In the early years of the American Revolution, the Americans commonly used the Grand Union flag, which included a smaller British Union Jack inside it. Even after the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Grand Union flag was still in use. Despite being philosophically independent, the new nation had yet to find a truly independent banner.
The founding fathers knew that America needed a flag —a visual identity— that made them stand out. In 1777, the visual elements that we’re so familiar with on the American flag were codified in the Flag Act and then passed on to a widowed seamstress in Philadelphia named Betsy Ross.
Like many brands, the American flag used colors that were familiar, in this case the red, white, and blue palette that was likely a nod to the new nation’s British origins. America’s flag also introduced symbols of the 13 colonies as one independent nation: 13 stars in a circle, putting no individual colony above another, and a stripe for each colony as distinct but part of the greater whole.
Nearly 250 years later, the red and white stripes with the blue field of stars of the American flag remain iconic. As more states joined the “perfect” union the number of stars grew but the design integrity remained intact.
Like any great brand expression, a flag should communicate the values it stands for. So when you look at our U.S. flag on this Flag Day, June 14, remember the original version in 1776 and, even as the design evolved as our country grew, the stars and stripes represent the brand forever.