The Rochester Flag Project

A symbol of Rochester, a symbol for its people



Here are the 12 finalists that went up for voting through the public and our trained panel of judges. Keep an eye out for announcements soon!


Round 2 voting finished... 

Voting for Round 2 has finished and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 16th.  After that the Final Round public vote of the 12 winners from the 2 rounds will take place May 16th through June 24th.  Be sure to stay connected with the project through our Facebook page and Instagram!


Winners of Round 1 Announced, Design Round 2 open now until Jan. 19

With the first round of our Flag Redesign Contest wrapped, we're pleased to announce the top three finishers in the public vote and the judges vote! With this announcement also comes the launch of Round 2 of the design contest. A great opportunity if you didn't get a design submitted in the first round or a great way to submit an additional design. Click here to read the full press release.

Public Vote Winners:

First Place, #50, Leo Ariemma, Woodbridge, ON, Canada

Design statement: ‘The principle behind the design was to draw on the current flag and modernize it to better represent the City of Rochester today. The blue band across the middle represents the Zumbro River, which runs through the city. In the center of the flag, is a circle similar to the current design representing Silver Lake with a Canada goose flying
ahead. Flanking the symbol are two stars to signify the city's past and its future. The colors are also symbolic: Blue represents freedom, yellow happiness and prosperity, and white peace and honesty. The simplicity of the design allows for easy use of the flag at city events and on merchandising.’


Second Place, #27, Joe Uessem, Dusseldorf, GDR

Design statement: ‘I, myself, am not from the city. My girlfriend though can't stop talking about her old home. The misfortune that burnt down her family's house and the possibility to start over again in Rochester are the most defining points of her life. The support that her family got from the good citizens of Rochester gave her strength to not lose hope.
Hope, Support, Love: this is what the City of Rochester stands for and what I want to show in my flag design. The design consists of three colors: The silver (white) lining separates the green ground (Which traditionally stands for hope.) and the blue sky (Blue stands for happiness and serenity.). The white goose does not only stand out on the darker background, it also flies towards freedom which the viewer expects out of the flag's boundaries. Geese and Rochester have a special connection, and whenever I see a Canada goose, I think of the city. I am sure that many people feel the same way about
those beautiful animals.’


Third Place, #10, Jeff Bell, Rochester, MN

Design statement: ‘The letter R stands for the city of Rochester while at the same time the R’s intersecting strokesrepresent the two rivers (Bear Creek and South Fork Zumbro) that meet in the heart of the city. The two stars representtwo seminal events in the city’s history. The first star represents the city’s founding in 1854. The second star represents
the tornado of 1883 that decimated much of the city yet set into motion events that would lead to the creation of St. Mary’s Hospital and the lasting relationship forged between Mayo Clinic and the Sisters of St. Francis. Separately, the color blue represents sky and endless possibility. White represents winter and the resilient spirit of the Northern Plains.
Red represents blood and the common humanity we all share as citizens. Finally, the gold borders represent the Golden Rule which remains a noble framework for life and citizenship.’


Judges' Board Vote:

First Place, # 12, Brandon Hundt, Minneapolis, MN

Design statement: ‘If Rochester is known for anything, it’s for being the home to the best medical facility on earth, the Mayo Clinic. This is represented in the form of the the Greek cross, a symbol frequently associated with medical care. The quadrisection represents the crossroads Rochester sits on, from the founding of the city on a wagon trail to the highways of today. The two shades of blue represent the Zumbro River and the companies that call Rochester home -- like IBM (Think Blue), that help to drive the city’s modern economy.’


Second Place, # 30, Donald L. Buske, Rochester, MN

Design statement: ‘Star: Rochester is a Minnesota star city. Blue: A symbol for industrial/manufacturing. Red: A symbol for education/performing arts. White: A symbol for medical/faith.’


Third Place, #1, Masao Okazaki, Tokyo, Japan

Design statement: ‘The red heart and open white hand, in caring unity, symbolize the relationship of the Rochester health care system to the city’s residents and visitors. The 10-point star combines 5-point stars representing Minnesota and the United States and symbolizes Rochester’s importance to both of them. The medium-blue background symbolizes the sky and waters of our great state.’



A community volunteer group has come together to raise awareness about a rather unknown symbol of our city - our flag.  We believe that the current flag does not represent our city as a whole, is poorly designed based upon basic flag principles and can better represent who Rochester, MN is and the history that has shaped our community into who we are today...and where we strive to go tomorrow.


Why do we need a new flag?


Did you know Rochester even has a flag?!

Probably not unless you've seen it as part of the recent news coverage...and that's the problem. A flag is a symbol of a city, a symbol of a community. Just as a logo is to a brand, a flag can be for a city. In cities and states that have wonderfully designed flags, you see them everywhere! From business windows, patches on backpacks, tattoos on forearms, designs on clothing, to of course flying on flagpoles! They stand out as iconic. They stand as a point of pride where one is from or even as a momento representing where one has traveled to. Most Minnesotans can more likely identify the flags of Colorado, Wyoming or California flying before that of Minnesota's - a seal with writing to small to see on a blue background flying 75 feet in the air, and unlike that of other state flags that have done the same uninspired "design."

The flag of Rochester suffers from similar issues - it's designed to be more of a seal, something you hold in your hand at close distance. Combined with the fact that it has intricately designed elements and text, it fails at the basic level of good flag design.


GOOD flag design


What makes "good" flag design...

We can't recommend enough, take 18 minutes of your day and be entertained/educated/inspired with this TED talk by 99% Invisible's Roman Mars.

1. Keep it simple

A child should be able to draw it from memory.

2. Use meaningful symbolism

The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.

3. Use 2-3 colors

Limit the number of colors on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard color set.


4. No lettering or seals

Never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal.

5. Be distinctive or be related

Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections.


*Information from


How Rochester will move towards its flag


Flag design contest

The Rochester Flag Project committee is putting together the process for a community based design contest. We hope to have everyone from elementary students to professional artists submit their Rochester flag designs and have the Rochester community vote on their favorites. More details will be announced shortly and will then be found under "Contest."