Design Icon: The American Flag


Design: American Flag

Designer: Unknown

Date: ca. 1777

Country of Origin: United States (of course!)

Background: Although Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross is often cited as the legendary craftsperson behind the first American flag, its actual roots are much harder to pin down. Drawing inspiration from a number of sources, most notably the British East India Company’s nautical flags, the American Flag as we know it today was first officially documented during the second Continental Congress in 1777. The Congress’ Flag Resolution, meant to establish the guidelines for the American flag’s design, stated that the flag would contain thirteen stripes (meant to represent the original thirteen colonies freed from British rule) and a “new constellation” of thirteen stars on a blue ground, meant to represent the new union of states. Over the course of United States history, the flag has added new stars each time new territories were added to the union. The most recent 50-star flag was ordered by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1959 after the union’s addition of Hawaii.

  1. Christina says:

    I love old images of the flag. The images of the flag before the design was pinned down are pretty cool. I painted the flag on a jute canvas this year for some fun 4th of July Home Decor.

  2. Super interesting content… off to look up the nautical flags by the British East India Company…

  3. Deborah says:

    I love this Site.

  4. There is a new permanent exhibit at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore celebrating the life of Mary Pickersgill, one of America’s original biz-lady crafters! The graphics were developed by Art at Large, inc. from various textiles and stitches so the whole exhibit has a lush handmade feel. Go America!

  5. Lana Moes says:

    i created many american flags and art of Jasper Johns inspired paintings over the year. i love to interpret the favorite objects in my own artistic vision.


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