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Waubonsee Student Designs Plano's Flag

Design of Plano's flag features tagline of "Birthplace of the Harvester" and images of wheat incorporated into the purple lettering.
Plano residents chose this design by Waubonsee Community College student Justin Koczo as their new city flag. A Plano resident himself, Koczo is a graphic design major at the college.

At the July 11 city council meeting, the City of Plano unveiled its new flag, designed by Waubonsee Community College student Justin Koczo. His design highlights the city’s designation as “birthplace of the harvester” and incorporates images of wheat.

The unveiling of the flag is the completion of a goal set two years ago by Ward 2 Alderman Bob Jones and the culmination of a five-month partnership between the city and the college. While running for office in 2009, Jones noticed Plano did not have a flag. “It’s an identity,” Jones said. “I felt people needed something to call their own.”

So shortly after Waubonsee’s new Plano Campus opened for classes in January, city officials approached the college, asking its students to submit flag designs. Seventeen graphic design students answered the call, researching the city and translating that information into images.

“This project allowed our students to get real-world experience while also meeting a community need,” said Cindy Fisher, Waubonsee’s Dean for Humanities, Fine Arts and Languages. “We’re very proud of the work our students submitted and grateful to the City of Plano for this wonderful opportunity.”

After Plano and Waubonsee officials narrowed the 17 designs down to six finalists, Plano residents made the final decision by voting at ballot boxes throughout town. In the end, it was the concept of graphic design major and Plano resident Koczo that proved most popular, getting 172 of the more than 400 votes cast.

“This project goes beyond something to put in a portfolio or add to a résumé,” Koczo said. “It’s just really cool to say that you created something that will actually be used by the city. Not many people can say that.”

According to Jones, the city’s new flag will be used in both commercial and residential settings throughout Plano. Desktop versions of the flag will also be available.  

Word is already spreading about the flag, especially among Koczo’s family. “My grandma is telling everyone she knows,” Koczo said. In fact, Justin and his family now live in the Plano house originally built by his grandparents.

Koczo thinks growing up in Plano helped him a bit in the competition, as did his familiarity with the city’s signature purple color. “In high school, I worked on the senior slide show and on the yearbook, so I was used to it,” he said.