Speak Your Piece | 13: Season 3, Ep. 13: A New Flag for Utah? A New Brand, Along With the Familiar

Date: November 15, (Season 3, Episode 13; 32 minutes long). To see the complete show notes (including  “topics discussed in time,” and photographs) Click here for the Utah Dept. of Culture & Community Engagement version  of this episode. Are you interested in other episodes of Speak Your Piece? Click here to see all the episodes.

Podcast Content: What is a vexillologist? It’s a flag expert, a person who deeply understands both the art and the near-scientific aspects of flag design, the symbolism used, along with the and the usage of flags (from personal, to national, to international organization flags). 

Vexillologist, or flag expert, Ted Kaye, speaks with SYP host Brad Weswood, for the second time, to lay out, as simply as possible, the essential aspects of good flag design. Kaye served on the committee which selected Salt Lake City’s new flag in 2020. He also advised some years ago the unsuccessful Salt Lake Tribune’s campaign for a new flag for Utah.

The Utah Legislature, Governor Spencer Cox and Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson, are all exploring the idea of a new flag for Utah. Earlier this year we produced the episode, “Run It Up the Flagpole…” Utah Considers a New State Flag  in which the two legislators who sponsored the bill(s), Stephen Handy and Daniel McCay, along with local political Ron Fox, talked about the origin of this idea, and the history of Utah's current flag. To further explore this proposal, Kaye speaks on the purpose of flags, and the importance of an efficient and “easy to identify” flag design.

Kaye speaks on the five basic principles of a good flag design, as mentioned in his pamphlet Good Flag Bad Flag. Kaye discusses why some flags score low on the NAVA (North American Vexillological Association) ranking and the reasoning behind the redesigning of so many city and state flags. Kaye believes that a great flag design takes on a timeless quality and is appreciated and embraced by a prospective citizenry. The process for Utah’s new flag has been extended for another year, giving all Utahns the opportunity to get involved and to “speak their peace” about this proposal. As of March 2022, over a thousand individuals have “thrown their hat into the ring,” offering their own designs regarding a new flag for Utah.

Bio: Ted Kaye has consulted on the adoption of new flags at the city, state, and national level. In the past, Kaye has worked as a chief financial officer for the company Wygant and was employed by the Oregon Historical Society. Kaye has edited and translated many journals, newsletters, books, and over 2,000 articles on flags. Kaye has researched and presented papers at national and international flag-studies conferences. Kaye is currently the secretary of the North American Vexillological Association.

Do you have a question or comment, or a proposed guest for “Speak Your Piece?” Write us at “ask a historian” – askahistorian@Utah.gov 

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