The Cascadia Department of Bioregion is proud to announce the completion of our first bioregional flag design workshop held in New York City, in the Laurentia Bioregion of North America. It included attendees from the three North American bioregions of Cascadia, Piedmont and Laurentia, and focused on how bioregional flags differ from national flags, and the importance of symbols that represent place.
We discussed the power of flags as representations of ideas, movements and bioregionalism as our theory of change. A bioregional flag is a symbol of the land, place and people - and it is the goal of the Department of Bioregion to invest and empower every person to build the symbols they want to represent themselves. Not one flag or value - but thousands, and who better, to design flags than the people who fly them?
Attendees at our workshop used stories and photographs from their bioregions to explore symbols that represent them. They then chose colors using images from their bioregion after a primer on color theory, as well as basic vexicollogy and flag hierarchy.
While pointing out certain exceptions, we followed these simple steps:
Keep it simple, so simple a child can draw it from memory.
Use meaningful symbolism.
Use two to three basic colors.
No lettering or seals of any kind.
Be distinctive or be related.
This lead to a breakout session where everyone was able to design a digital flag mock-up, with an explanation of corresponding meanings and relevance to their Bioregion. This enabled us to provide a brief primer on bioregionalism, and to get every person thinking and learning about the boundaries of their own region.
Bioregional flags are special in that they have an ability to further decolonize the world. Most national flags have a colonial past, even celebrating violence, subjugation and slavery. A transition to bioregional flags offers the opportunity to celebrate place by reframing identity around the watersheds that unite us, and not the erronious borders that divide us. They’re also a generative and inclusive manifestation of the abundant beauty of the bioregion they fly in.
If you’re interested in attending a bioregional flag design workshop, reach out to us!
We’d love to see not one flag, but thousands representing an alliance of global watershed based movements. You can sign up for later updates of workshops below, or contact us if you are interested in hosting a bioregional flag making workshop in your town or bioregion.
For further study of flag design, we recommend the TED talk linked below about why most city flags are so poorly designed, and how to make them better.