The civil flag of West Berlin was adopted on 26 May 1954. Designed by Ottfried Neubecker, it came in second in the contest of 1952, the winner being rejected by the Senate. The emblem of the bear is apparently a pun on the city's name (Bär meaning Bear), and there have been suggestions that it is a little bear (Bärlein bearing a resemblance to Berlin). The bear is placed slightly to the left. It became the flag of the whole city after thereunification of Germany in 1990.
The state flag replaces the bear with the full coat of arms, with escutcheon. Being the state flag for West Berlin, it similarly became the flag for unified Berlin in 1990. Previously to that, it had also been a naval ensign on the basis that neither German one could be used. It is in the proportion 3:5.
Between 1861 and 1912, a horizontal tricolour of black, red and white was used in the proportion 2:3. It was designed by Ernst Fidicin based in theBrandenburg colors following the coronation of Wilhelm I on 19 December 1861.
Between 1913 and 1954, the civil flag was similar to the current one, except the design of the bear was different. Until 1935, the emblem itself was not fixed.
After 1955, the West Berlin flag was that adopted for the whole of Berlin after 1990; East Berlin had the addition of two white stripes taking the outside halves of the upper and lower red stripes, and a slightly different design for the bear inside an escutcheon, topped with a crown.