ST. LOUIS – A group of flag design enthusiasts recently ranked hundreds of new city flags across the United States. The panel says several St. Louis suburbs need to step up their game.

The North American Vexillological Association released rankings from its “2022 City Flag Survey” earlier this week, handing an “F” grade to five St. Louis suburbs over their flag design.

That list includes: Ballwin, Crestwood, Dardenne Prairie, and Richmond Heights in Missouri and Edwardsville Township in Illinois. Ballwin and Crestwood were among the 25 lowest-rated city flags, per the survey.

NAVA assigned grades to more than 300 cities that have adopted or redesigned their city flags since 2015.

The rankings come after a months-long survey that stretched into 2022. More than 300 NAVA members and 2,500 others participated in the online survey, ranking designs on a 0-10 scale. The numerical ratings for each flag were averaged, and the average rating was converted to a letter grade, ranging from F (lowest) to A+ (highest).

It’s the first NAVA-ran survey over city flags since 2004 and the first one analyzing new city flags, according to NAVA.org. In the previous survey, St. Louis City’s flag was named the fifth-best design with an average ranking of 8.56/10.

NAVA offers guidance about flag design on its website that perhaps factored into the rankings. There is also a book called “Good” Flag, “Bad” Flag that offers five principles on how flags can set themselves apart. Those include:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Use meaningful symbolism
  3. Use 2 or 3 basic colors
  4. No lettering or seals
  5. Be distinctive or be related

In the 2022 survey, some flags in Missouri earned high praise. New banners from West Plains and Springfield finishing in the Top 10 of rankings with “A” grades. Lake St. Louis earned a “B+” and was the only St. Louis suburb without an “F” grade in the ranking.