Engineer Philip Tibbetts is flying the flag for the Black Country – by creating a standard he hopes will put the region on the official map. The 23-year-old has designed the unique flag to help the region achieve official recognition.
The engineering project manager, who indulges in a spot of graphic design in his spare time, has also designed a coat of arms and tartan-style plaid pattern. Mr Tibbetts's efforts will add weight to the campaign, which has been launched by Lynda Waltho, the MP for Stourbridge.
She recently tabled a motion in the House of Commons calling for the Black Country to finally be recognised by the Ordnance Survey.
The Black Country is said to have gained its name in the mid-19th century from the smoke from the many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges. Other theories mention the abundance of coal in the region.
The Black Country Chamber of Commerce describes the region as the four boroughs of Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall and Sandwell.
Mr Tibbetts' black, red and yellow flag is divided by a diagonal cross taken from the ancient Mercian flag and features a chain to represent the heavy industry which used to dominate the area.
The four arms of the cross represent the four boroughs of the Black Country and the flag's motto is 'Black by day and red by night'. Mr Tibbetts, who grew up in Halesowen but is now based in Preston, said he hoped the designs would boost pride in the area.
"I really enjoy graphic design and history and heraldry is like a combination of the two," he said.
"I discovered other counties such as Derbyshire and Lincolnshire were designing their own flags which started me thinking about doing one for the Black Country.
"I've spent the last five years studying and working away from the area which made me realise how much we've got to be proud of here and just how little people know about us.
"I'm hoping in a few years to see it flying alongside the Union flag and European flag on council buildings."