Partner & Creative Strategy Director, Simple Truth
Design Mentor: Green, Gold and Great
Design Mentor: Green, Gold and Great
Although this name stems from two of the flag’s three main colors, it is more than a simple description of the flag. Green describes both the forest preserves and parks as well as the county’s ongoing commitment to be a model of sustainability and eco-friendliness. Gold describes the county itself as well as its status as a prosperous center for economic growth and development. The word greatness pays homage to Lake Michigan as one of the Great Lakes as well as the county’s influence within Illinois, the United States, and the world.
Nickname: “The Life Line”
This nickname comes from the slanted shoreline where the county, parks, and lake meet.
When I see the forest preserves, I see green. I see a sprawling field of grass surrounded by a thick wall of trees. I see birds swooping down from branch to branch and squirrels scurrying about. I see a picnic blanket being spread under the shade, kites soaring in the sky, old friends catching up on a bench, and a runner passing by. I see laughter, joy, wonder, excitement, and serenity. I think about the sanctuary the park and preserves provide for all kinds of life. I think about the birds huddling in tree knots to escape the elements, the crisp air that fills my lungs, and the constant beauty of the parks through the seasons. That’s what I hope you see in green.
When I see the water, I see blue. I think about the lake, both the mystery of its depth and the beauty of its surface. It protects marine life and conceals lost vessels while glimmering in the sun. I think about the river system, both its power and serenity, stretching from the lake to the Big Muddy. I see currents crashing into the hull of ships while calming waves wash up against the riverwalk. I think about how the water flows through our city, running through our pipes and filling our faucets and how all this beauty, power, mystery, and serenity sustains our county. That’s what I hope you see in blue.
When I see the county, I see gold. I think about sitting on the L. As I look out the window, I can see the dragons dance. The next stop brings frantic students flipping through their textbooks. The doors open once again and a couple struggling to carry their shopping bags strolls on. The train stops and the scents of garlic and oregano pasta and pizza smothered in marinara sauce waft in. Next walks on a man bickering on his phone trying to close a million-dollar deal. The train keeps rolling. I peer out the window to see the brightly colored murals painted on walls. Over the sound of the tracks, I hear the soulful music of a saxophone being played on a street corner. Not long after, I begin to smell the savory saffron, cumin, and coriander of biryani cooking in a nearby restaurant. As I look up, I see the towering buildings that seem to soar into the sky. That’s what I hope you see in gold.
The flag features 5 horizontal stripes, one for each of the county’s regions. These stripes alternate between green, which symbolizes the county’s collection of forest preserves and parks, and gold, which symbolizes the county’s status as an economic and cultural center as well as the importance of justice and civic duty. The stripes meet a blue, symbolic of Lake Michigan, on a slant which is indicative of the shoreline where the lake meets the county. At the flag’s center is an emblem — a white ring with a six-pointed star inside. This emblem represents the city of Chicago as the county’s seat and economic and cultural epicenter. The star in the emblem and the white color are references to the Chicago flag, and like those iconic stars, this star’s six points are also meaningful. Here, the points of the star represent the six crucial facets of the county: Healthcare, Environment, Transportation, Justice, Commerce and People.
Ilyas Munzir (he/him/his) Student Designer
Partner & Creative Strategy Director Simple Truth
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.