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Waving the flag for Colorado art

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One of the real surprises of the response to the state's rebranding effort is the affection that Coloradans feel for the state flag — even if Aaron Kennedy, the state's chief marketing officer, says the flag design didn't test well outside of the state, with many people assuming it stood for Chicago. That was just one of the reasons that Kennedy and company didn't really consider a variation on the flag as the state's new brand — not even the part featuring the C with a sun, which inspired the logo for the Colorado Innovation Network summit, where the new brand was introduced last week.

See also: The marketing of Colorado: Everything old is new again

But here in Colorado, the flag is not just recognized, but celebrated. Although it was first adopted in 1911, it's never been more popular. Companies put it on cellphone cases, coffee cups and business cards. (That's another reason that Kennedy didn't want to use the flag as Colorado's official brand: He wants the 22 state agencies to have a mark that's readily identifiable — and trademark-able.) But it's the residents of this state who are really waving the flag these days. They've turned it into crocheted hats, tie-dyed T-shirts, personal tattoos. As shown by this sample of items we found on the Internet, they've used it to display the creativity and individuality that's so much a part of our nature.

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"We remember when rebranding would get you hanged or shot. Or both," wrote the late Lew Cady, a creative character — in both career and life — who passed away before he had a chance to weigh in on Colorado's new brand.

In his honor, we're going to suggest a hanging. Of art. Colorado has a creative nature, and this rebranding could inspire a celebration of flag-waving local artists and entrepreneurs. So on August 1, 2014, which is Colorado Day (and happens to be a First Friday), why doesn't the state host an exhibit featuring some of the artistic work inspired by the Colorado flag?

We'll bring the rope.

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