Cook’s Path

The field of blue is split in two by Cook’s path: below, the blue is water, representing Lake Michigan and the waterways of the County, natural assets which have formed the foundations for our prosperity. Above, the blue is sky, representing the drive that has allowed the County’s residents to achieve in unenumerable ways. The single, six-pointed star in the canton symbolizes the unity that the County finds in its diversity; it shines a white light of hope that guides the County along its path.

Cardinal’s Path Flag

The Cardinal’s Path Flag

The flag includes a symbol reminiscent of the Northern Cardinal in its upper left-hand corner. The Northern Cardinal is the Illinois State Bird, bearing a brilliant red coat that stands out even in the wintertime, reflecting the resilience of the County. The symbol’s five red feathers signify the five missions of Cook County: commerce, transportation, healthcare, environment, and justice. It also includes a six-pointed star, representing the union of six regions—North, Northwest, West, Southwest, South, and the City—into one County. The unobstructed blue sky in which the cardinal flies represents the limitless opportunity that has allowed the County’s residents to achieve in unenumerable ways. The white snowy path below reflects a guiding path of hope toward a brighter future. The red earth underlying it all is the County’s history, which informs the path and must never be forgotten. 

The flag’s creation was a collaboration between two students of different backgrounds and municipalities incorporating the strengths of each of their individual designs, recognizing and respecting the unique qualities of what each had to offer, rather than building off of their own flags individually. The creation of the flag inspires a message of unity and that difference doesn’t stop people from making something amazing.

Lisa Lee

Executive Director
National Public Housing Museum

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.

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