• Cook County Government will celebrate 190 years in January 2021. We want all County residents currently attending high school (grades 9–12) to help design the new County flag, or #FLAG2021.
  • The winning design will be the official banner of Cook County Government, flown in all County operated locations and raised above Daley Plaza next January in a ceremony marking the introduction of #FLAG2021.
  • Scroll down to submit online at cookcountyil.gov/flag2021, email your design to flag2021@cookcountyil.gov, or mail the entry form (or a physical flag!) to 118 N Clark St, Room 436, Chicago, IL 60602
  • DEADLINE: November 1, 2020



GEOGRAPHY: Consider any or all of the following—the Forest Preserve, Lake Michigan, the rivers which run throughout the County and feed the lake. There are six main geographic regions of the County–the City of Chicago is the County seat (capital) and the five suburban regions (North, Northwest, West, Southwest, South).

MISSION AND HISTORY: Cook County has played a large role in the development of the modern United States, providing HEALTH CARE, regardless of ability to pay; TRANSPORTATION AND ROADWAYS, including the major local expressways and work at the airports; comprehensive provision of the JUSTICE System; a commitment to the Preservation of the ENVIRONMENT and Forest Preserves; and as a Center of COMMERCE for the nation.

PEOPLE: Cook County is home to people who come from all over the nation and the world, with many different groups of residents coming together to make one county of over 5.2 million people.


DOs and DON’Ts

DO give your flag a name—provide a title which speaks to the geography, mission and people.

DO describe what your flag’s colors, symbols, shapes and patterns represent (an example: a star on your design has a number of points, share what each point means). Every meaning should be explained.

DO submit your flag by November 1, 2020.

DON'T use any text, lettering, or numbering–the colors, symbols, and patterns should represent the flag's meaning.

DON'T use the Cook County seal, map, or existing flag.

DON'T use too many colors–a maximum of four is suggested but a flag with more will still be considered.

DON'T include small, detailed or hard to see design elements – from 100 yards away, a 3' x 5' flag appears smaller than your hand – the new Cook County flag will be reproduced in many small versions, including mini flags, logos, pins, etc.


HOW TO ENTER: Online, paper and cloth entries will all be accepted. Multiple entries are permitted and welcome! Student information will be requested and may require verification should your design be selected as a semi-finalist.





Resolution establishing the #FLAG2021 Advisory Panel introduced



Letters sent to schools introducing the contest, the rules and the timelines, promotion via social media, traditional media outlets

January–November 1

Contestants prepare entries

November 1

Deadline to submit entries

Fall 2020

Advisory Panel evaluates and selects semi-finalists

Semi-finalists honored at Cook County Board Meeting

Semi-finalists will be paired with volunteer design professionals who will work closely with the semi-finalists to refine their designs


January 15

Refined designs of 25 semi-finalists unveiled on 190th anniversary of Cook County's founding

Winter 2021 (TBD)

Advisory Panel selects five finalists for final consideration by the Cook County Board

Cook County Board is sent five finalists to select new County Flag

Board deliberates on flag designs

The new County Flag goes into production: Daley Plaza Flag, building flags, 3x5s, small flags, flag pins, uniform patches

Spring 2021 (TBD)

The new County Flag is introduced, Flag Raising Ceremony Daley Plaza, flags replaced outside at County facilities

Flag Exchange Ceremony with municipalities in Daley Plaza


Indoor office flags, uniforms with flags replaced at discretion of officeholders over time



Entries will be accepted via this online submission form until 11:59 p.m. on November 1, 2020. You may also submit via email to flag2021@cookcountyil.gov or by mailing a completed paper form (or any physically constructed flag, cloth, felt, or otherwise) to 118 N Clark St, Room 436, Chicago, IL 60602.

Please note that your name should not appear within the flag image; please only put your name and other identifying information in the online submission form below. Reviewing submissions will be anonymous and the panel will assign a number to your entry. 

Include a flag title and explanation of its various elements, colors, and symbolism. This will be presented to the panel along with your flag design. As noted above, do not reveal personal information in this description. 

Designs must be submitted either as a 3x5-inch (or 3:5 ratio) drawing or JPEG/PDF/Vector image. (Physical submissions may be larger than 3x5 inches yet must adhere to the 3:5 ratio.) A resolution of 900x1500 pixels works well, and please no files larger than 3 MB. 

Entries should use solid colors, the same image on both sides, and be the original work of the artist. Students under 18 must submit entry with parent/guardian permission, be a Cook County resident and in high school, grades 9–12. 

All entries become property of Cook County Government and will be considered in the public domain. The student will relinquish all rights to the design. The panel reserves the right to alter, modify, or combine designs to create an official Cook County flag. 

Questions? Need help with your submission or formatting? Email flag2021@cookcountyil.gov and we’ll be happy to help. 

Please list the best email address to reach you, including over the summer.
Please enter the full name of your school – no abbreviations.
Describe what your flag means for the judges–the various colors, symbols, shapes and patterns. Everything that has meaning in your design should be explained.
Files must be less than 5 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png pdf.