Does a state flag tell the world what a state is or what a state was?
In Oregon, the king newspaper -- the Oregonian -- is calling for a new state flag, according to the blog Visual Editors. From our listening post in Minnesota, it doesn't seem like a bad idea.
The front carries the state seal, which looks crisp on stationery, but not on a flag. It's almost impossible to interpret from afar and tough to tell apart from Wisconsin's, Vermont's or a bunch of others that also have a state seal stamped on a blue background.
Like, ummmmm, you know...
The Great Seal of Minnesota features a bare-footed farmer plowing a field. The farmer's axe, gun and powder horn are on a stump. An Indian rides nearby. A nearby field borders a river and waterfall. Ladyslippers are also on the seal because they're the state flower, although the official state muffin (blueberry), mushroom (morel), fruit (Honeycrisp apple), butterly (Monarch) or bird (loon) get no love at all.
A citizen's commission came up with a new design in the '80s. The Pioneer Press also did what the Oregonian is now doing. Bill were filed in the Legislature as late as 2007 and the air seems to go out of the effort every time an alternative is unveiled.
The alternative MN stage flag included at the bottom of your post is informally called the "North Star Flag".
I supported that design in the '80s, and I still support it today. It's sad that MN still hasn't adopted this design.
You know, that design looks like the logo you'd put on some quasi-government agency letterhead. I'm not sure it stands up to time, but I'm not a graphic designer.
The "North Star" flag looks like a national flag from countries that use single star and color-block variants. It doesn't say "state flag" to me.
To consider in a new flag: Is using words verboten because English is no longer the language of choice for many? That rules out state mottos, at least solely in the Latin alphabet.
As everything gets dumbed down to pictograms, just throw a state outline on it, and star with the top point forming a North-pointing arrow and be done with it. Or perhaps a grid with all the state icons: state bird, state flower, state muffin, state butterfly, tree, mushroom, fish, photograph et al?
//You know, that design looks like the logo you'd put on some quasi-government agency letterhead. I'm not sure it stands up to time, but I'm not a graphic designer.
Which means it would go great with our conservative pitchman quasi-Governor.
//To consider in a new flag: Is using words verboten because English is no longer the language of choice for many? That rules out state mottos, at least solely in the Latin alphabet.
//As everything gets dumbed down to pictograms, just throw a state outline on it, and star with the top point forming a North-pointing arrow and be done with it.
The use of words, regardless of language, is typically frowned upon in good flag design. The problem with words is visibility -- flags visibly recognizable from great distance (that was originally the point, right?), thus typeface on flags usually detracts from the overall design and does not provide the distinguising characteristics that may have been originally intended.
The top 10 state flags on the Visual Editors site surprised me because, despite strong designs, they're so generic, with the exception of the California bear, the South Carolina tree and possibly the Alaska constellation. The North Star flag would blend in with them. I can appreciate its graphic simplicity. However it could be any environmental corporate logo.
All the good flag designs are already taken.
The swallowtail flag design with central compass is a joke, isn't it? It's hard for me to tell.... Other than we now have NATO residing in the state.
On the "North Star" flag I like the "wavy fess' symbol for water. Most flags have geometric straight lines. It's more distinctive to include curves or jagged edges indicative of nature.
Actually the round MNDOT logo with tree and star is pretty good. Adapt that somehow with wavy water and you might have something.