Cook Tricolor

The “Cook Tricolor” is an attempt at a unique, simple, and striking design. The flag is a modified tricolor using the colors green, white, and blue to represent Cook County’s three regions: the suburbs, the city, and Lake Michigan. I chose to use green to represent the suburbs for their association with parks and forest preserves. Contrasting the suburbs, the city of Chicago is represented by the color white because of its prominence on the flag of Chicago. The blue represents Lake Michigan. The colors green, white, and blue also represent three phases of Cook County’s history: green representing Native Americans (as used by the Algonquin people), white representing France (as used by French royalty in the eighteenth century), and blue representing the United States (as used on American military uniforms since the foundation of the country). The tricolor is modified to show the shape of the county, including the lakefront. The use of the shape of the county is a simple design that unites everyone within it; Cook County is one of the most diverse counties in the United States and trying to represent the many groups of people in the area would result in a crammed flag similar to Milwaukee or Montreal. In addition, the design is a unique symbol to Cook County, and something that will immediately be recognizable as coming from the County as supposed to be a vague design.

Dynamic Tricolor Flag

The Dynamic Tricolor Flag

This design for the new flag is a simple and striking solution, using 3 fields of color with a single star at its center. The blue field on the “east” represents our great Lake Michigan with its signature shoreline symbolized along the edge. The angled white field represents the Chicago and urban areas of the county, a dynamic region that sits between the blue lake and the green spaces to the west. The green field represents the more suburban regions with their many parks and vast forest preserves. The centered red star, with its many angles coming together from different directions, represents not only the cultural diversity of the people of the county but also the fact that Cook County is the hub of transportation and commerce for the region, while giving a nod to the City of Chicago stars. (The five suburban regions could also be represented by the blue bands on the right).

This flag powerfully symbolizes the unique aspects of Cook County in a simple, strong, and sharp design that will proudly fly overhead.

Alex Calabrese

Alex Calabrese

 1. How does the flag you designed represent who you are and what you care about? 
The design reflects my connection to where I live. It emphasizes the pride I feel in my county and country. 

2.Why did you decide to join the Flag 2021 competition?
I have always enjoyed designing flags for fun, and this was a good opportunity to participate in that.

3. What did you learn about Cook County that surprised you?
The emphasis of the County as a center of trade and commerce was not something which I included originally, but developed as an important aspect.

4. Tell us a short story about your collaboration with your flag mentor/partner(s).
The incorporation of a central five-pointed star was not something I had originally planned on. My original design was significantly simplified, but my mentor believed that incorporating more aspects would improve the design. It was fun to try out different aspects and symbols before settling on the final design.