Colfax City Flag Design
Visually, the field of flag design can be interpreted a couple ways, and they both have merit.
1) It’s the sky, the Skunk River, the hill, and spring water beneath the hill.
2) It’s the new water (Quarry Springs), the Skunk River, and the legendary mineral spring water.
Like the logo (and city seal), we kept the slope that is symbolic of Colfax being a city on a hill. This slope is a distinctive feature of the city, and it’s also a distinctive feature of the flag.
Many flag designs utilize straight horizontal or vertical lines. Our wavy lines design sets this flag apart while staying within the confines of good design principles.
The history of Colfax is all about water, so choosing blues from our color palette to symbolize water is the right move. The classic, off-white color from our palette that fills the space visually representing the Skunk River gives us a nice contrasting color element that not only looks good, but also fits with the rest of our branding.
The two blue fields represent Colfax historic connection to mineral water and new connection to the lakes found at the newly annexed Quarry Springs Park. From the 1870s to the 1920s people visited Colfax to drink and bathe in the artesian mineral waters seeking cures for various ailments. A century later, Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), which are birds-of-prey known for fishing, came to Colfax to fish at Quarry Springs Park, whose lakes are spring fed and have much less turbid water than other Iowa bodies of water. These birds came to experience the abundant fishing of Colfax’s bodies of water, much like past human tourists flocked to Colfax for the mineral water industry.
The flags field, with the wavy lines, instills a sense of calmness. To balance that out, the mighty Osprey who are found in greater numbers in Colfax than anywhere else in Iowa, instill a sense power and might to balance out the wavy lines. The mighty osprey has a remarkable lift to weight ratio. This means the osprey, unlike other fishing birds-of-prey, can take off from the water at a dead stop. Osprey weighing in at 3 lbs, can carry a fish weighing 4 lbs. By comparison, eagles weigh 12 lbs, and can only carry a fish of 5lbs. The uplifting Osprey can rise to the occasion, much like the people of Colfax whose City is on the rise.
The Osprey appears in the color Anthracite. Not only does this color pair better with our selected blues hues than black does, the color anthracite represents Colfax’s history with coal mining. It was coal miners who discovered Colfax’s famous mineral water.
The United States uses an eagle as a national symbol, Iowa’s Flag has an eagle, and our local school uses the fictional ‘Tigerhawk’; it seemed only natural for the City to also have a bird-of-prey as part of its symbolism. In the Iowa flag the eagle is holding a ribbon. To mimic this, the Colfax flag’s osprey has a fish, the osprey’s primary food source, in its’ talons. The imagery is similar to the Iowa flag representing our place in this beautiful state.
When designing Colfax’s City Pennon, we wanted to tie in our other branding elements and keep it simple, much like the other branding elements the pennon design has interesting symbolism relating to Colfax’s past.