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Tucson, Arizona (U.S.)

Pima County

Last modified: 2018-08-06 by rick wyatt
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[flag of Tucson, Arizona] 3:5 image(s) by permission of David B. Martucci
image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright.



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Text and image(s) from American City Flags, Raven 9-10 (2002-2003), courtesy of the North American Vexillological Association, which retains copyright. Image(s) from American City Flags by permission of David B. Martucci.

Design

Tucson’s flag has a white field with the city seal in the center. No size is specified for the seal, but it usually occupies a significant portion of the field. The seal’s outer edge is blue, surrounding a white interior ring. Curved on that ring from about 10 o’clock to 2 o’clock is CITY OF TUCSON, and centered below, counterclockwise, is ARIZONA, all in blue in an Arial-type font. The seal is circular, but its field is divided in half between the upper hoist side and the lower fly side, resembling a tilted yin-yang symbol.

The upper part of the seal is yellow with its curved edge suggesting the sun, with 33 short rays emanating outward, every fourth ray slightly longer. The rays are shadowed in red on the hoist side. Horizontally across the center of the upper portion is Tucson’s 1949 skyline, with buildings in beige, blue, brown, and gray, and a green saguaro cactus in the hoist foreground.

The lower part of the seal shows the historic San Xavier mission, in white with black shadowing, as if guarding the city at night, on a blue background. Very narrow red rays in sets of four in alternating sizes extend from the edge of the blue portion to balance the sun’s rays above, perhaps suggesting moonlight. Loosely surrounding the seal’s lower half is a brown lariat, portions of which extend into the white ring of the seal.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Symbolism

The designer wished to contrast the modern Tucson with the historic city. The lariat symbolically binds the two eras together.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Selection

The Tucson Press Club sponsored a contest for a new city seal in 1949 after Mayor E. T. “Happy” Houston mentioned to the club’s president that a new seal was needed. The winning design was adopted 1 March 1950 as the city’s registered trademark, but was not officially made the city seal until 1953, when the flag was also adopted.
Flag adopted: 5 January 1953 (official).
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

Designer

Mrs. Norman (Mary) Crowfoot, an artist who had just recently arrived in Tucson, learned of the contest and entered it.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003

More about the Flag

The original seal’s colors were much brighter than the current version, with a lighter yellow and blue, and red on the buildings of the skyline and mission. The current shades of color seem to be a “cooler” variation. Also, earlier flags had been made in proportions of 4:5 units, as well as 8:13.
John M. Purcell, American City Flags, Raven 9-10, 2002-2003


City seal

[City Seal of Tuscon, Arizona] image from Michael Carson, Public Information Office, Tucson
[Click on image for larger view.]

The City seal was designed by Tucsonan Mary Crowfoot in 1949 and entered in a City-sponsored contest. The images reflect Tucson's cultural and western heritage. It continues to function as the official City seal for purposes of the City Clerk, stamping official documents, certain awards, etc.

The seal is also the central element in the logo of the City of Tucson. The logo was created "in-house" by City staff (graphic artists) and put into production officially in September 2002, replacing a previous logo. There was no ceremony or referendum, just a period of transition. It is used as the official logo for most City business. The following is taken from a memo to all City employees from Tucson City Manager James Keene.

"By using our historic City seal as the foundation, we have standardized its color scheme and added the city's founding date to present our unique history and distinguish us from other Arizona cities. I felt it was important not to start from scratch in creating a new logo, but instead unify all of our various permutations through an update and standardization of our historic City seal. Our updated seal serves as the core standard logo for the City."
Michael Carson, 28 May 2004