City Flag Contest 2019

Winning Design - Little Apple on the Prairie

Congratulations to Kim Medvid whose design “Little Apple on the Prairie” was selected as the City of Manhattan flag design contest winner. A total of 3,021 ballots were cast through online and in-person voting for the new City of Manhattan flag. The Little Apple on the Prairie design won with 29% of the votes.

“This has been a good process that generated a lot of community interest,” said Assistant City Manager Dennis Marstall. “It’s clear that people embrace the ‘Little Apple’ nickname and want to celebrate our the City’s location in the Flint Hills.”

Artists as young as eight years old and as far away as Sweden participated in the contest, submitting 120 designs for consideration. All of the designs had meaningful symbolism that reflected the spirit of the heartland and Manhattan’s unique heritage. The winning design represents Manhattan as a land of growth and opportunity, with the “Little Apple” rising out of the Flint Hills. The colors also have special significance:

  • GREEN: fertility of the land, opportunity for growth, and the native grasses of the Flint Hills
  • BLUE: The Big Blue and Kansas Rivers, peace, and the expansive sky over the prairie
  • WHITE: Manhattan’s limitless future

The next step will be for the City Commission to consider adopting the voters’ choice at the August 20 meeting. The new flag design will pair with the existing City of Manhattan logo and will be used as one of the symbols for the City. Flags will be flown at City Hall, and in other locations around the City.

little apple on the prairie design option C

Meaning of the flag colors

GREEN: fertility of the land, opportunity for growth, and the native grasses of the Flint Hills

GOLD: sunshine and agriculture, prosperity, and the friendly nature of Manhattan residents

BLUE: The Big Blue and Kansas Rivers, peace, and the expansive sky over the prairie

WHITE: Manhattan’s limitless future

PURPLE: K-State, the figurative and geographical heart of Manhattan as a college town

A - Ring of Stars

ring of stars design option A

The two blue stripes represent the Big Blue and Kansas Rivers, which border Manhattan.

The stars represent the Kansas State motto Ad Astra per Aspera (to the stars, through difficulties).

The number of stars honors the five City Commissioners who govern the City, the five officials in the 1855 Constitution of the Manhattan Town Association, as well as the founding members of Bluemont Central College in 1859, which became Kansas State University.

B - Shining Star of the Prairie

B - shining star of the prairie

The wave going through the center represents the Flint Hills. Its green interior is symbolic of fertility and growth. Its gold edge symbolizes the native grasses and sunflowers that Kansas is known for, as well as prosperity and agriculture.

The blue half of the design represents the expansive skies of the Kansas prairie.

The star ties in with the state motto, and reflects the position of Manhattan in the northeast of Kansas.

C - Little Apple on the Prairie

little apple on the prairie design option C

The apple rising out of the hillside symbolizes the city's progress and development as a land of opportunity, and recognizes Manhattan's nickname as "The Little Apple." 

The shape of the hillside is a reference to the gently rolling Flint Hills, and the green color represents the wealth of natural resources in the area. 

D - Rolling Hills

rolling hills design option D

The green represents fertility, growth, opportunity, and the distinctive native grasses of the area.

The gold sun represents the gorgeous sunsets in the region, as well as the wealth of resources, and bright future of the community. 

The five stars in an arch over the upper half of the “coin” tie in with the state motto The stars represent the Kansas State motto Ad Astra per Aspera (to the stars, through difficulties). 

The number of stars honors the five City Commissioners who govern the City, the five officials in the 1855 Constitution of the Manhattan Town Association, as well as the founding members of Bluemont Central College in 1859, which became Kansas State University.

E - Sunflower

E - sunflower

The gold represents the Konza Prairie, as well as the positive energy and optimism of Manhattan residents.

The sunflower represents Kansas as the Sunflower State. Its purple center honors K-State University, representing the wisdom and pride of Manhattan, and the apple in the center is a nod to Manhattan's nickname "The Little Apple." 

The blue stripes represent the Big Blue and Kansas Rivers, which border Manhattan.

F - Confluence

confluence design option F

The triangular formation of the blue and the gold symbolizes the city and the nearby confluence of the Kansas and Big Blue rivers. Their colors, as mentioned on other designs, represent native grasses, sunshine, agriculture, prosperity, friendliness, and peace.

The stars represent the Kansas State motto Ad Astra per Aspera (to the stars, through difficulties). 

The number of stars represents the five City Commissioners who govern the City, the five officials in the 1855 Constitution of the Manhattan Town Association, as well as the founding members of Bluemont Central College in 1859.

G - Heritage

heritage flag design option G

The chevrons represent the U.S. Army enlisted rank insignia, a head of prairie grass, as well as the shaft of an arrow. The left Chevrons represent Fort Riley, west of town, and our culture shaped by the Fort. The Right chevrons represent Manhattan’s agricultural roots, the rich grasslands, as well as the Native Heritage of the Kaw Nation.

The white diamond represents the City of Manhattan, its civic pride and the pursuit of progress. The purple diamond nested in the white diamond represents K-State University, the figurative and geographical heart of Manhattan as a college town. 

Blue stripes at the top and bottom signify the Big Blue and Kansas Rivers that border Manhattan.

Contest Details

The City Flag contest started as an idea back in July 2018, when a City Commissioner mentioned a TED Talk about good flag design. After watching it, staff decided to do an informal public survey on social media to see how folks felt about the flag, if they knew we had one, and if they might be in favor of a new image. 85% of Twitter respondents thought a new design would be a good idea, so the flag contest was born!

120 submissions were received from artists as young as 8 years old and as far away as Sweden. A collage of all their submissions is below. People put their hearts into the work, showing creativity and courage. No prize money was or will be involved in the contest at any point. The winner will receive no compensation for their work.

After the entries were submitted, we worked with members of the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board, employees, and community members to select a list of finalists.

Designers on staff at the City took a look, made a few final changes, and the final designs were released to the public. Voting is available online or in City Hall until 5:00 p.m. Sunday, July 14. 

The City Commission will have the opportunity to adopt the community's choice on August 20, or take no action and keep the current flag.
flag collage