When we launched the Portland flag contest in February, we didn’t expect to get so many entries.

All told, we got 85 flags, from 40 designers. We got hand-drawn designs, one that’s really hilarious, a ton of really slick, beautiful designs, and a handful of lighthouses. Even though Portland does not actually have a lighthouse in the city, we understand why the image is iconic for a coastal city in Maine.

Our judges — flag experts Ted Kaye and David Martucci, and Casco Bay High School student Benjamin Coursey — pored over the designs and rated each one.

The judges were looking for simple, clear designs that followed generally accepted best practices for flag design and somehow captured an essential part of Portland.

Now, originally, the plan was for them to whittle the entries down to the top-three finalists.

But with so many entries, we and the judges decided to open up the contest a little, so you could have a greater say in choosing the winning flag.

The judges instead picked their 10 favorite designs. They didn’t worry about where they came from or who designed them. They were purely interested in the designs themselves.

A few of the flags chosen for the second round were great, but the judges had minor suggestions to improve them. We shared the ideas with the designers, and they made the tweaks. We’ve noted which flags were revised in the gallery below.

Now, it’s your turn to weigh in.

For this next round, you’ll rate each flag — one for the lowest score, 10 for the highest.

The three top-scoring flags will advance to the final round, where you’ll get to vote again — this time, by just choosing your favorite flag. Whichever designer gets the most votes, wins the contest.

Here’s the link to the contest, where you can rate the flags.

And here are the semifinalists:

"The Buoy"
“The Buoy” (Revised) by Laura Clapp of Kittery Credit: Laura Clapp
"Guiding Flag of Portland, Maine"
“Guiding Flag of Portland, Maine” (Revised) by Vince Facchiano of Wilmington, Delaware Credit: Vince Facchiano
"Resurgam Flag 2"
“Resurgam Flag 2” by Jeremy Hammond of South Portland Credit: Jeremy Hammond
"Portland Liberty"
“Portland Liberty” by Jeremy Hammond of South Portland Credit: Jeremy Hammond
"Sunny Bird"
“Sunny Bird” by Natalia Lefebvre of Portland Credit: Natalia Lefebvre
"Portland Beacon"
“Portland Beacon” by Matthew Moray of South Portland Credit: Michael Morey
"The North Star Pennant"
“North Star Pennant” by Nicolas Roose of Belgium Credit: Nicolas Roose
"Portland: The Phoenix Rising"
“Portland: The Phoenix Rising” by Kirk Simpson of York Credit: Kirk Simpson
"Jewel of Casco Bay"
“Jewel of Casco Bay” by Jeff Woodbury of South Portland Credit: Jeff Woodbury
"Portland Flag"
“Portland Flag” by Megan Young of Portland Credit: Megan Young

Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the...