Josh Lipman

Josh Lipman

Evanston Township High School
he/him/his

Student Design: Standing Together on the Shore of Excellence and Equity

1.  How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 
I am a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I am passionate about the environment and climate issues. I plan to pursue a career where I can develop technologies that solve problems and make the world a healthier and more sustainable place to live. The flag I designed represents my commitment to the environment and a healthier planet by using bold green and blue background stripes to highlight the County’s important land and water areas, including its vast forest preserves and rivers, canals, and Lake Michigan shoreline, which we all need to conserve and protect.

2.  Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?
My high school graphic design teacher Mr. William Simos recommended that I join the Flag 2021 competition. I decided to join the competition because I thought it would be a fun opportunity for me to strengthen my creative design and communication skills and be a part of Cook County history.

 3.  What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?
When researching Cook County, I was surprised to learn that it has one of the oldest and largest forest preserves in the United States which protects 77,000 acres of public land and provides a huge variety of recreational opportunities for the public, including hiking and biking trails, sledding hills, cross-country skiing, golf courses, boat launches, aquatic centers, fishing, campgrounds, and even a zipline and adventure park.

 4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s).
I first met with my flag mentor/partner, Jim Kelly, the Executive Creative Director of closerlook, inc., on Sunday, December 6, 2020 after the Chicago Bears game and over Zoom. Jim encouraged me to think outside of the box and not limit my design possibilities by initially trying many different design ideas. We talked about some basic design principles and how each individual part and color on the flag I designed should have a purpose in order to communicate a message about Cook County. Jim also recommended websites with color selection tools used by designers, which was very helpful as I am color blind. After narrowing my design options and agreeing on two final design ideas with Jim, I selected and finalized my best flag design idea along with the description of the design.

Drew Duffy

Drew Duffy

Glenbrook South High School
he/him/his

Student Design: The I Will Banner Flag

  1.  How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 
    I have a variety of interests and this flag reflects several topics which are important to me. I love spending time in nature on the North Branch Trail and that was a big inspiration for my flag, as seen with the Y mimicking the river, path, and forest. I also am a firm believer in the power of protest and the social change that can occur which is what the bold red star symbolizes.
  2. Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?
    When I was younger, my Mom bought me a book of flags where I matched all the countries in the world to their flags and I have been fascinated with flags since then. Look no further than Chicago to see how a well-designed flag can become intertwined with a place’s culture and civic pride.
  3. What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?
    I never knew about the progressive work done by women from Jane Addams’s Hull-House and the many ways they impacted the justice system, like pushing for the world’s first juvenile court system.
  4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s).
    I was so lucky to work with one of Cook County’s incredibly talented graphic designers, Martin Burciaga. When I first met Martin, I knew we were a great match because of our shared love of history and passion for this project. At first, all I had was a marker-drawn sketch on a notecard. Martin used his amazing skill set to tweak and transform the flag into the beautiful image you see today. Martin and I made a great team for this project and I am really proud of our work!

Cyrill Reyes

Cyrill Reyes

1.  How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 
Our flag designs are influenced by the Northern Cardinal, Illinois state bird. The Cardinals are very resilient to a lot of things so I thought that the Cardinal would be a great representation of our county, especially during the past 2 years.

2.  Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?
I wanted to join the flag competition because I really wanted to try my hand at something big in life. I saw the flag as an opportunity to leave some sort of legacy that my generation made.

 3.  What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?
I learned that Cook County is the 2nd most populated county in the U.S.

 4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s).
On the day we first met up and introduced ourselves, our mentor, Lisa, gave very helpful insight on what the judges had commented on our flags. Gabe, my partner, shared his flag which had good ideas that I thought would be worthy to add to the final product. From there, we recognized the weaknesses and strengths of our designs and began making concepts together and individually on our own time. Weeks passed and after spending time after zoom calls thinking deeply about what we were gonna do, and playing around in gimp and Illustrator, Gabe and I eventually created 2 flag concepts that encompassed the best of both of our initial flags. Thanks to Lisa, we were able to get the ideas and prompts looked at from the 2nd pair of eyes, and as well as giving us the green light to submit two designs.

Gabe Classon

Gabe Classon

William Fremd High School
he/him/his

Student Design: The Cardinal’s Path Flag

1.  How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 
Of Cook County’s many virtues, I am perhaps most proud of our incredible history of and dedication to progress, which the design evokes with a leading central stripe that suggests upward motion. The prominent multi-faceted charge also has significance in representing the many parts and peoples that make the County whole, which I take to heart as a person with a multicultural background. The design—like the County, each of its residents, and myself—has also taken influences from Chicago, the state of Illinois, and the United States more broadly; it’s no coincidence that it incorporates our County seat’s star, our state’s bird, and our nation’s colors.

2.  Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?
I’ve been interested in vexillology and local governance for a long time. When I saw an announcement for the Flag 2021 competition in Palatine High School’s Cutlass, I knew that I had to shoot my shot.

 3.  What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?
The incredible story of Daniel Pope Cook, our County’s namesake, who was influential in the statehood and anti-slavery movements in Illinois.

 4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s).
Cyrill and I came into this project with different ideas of where we wanted to go with it. Over the course of several weeks, we worked together to come to an understanding of what we each —with our different backgrounds and perspectives—felt was most representative of Cook County and how we could incorporate those ideas into a cohesive, beautiful, and meaningful symbol. Lisa was instrumental in facilitating those conversations and guiding us toward our goal. In the end, I think we created something great together and couldn’t be prouder of our work.

Maeve Clifford

Maeve Clifford

she/her/hers

1.  How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 
The flag to me represents my love for the state of Illinois. It shows how I think we can better the state by being more environmentally conscious and being more friendly to others that live in this state too.

2.  Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?
My high school teacher showed us the contest and gave us the assignment of creating the new Cook County Flag. I was really excited when she told us about this contest because I thought it would be such a fun experience to be apart of no matter if my flag was chosen or not.

 3.  What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?
What surprised me was how many districts there actually are in Cook County.

 4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s).
My flag mentor was Jonathan Meitus and my partner was Noami Balderas. Noami and I would FaceTime a day or two before our Zoom call with Jonathan to put out ideas to help combine our two flags together. Each week we would go on a Zoom call and throughout ideas to make the flag the best it can be. I really enjoyed my time working with Jonathan and Noami and could not have asked for a better group.

Simon Koziol

Simon Koziol

1.  How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 
My flag symbolizes two important traits/values, that is, 1. Perseverance and 2. Understanding. Through these two traits this flag represents me as I persevere through life’s many challenges, and also try to understand different aspects of life and the people who exist in it. In that way my flag embodies my philosophy, my soul, and my creativity as a human being.

2.  Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?
Through the centuries, people have united under flags or symbols to face the challenges of the day. My hope is that this flag would be able to heal the wounds of our society and bring people together under one goal; Prosperity for all.

 3.  What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?
An observation that I made throughout the journey of creating this flag is seeing how important and expansive the roles that Cook County fulfils, so that the average citizen would be able to thrive.

 4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s). (3-5 sentences)
I remember a particular moment in which my mentor Mr. McNamara, recommended switching my original flags six-pointed star to a seven pointed star. The reason was to show familiarity with the Chicago City flag, yet staying original. In that particular moment a lightbulb when off in which the many ideas for the flag came and allowed me and my mentor to create the flag you are currently looking at right now. Something familiar, but also something original.

Ilyas Munzir

Ilyas Munzir

he/him/his

1.  How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 
 
When I look at the flag, I see distinct elements that come together to form a whole. Much of who I am is reflective of the different cultures and ideas I have been exposed to growing up. I believe the diversity of cultures I have experienced has improved me just like it improves this flag. 

2.  Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?
Local government can sometimes be daunting, especially for young students. This competition seemed like an avenue of civic engagement that was more relatable to what I enjoy.

 3.  What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?
I had never explored the history and tradition of the county and I was surprised by how extensive all of it was.

 4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s). (3-5 sentences)
I got to work with Steve Batterson on designing the flag. We attempted to focus on the story behind the design as much as the design itself. I enjoyed unearthing some of the reasoning behind elements of the flag and diving into what story a flag could tell. We landed on a flag design that I think encapsulates a great narrative that represents our county.

Kyle Trzaskus

Kyle Trzaskus

he/him/his

1. How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 

The flag represents how the people of Cook County can stay connected under a flag no matter the distance between them. I love how the flag has more flair than most flags.

2.  Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?

I was in my graphic design class at ETHS and one of the assignments was to make an entry to this competition. It started as a fun project but has turned into an amazing experience.

3.  What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?

One thing I learned about Cook County is that it has the biggest forest preserve in all of Illinois.

4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s).

The whole process of going over my flag design with my mentor, Heather Anderson, was a very fun and educational experience.  I’ve learned a lot about what colors look good together and the overall design of the artwork. She helped me make all of the flag’s pieces have the same length. My submission started as an inconsistent sketch brought to life by my Adobe inventor, to a flag that I am proud of.

Alex Tomy

Alex Tomy

Maine East High School
he/him/his

Student Design: The Harmony Flag

  1. How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about?  (2-3 sentences)
    As a whole, the flag is representative of Cook County, the place I’ve lived for the past 15 years of my life. Individually, each part of the flag represents some important part of Cook County; whether it be the blue representative of the police force, Lake Michigan, and sky or the white representing the snow and rivers of Cook County. One element in particular that I really like is the star in the middle, a homage to the iconic star on the Chicago flag. 
  2. Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition? (2 sentences)|
    A teacher that taught my friends (Om and Jaylen) posted about this competition, and they in turn let me know about it. As someone who has long been interested in graphic design, I was excited to hear about such a unique and rare opportunity so I drafted and submitted a design. 
  3. What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you? (1 sentence)
    Reading the “Cook County By The Numbers” page helped me learn a lot of surprising facts about Cook County. For example, I was surprised to learn that 1.5 million people received care at Cook County hospitals and there are 9 total regions of the Cook County Forest Preserves.
  4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s). (3-5 sentences)
    Working with my mentor, Denny, was very fun and insightful. His feedback improved by design a great deal from what I started with. In one meeting, we were going over alternate colors and I was blown away with how much better the flag looked after a color change suggestion from Denny. Overall, it was a great experience and I hope to maintain a connection with him even after this competition.

Harmony Flag

About The Harmony Flag

My flag is named “Harmony” because it is a symbol of peace and unity. The top of the flag is blue to represent the dedicated Cook County police force, our clear blue skies, and Lake Michigan.

The bottom half of the flag is colored green to represent Cook County’s forest preserves. The white line in the middle represents the 13 rivers of Cook County and doubles as a tribute to our cold winters filled with snow.

The semi-circles in the inner middle are the initials of Daniel Cook, the founder of cook county, (Cook, Daniel: C,D). The semi-circles come together to suggest the shape of a “C” for “Cook County”. The Y formed by the white lines creates the silhouette of the Chicago rivers meeting.

In the middle, lies a 9-pointed star, to represent the 9 regions of the Cook County Forest Preserves. The star is colored orange-red and sampled from the lettering on the current flag.

Alex Tomy

Alex Tomy (he/him/his)
Student Designer

Denny Liu

Senior Designer
The Office of Experience

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