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Utah (U.S.)

Last modified: 2024-07-13 by rick wyatt
Keywords: utah | united states | deseret territory | eagle |
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[Flag of Utah] image located by Dave Fowler, 11 November 2022, modified by António Martins-Tuválkin, 28 November 2023 [Flag of Utah]  
image by Pete Loeser, 9 April 2012
based on:
  [Fringed Flag of Utah]
image by Pete Loeser, 9 April 2012
based on:

See also:

In 1896, a star was added, representing Utah, bringing the total number of stars on the U.S. flag to 45. There were thirteen stripes representing the thirteen original colonies.

2024 flag

The 2024 state flag is described in the Utah Government webpages as:

The state flag of Utah shall be a rectangle that has a width to length ratio of three to five and contain the following:
two irregular, horizontal lines dividing the flag into three separate segments, of which the top segment is located above the higher horizontal line and is shaded in blue; the middle segment is located between the two horizontal lines is shaded in white; where the higher horizontal line, takes the shape of a mountain with five peaks, the center peak being the tallest and following the shape of the highest point of a hexagon described below and the lower horizontal line follows the shape of the lowest point of the hexagon; and the bottom segment is located below the lower horizontal line and is shaded in red. [It contains] one hexagon that is shaded in blue which contains a smaller gold hexagon outline within the center of the middle segment with one beehive shaded in gold containing five hive sections with a small semicircle removed from the center of the base of the lowest section; placed within the center of the hexagon described and one five-pointed Utah star shaded in white; and below the center of the beehive.

The state flag shall represent and symbolize the following: the beehive symbolizes industry, community, and the year 1847, the year in which pioneers first settled Utah; the Utah star symbolizes hope and the year 1896, the year in which Utah was admitted to statehood; the hexagon symbolizes the strength of Utah's people; the top segment represents Utah's skies and symbolizes faith; the middle segment represents Utah's snowy mountains and peace, the peaks of which symbolize Utah's Indigenous peoples; and the bottom segment represents the red rocks of Southern Utah and symbolizes perseverance and the state's unique landscapes.

The Utah state website says about the old flag: "It will be flown with the new flag at the Utah State Capitol during official ceremonies, special events, and legislative sessions." And about the seal: "As a historical emblem, Utah’s seal will continue to be displayed — and continue to honor our state’s legacy."

I'm not sure if there are two different shades of blue on the new flag, or if it's an optical illusion that they are slightly different (as it seems to me on the legislation page). In the legislation the shades are not defined exactly, both the top stripe and the hexagon are described as "blue".

Legislation page:
Martin Karner, 20 December 2023

Resolution to Correct Manufacturing Error

In 2011, Rep. Julie Fisher of Fruit Heights introduced a resolution to correct the state's flag after it was discovered that a mistake had been made in 1922 that lasted for 89 years. The year "1847," according to the 1913 statute, was supposed to be on the flag's shield, not hiding at the bottom or, worse, partially hidden behind it. But every Utah flag since 1922 kept on recreating that mistake.

John Hartvigson a member of NAVA stated that Colonial Flag, a local flag manufacturer and dealer, has just completed making a new 20 by 30 foot Utah flag with its correct historic design to be flown Wednesday, March 9 which now designated flag day.
Esteban Rivera, 10 March 2011

The House Concurrent Resolution to correct the Utah state flag passed both houses of the Utah Legislature this morning. At the signing ceremony held in the Utah State Capitol's Reception Room, the Gold Room, I was introduced as "Utah's Flag Expert." Well, until recently I was Utah's only NAVA member. It sounded nice anyway. Governor Gary Herbert held the flagstaff for me as I changed the fringed flag on display in the Gold Room.

The local ABC affiliate interviewed me and here is the link to their story
John Hartvigson, 16 February 2011

Flag Description

Since yesterday, March 9, 2011, the State of Utah has a new flag.

The change involves a correction of the placement of the date within the shield and changing the color of this shield from blue to white, as it was stipulated by the law.

More about the new flag at Salt Lake Tribune
Chrystian Kretowicz, 10 March 2011

The Utah flag, adopted in 1913, consists of a blue field in which is centered the Great Seal of Utah. The Great Seal consists of a thin gold circle, which encloses the coat of arms. The coat of arms contains of a beehive which has the state motto "INDUSTRY" arced above and the word "UTAH" below, and is flanked by sego lilies, the state flower. Six arrows originate from above "INDUSTRY" and go out past the border of the shield. An eagle is perched on top of the shield, ready to take flight. The shield is flanked by United States flags on both sides, their poles crossed behind the shield, and has "1847", the year of Mormon settlement immediately below, and "1896", the year of statehood further below. For display during special state events and for display at the state capitol and governors mansion, the flag is fringed with gold tassels on the three edges away from the flag pole.
Jeff Luck, 13 January 1997

The seal adopted in 1896 is a product of the time and tells us how Utahns of that time saw themselves, and perhaps more importantly, how they wanted the rest of the nation and the world to view them. They took the seal of the Utah Territory, and placed the device on a shield. The beehive is a symbol evoking the Provisional State of Deseret, which Congress rejected repeatedly. The beehive is a meaningful symbol of the pioneer's early existence in the Great Basin. The settlers were a self-sufficient community producing all their needs from the local sources as does a bee colony in a hive. In this case the sego lilies are a native flower from which the bees gathered their sustenance. The motto industry, together with the hive, represented the hard work required to survive in what was then a harsh and unfriendly environment. Not just to survive, but to make “the desert blossom like a rose.” As if they were placing new hives, settlements were founded and placed up and down the corridor from Salt Lake north to Canada and south to San Diego. The name Utah, forced on the settlers since Congress did not like Deseret because of its Mormon origin, is a Ute Indian word roughly meaning "people who live higher up in the mountains." The six arrows piercing the shield remembered the six tribes who inhabited Deseret before the coming of the settlers. Like the boundaries of the Provisional State of Deseret, the lands of these peoples is not cut out by the cookie cutter shape that the state of Utah produced when Congress cut off portions on all sides to create other states while ignoring petitions from the would be citizens of Deseret. While there were several reasons for Congress' repeated refusals of petitions for statehood, the fact was that these settlers were an unpopular minority that Congress did not want to admit on equal ground with other states. So the years 1847 and 1896 define a period in Utah history known locally as the struggle for statehood. So, in 1896 when Utah finally achieved statehood--the placement of the American Eagle and the crossed flags behind the shield announced to the nation and the world: "Despite all opposition, we made it, Utah is finally a state." It was for the same reason that these first citizens of the State of Utah made, at seventy-four by one hundred and thirty-two feet, what was then the largest flag in the world: A forty-five star flag U.S. flag with one larger star for the newest state, Utah.

When a need for a state flag came, they took the central emblem of the seal and placed it on a blue background. This flag remained unofficial. Since the designation ring had disappeared, they added the word Utah to the shield between the year 1847 and the beehive when the first legislation approved the design of a state flag in 1911. The first flag was embroidered in white on the blue background. When a flag was needed to present to the Battleship USS Utah, it was decided to change the white embroidery to full color. The first example of this color version was made by the Horstmann Company of Philadelphia. This prototype of the color version of the Utah State flag with its white shield was adopted by the Utah State Legislature in 1912 and 1913. No other copy of this first flag was made. The original color version of the flag was presented to the USS Utah and it did not return to the state. It may have gone down with the ship when Utah was sunk on December 7, 1941 in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. When a second color Utah State flag was made in 1922, on the unofficial blue and white Utah State flag was available in Salt Lake City. It had a blue shield that was only outlined by the white embroidery. The embroiderer left off “1847”, the year of the pioneer's arrival when making the flag. “1847” is clearly missing in a photograph of the flags presentation to the governor of Utah. Since that flag still exists, we can see that “1847” was added to the emblembelow the blue colored shield. The incorrect flag was used as a pattern for later Utah State flags. I spotted the error in about 1985, and the Legislature finally asked that the flag's design be corrected when they passed House Concurrent Resolution 2 (HCR2) in the 2011 session. When we made up the prototype up for the corrected flag, State officials asked that the colors of the 1912 flag be used returning to the white shield. Paul Swenson, President of Colonial Flag Company, had his staff artist produce the design, following my instructions, of the flag used during the legislative process. He made initial orders of about two hundred flags using that design and had his sewers produce a twenty by thirty foot Utah State flag again using the same design. However, as Swenson examined the first version of the flag, he felt the design, especially the eagle, could be strengthened. Accordingly, he employed a graphic illustrator to improve the design within using the colors and design elements meeting the requirements of HCR2. As in heraldry, various artistic interpretations are equally valid. The new improved design is now the design being produced and sold. The initial stock of the prototype design has sold out. Only inexpensive Chinese prints appear to be available using the prototype design. However, as both the legislative prototype design and the enhanced version are artistic interpretations which are both valid and in accordance with the law, Utah State flags being flown in the Salt Lake area are (1) the old incorrect version allowed by HCR2 until the existing stock is exhausted (2) a few of the first corrected design with the weaker eagle, and (3) the enhanced version showing a bold eagle is currently being ordered by the two largest flag retailers in the Salt Lake Valley.

Any flag manufacturer who wants to produce another artistic interpretation, incorporating the colors and correct design, are certainly free to do so. That seems foolish as the free vector artwork is available for the enhanced design, and that is the most current design being sold in Utah.

All this notwithstanding, Flags of the World shows what is in use. I don't know of anyone in Utah who has asked for a critique or vote of approval. While some may wish that the Utah State flag had been replaced altogether, that was not the decision of Utah's Legislature in their representation of the people of Utah. Some Utahns would, of course, vote for a change; however, I feel confident a plebiscite of Utah's citizens would retain the current Utah State flag in its corrected form. Nevertheless, that is a decision for Utah's government and people. It is, after all, Utah's flag.

We also must remember, those who fly existing flags most often have not asked for and do not want "experts" to tell them what to do. Whitney [Smith] discussed this with me, and he emphasized that he feels the role of a vexillologist is to record flag history and record flags as they are used, and he was very dismissive of holding contests to redesign existing flags.
John M. Hartvigsen, 6 May 2011

As I write, the "beehive flag" is set to become the new Utah state flag once the governor signs it; as a result, the seal-on-bedsheet flag containing the state seal on a blue field has been given "historical" and "ceremonial" status and is still, in a way, an official flag of the state per the bill.
The bill also grants three variants of the flag to be used to represent the historical flag; these are provided below, with the third being the flag shown on FOTW already as I speak as the current flag.
BlinxCat, 2 March 2023

Legal Description

Utah Code
63-13-5. The state flag of Utah shall be a flag of blue field, fringed, with gold borders, with the following device worked in natural colors on the center of the blue field: The center a shield: above the shield and thereon an American eagle with outstretched wings; the top of the shield pierced with six arrows arranged crosswise; upon the shield under the arrows the word "industry," and below the word "Industry" on the center of the shield, a beehive; on each side of the beehive, growing sego lilies; below the beehive and near the bottom of the shield, the word "Utah," and below the word "Utah" and on the bottom of the shield, the figures "1847"; with the appearance of being back of the shield there shall be two American flags on flagstaffs placed crosswise with the flags so draped that they will project beyond each side of the shield, the heads of the flagstaffs appearing in front of the eagle's wings and the bottom of each staff appearing over the face of the draped flag below the shield and flags and upon the blue field, the figures "1896"; around the entire design, a narrow circle of gold.
Joe McMillan, 21 February 2000

Flag Day

Every March 9 will now be Utah State Flag day with the passage of HB490 Wednesday.

It was also exactly the 100th anniversary of when the Legislature adopted the first state flag. The state also for the first time flew on Wednesday a new version of the state flag outside the Capitol.

"This establishes this day as the anniversary of our flag's adoption, just as [national] Flag Day [June 14] honors Congress' action in 1777 to adopt the Stars and Stripes," said Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain, Senate sponsor of the bill. The Senate unanimously passed the bill and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for signature.

source: Salt Lake Tribune
Chrystian Kretowicz, 10 March 2011

State Seal 2011

[State Seal of Utah]
Image submitted by Pete Loeser, 15 March 2012

This is the redesigned Utah State Seal, companion to that used on the State flag.
Pete Loeser, 15 March 2012

Proposals for a new Utah state flag

A graphic displaying the entries in an unofficial poll of the twenty finalists:
Dave Fowler, 10 September 2022

The contest for a new flag is a task undertaken by the "Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement" ( under the "More than a flag" initiative

Process and context details are as follows:
"Evolving Utah's state flag design is itself a nod to Utah history. The banner has been altered at least three times since 1903, when a blue flag with white stitching was first launched as the Governor's flag. Over the years, Utahns haven't been invited to have an intentional conversation about the flag's design until now.

The flag most Utahns grew up with was an “unauthorized” design with the date "1847" added incorrectly by a seamstress under the state seal. That error was replicated for nearly 90 years, until the Utah Legislature corrected the design in 2011.

Considering the incremental nature of past updates offers a springboard to something new: The More Than A Flag initiative. Why is this effort relevant now? In a recent survey residents said while they liked the current flag, they didn't think it represented them.

This year, as part of an intentional statewide conversation, residents were invited to submit themes and colors that would represent our state. The effort invokes vox populi, the Latin phrase for 'voice of the people,' to create the 'people's flag," similar to the way the Utah State Capitol functions as the 'people's house.'

By the April 30 deadline, more than 7,000 flag ideas, including 5,703 designs, had been submitted from every county in the state. More than 1,000 designs were hand-drawn flags submitted by students. "I get teary-eyed when I think of all these people helping design the flag," says Rep. Elizabeth Weight, of the Utah State Flag Task Force, about all those submissions."

"The Utah State Flag Task Force on Thursday (September 8) unveiled nearly two dozen semifinalists that will be considered as possible replacements for the current flag, which has remained mostly untouched since 1911. All of the designs were published online along with descriptions explaining every color and design in the flag; the designs are also up for review and public comment.

A popular color palette for a new Utah flag was the traditional red, white and blue, with some designs additionally sparked with golden yellow. Another color scheme contrasted sky blue with red-rock orange, paired with white to symbolize snow-capped mountains.

Here are the elements residents ranked as most significant:
Utah's pioneer history as the Beehive state, with bees symbolizing "Industry," the state's theme.
Symbols, such as stars or circles, representing Utah's eight Tribal nations.
Another big Utah idea: Residents are proud of our state's varied landscape.

In June and July, artists, volunteer artists, designers, educators, and historians on the Design Review Subcommittee considered submitted concepts. Several dozen designs were presented to a separate group of flag designers, to create "flag-ready" images.

By late August, some 20 flags will be posted for public feedback. These designs will also be printed as flags for short exhibits and media events in September. In the fall, the Design Review Subcommittee will select three final designs. And then a new Utah state flag design will be considered for adoption by the task force, Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, and the Utah Legislature.

If a new design is approved, the current flag won't be retired. It will become the official flag of the governor's office."

The official poll is located here:

The following colors used, represent:
Blue Hues: Knowledge, Freedom, Justice, Optimism, Sky, Lakes.
Glod: Prosperity, Industry, Happiness, Desert.
Orange Hues: Red Rocks, Southern Utah, Strength
Red Hues: Red Rocks, Southern Utah, Perseverance, Nod to the US Flag.
White: Peace, Truth, Snow, Salt, Mountains

Esteban Rivera, 10 September 2022

LGBTQ+ version of the flag

[State Seal of Utah] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 20 June 2024

Rainbow Beehive Flag is the LGBTQ+ version of the new state flag of Utah. It was created by Michael Green of the Flags For Good flag manufacturing company, by replacing the bottom red field with a six-striped rainbow pattern arranged vertically [1]. The red of the rainbow pattern is lighter than the red of the state flag; the flag also employs two shades of blue, as the one in the rainbow pattern is lighter than the one of the top field. The flag is still not widely used: the only photo currently available online was taken in Herriman, Utah on 2023-05-31 [2].

image derived from the SVG image of the state flag of Utah from Wikimedia Commons:

[1] Flags For Good website - Rainbow Beehive Flag:
[2] Photo of the Rainbow Beehive Flag at Twitter:
Tomislav Todorovic, 20 June 2024