ashes in the postwar era and the Phoenix symbolises this. It appears on the coat of arms & the logo of Coventry University.
Appearing on the coat of arms, multiple sports team logos & every bollard in the city, the Elephant has been Coventry’s animal for centuries.
The city has an industrial heritage with many industries and inventions being associated with it. To represent this I have selected cogs as their circular shape lends itself very well to flag design.
Not a Coventry symbol, but I want to experiment with using a curved shape to build a C shape. This influence comes from the pictured flag of Colorado, USA.
Using the 6 pieces of imagery explained above, I got to work on different designs, here is my shortlist. The colours used are Coventry’s civic colours (red, green and gold) & varying blues (used by the council and most sports teams).
Top 3 Designs
I designed many flags, but unfortunately (or luckily) the competition limited entries to one per person, so I narrowed it down to a top 3 to choose from.
A strong and powerful elephant on a hard industrial cog to create an image of Coventrian grit. On several occasions Coventry was briefly the capital of England so I referenced the English flag with a dark cross.
March of Godiva
A silhouette of Lady Godiva on her famous white horse looks forward towards Coventry’s future. A spire shape is placed behind her to illustrate this & also references the cathedral spires.
The Spires & Stripes
A tricolour featuring stripes of dark blue (representing the industrial past), white (representing the peaceful present) & sky blue (representing the bright future).
In the centre three spires pierce the sky as they do in reality.
I selected the Spires & Stripes as my entry. From a design perspective I appreciate that the tricolour style gives it a nice balance with or without wind & the spires create a unique variation on the form.
I also selected it for personal reasons, as a teenager my friends and I used to hang out (read: loiter) around the cathedral grounds (it was also a perfect spot for band photoshoots). As Coventry is my hometown and vexilology is an interest of mine, it only felt right to go with the option that held the most personal meaning for me.
The Public Vote
From hundreds of entries, my flag was chosen by the UK Flag Institute as one of the six to be voted on by the public!
All flags went under varying levels of redesign before being revealed, mine included.
Unfortunately, I came up a bit short and despite a good reaction from many people, my flag lost to the sole Lady Godiva flag in consideration.
Nevertheless, this was a brilliant project & I’m happy my hometown finally has a flag!