The Howard County flag is one of the few official symbols that reflect our County. After more than 50 years since its original adoption, the time has come to update and modernize its design in order to align it to present values. On January 22, 2024, County Executive Ball announced the establishment of a diverse commission whose charge is to undertake a public process to solicit design submissions, evaluate design submissions, and recommend three finalists for the County’s new flag design.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball Appoints Commission to Guide New Design of Official County Flag

The Howard County flag should represent the vibrancy and incredible diversity of our community. Our process will invite the public to reimagine this central symbol and produce recommendations for a design that inspires current and future County residents.

County Executive Calvin Ball

Flag Commission Information




The Commission encourages members of the public to participate in this important process. Public meetings will be posted periodically.  

Commission Meeting #2  

Commission Meeting #1  

  • Date: February 6, 2024 

  • Time: 6:00 - 8:00PM

  • Agenda

  • Location:

    • George Howard Building, Columbia Ellicott Room – 3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043

    • To Participate Virtually, click here; Webinar password: snowman


Flag Commission Representatives


Members of the Howard County Flag Commission were appointed by County Executive Ball on January 22, 2024 pursuant to Executive Order 24-01. 

  • Chair: Executive Director of the Howard County Arts Council, or their designee 

  • Four Howard County residents, as recommended by members of the County Council 

  • Executive Director of Howard County Lynching Truth and Reconciliation, Inc., or their designee 

  • Archivist of the Columbia Association, or their designee 

  • Two representatives of the Howard County Historical Society, including the Executive Director, or their designee  

  • Representative of the African American Community Roundtable of Howard County 

  • Representative of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) commission 

  • Representative of the LGBTQIA+ commission 

  • Representative of La Alianza Latina commission 

  • President & CEO of the Howard County Library System, or their designee  

  • President & CEO of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce, or their designee 

  • Executive Director of Howard County Tourism Council, Inc., or their designee  

  • President of the Howard County Farm Bureau, or their designee  

  • President of Howard Community College, or their designee 

  • Representative of the faith community, as selected by the County Executive 


Responsibilities of the Commission


The Commission will: 

  • Solicit designs from the public through a website portal 

  • Conduct one or more public hearings on the design of a new Howard County Flag 

  • Recommend criteria to be used to evaluate submissions 

  • Based on the recommended criteria, select up to 10 submissions for additional public review 

  • Establish a process by which the public may vote on the submissions selected by the Commission for additional public review in order to narrow the number of submissions to the top five  

  • Select three of the five publicly-voted submissions to present to the County Executive 


Commission Schedule

  • Winter 2024 – Commission launch 
  • Spring 2024 – Solicit public design submissions  

  • Fall 2024 – Preliminary selection of designs for public feedback 

  • Winter 2025 – Select finalists and publish design recommendations 


Reference Material


The Commission references the North American Vexillological Association and a publication entitled "Good" Flag, "Bad" Flag by Ted Kaye.

This guide offers the following five principles for flag design. 

  1. Keep It Simple
  2. Use Meaningful Symbolism
  3. Use 2 or 3 Basic Colors
  4. No Lettering or Seals
  5. Be Distinctive or Be Related

"Good" Flag, "Bad" Flag is available in multiple languages via this page


Agendas and Minutes


Commission Meeting #1 - February 6, 2024

Commission Meeting #2 - March 5, 2024


    Current Flag Design

    In 1968, Howard County's official flag was chosen from among forty entries in a contest sponsored by The Central Maryland News. This winning entry was submitted by Jean O. Hannon (Mrs. Phillip A.) of Howard County and described as "a red and white design which incorporates part of the Maryland flag." Added to this, on the first quarterly, a sheaf of wheat in gold symbolizes the agricultural heritage of the County (the Ellicott and Carroll families were responsible for the agricultural change from tobacco to wheat which affected the entire county). In the fourth quarterly a green outline of the county is set in a triangle of gold symbolizing the unique position of Howard in the future development of the eastern seaboard.

    Judges for the contest included the three County Commissioners, Harry T. Murphy, Alva S. Baker and Charles E. Miller; the two Circuit Court judges, James Macgill and T. Hunt Mayfield; the Superintendent of Schools, John E. Yingling; and the three legislators, Senator James Clark, Del. Hugh Burgess and Del. Edwin Warfield. The flag was presented to the Howard County Commissioners on September 19, 1968 and was raised on the flagpole in front of the Court House by Commissioner Murphy.


    Howard County Flag


    Questions and Comments

    If you have any questions or would like to comment on the Flag Commission, please email us at [email protected].

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