What’s up with the new Raleigh flag?

A local grassroots campaign is looking to make their new city flag design official.

The red New Raleigh Flag with an acorn on it flying in front of Raleigh's skyline.

Have you spotted the newly-designed flag flying around Raleigh?

Photo by Mahmoud Khader

A local grassroots movement is looking to upgrade Raleigh’s flag to make it “more iconic.” The New Raleigh Flag Campaign redesigned the historic flag, created in 1899, into a simplified version inspired by the original. It’s intended to one day become a second official Raleigh flag. Read: The new flag won’t replace the old one.

The campaign started in 2021 after Raleighite Brian Rineer saw the Ted Talk “Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed.” Inspired to create a more recognizable Raleigh flag, Brian — along with his son, Craig — and a handful of other Raleighites, collaborated to create a new one.

“The purpose of a flag is to signal identity at a distance,” Brian told RALtoday. “I think there’s a desire to have something like that — people like living here and they’re proud of the city. I think they would like to show that sense of identity with a recognizable symbol.”

A comparison of Raleigh's old flag and new flag.

Raleigh’s historic flag was created in 1899.

Graphic by RALtoday

The new flag incorporates the bright red color and silver diamonds from Sir Walter Raleigh’s coat of arms into an acorn emblem. Fun fact: The acorn is a symbol of potential and growth. Unlike the original, the new flag is not double-sided.

“Raleigh is the City of Oaks and named for Sir Walter Raleigh, so we wanted to find a way to represent those two themes in a simple, concise, and easily-recognizable way,” Brian said.

Multiple residents and businesses, such as North Street Beer Station and DeMo’s Pizzeria & Deli, are already flying the new flag.

City Council must vote to adopt the new design as an official flag of Raleigh. A vote is not yet scheduled. “Right now, we’re just trying to spread awareness,” Brian said. “If we continue on our current trajectory and the community continues embracing it, I’m hopeful that would make it a no-brainer when it comes time for the council to decide.”

Want to fly the new Raleigh flag? You can buy one here.