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Duluth's New Flag Announced

Dec 23, 2020

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The new flag for the city of Duluth designed by Blane Tetreault, Amelia Tetreault, 11, Bridget Tetreault, and Eleanor Tetreault, 9, all of Duluth at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon. 


A new design could soon fly high over Duluth.

After a monthslong process, a new flag design will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration on Monday. The banner features dark blue, white and green ripples cutting across a lighter blue background, with a yellow star placed at the top.

Flag designer Blane Tetreault said he’s proud and humbled to have his family’s design forwarded for final consideration.

“We're really proud to have a symbol of the city and to design something that will just mean something to us as a family, but will mean something to everyone in this city,” said Bridget Tetreault, Blane Tetreault’s wife.

Blane Tetreault said his design team — made up of him, his wife and their two daughters — made around 20 designs. All designs had a common theme: A focus on Duluth’s natural features, while trying to be simple and elegant.

“I think it's pretty easy to design something representative of Duluth, because it has so many ... natural features that are easy to project,” he said.

The banner’s bottom dark blue section represents Lake Superior; the green ripple reflects the hillside and north woods; and the larger light blue section represents a blue sky, Blane Tetreault said.

The gold star placed in the middle of the blue is the North Star, but also speaks to the Native American and voyageur history of the area, he said.

And the three waves that are made up by the green and white lines reflect the town’s three hills: Thompson Hill, Enger Hill and Hawk’s Ridge, he said.

The flag closely reflects a flag once pushed by the Minnesotans for a Better Flag initiative, which aims to replace the current state flag with a modern design. The better flag movement started in 1989, and "The North Star" flag also includes green and yellow ripples cutting through a blue background, with a yellow star placed above.

The initiative to select a new flag started when the City Council adopted a new comprehensive plan. This was one of its first initiatives resulting from it, said Adam Fulton, interim director of the city planning and economic development department.

“We had to start to decide on what projects we could try to implement first, and this was one that was definitely transformative. And it's also one that is very community-driven,” Fulton said.

The city first formed a flag committee earlier this year, then accepted and received 195 public submissions for possible designs. It also garnered public feedback via a survey to learn what the public wants in a flag, he said.

“The intent there was to really get broad community participation, to get everybody's voice in how this should proceed,” Fulton said.

After several rounds of judging that narrowed the selection to nine flags, two of the finalists were accused of plagiarism.

To decide the final design, Fulton said the committee and Mayor Emily Larson made a recommendation to the council based on design, public feedback and public polling done via an online form and public library polling stations.

The design will go to a final vote before the council on Monday, and Fulton said he hasn’t heard any questions from councilors about it.

The daughters of Blane and Bridget Tetreault, who attended the interview on Wednesday, said they thought it was “cool” they helped with the winning design. Amelia Tetreault, 11, and Eleanor, 9, said their friends are “surprised” and may have to work hard to convince friends that they actually did help with designing what could be Duluth’s new flag.