Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Discussions on flags used in the Americas (South America, Central America, the Caribbean and North America)
User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 12 Nov 2010 22:43

Greetings.
There has been a lot of scattered discussion on various forums (and across the internet) for alternate proposals for the very bad nigh-indistingushable, overly-complicated seal-based State Flags for the United States. (illustrated by Andrew Rogers below). I was born in Virginia, the first of the "blue bedsheet" flags, but live in Maryland and work in DC, so I'm familiar with both the good and the bad.

Bad Flags: .
bad_flags.gif



I wanted to set up a forum for redesigning ALL the flags that need it (see NAVA's poll if you are uncertain which is which) http://www.nava.org/Flag%20Design/State&Provincial%20Survey%202001/surveyresults.htm, and collect the extant proposals into one place, with the eventual goal of having at least one viable alternative for each flag. Obviously some states are worse than others, but the tweaking of "almost-good" flags (as has been done with Wyoming, Arkansas, and West Virginia), would most certainly be welcome. I realize that flags are patriotic symbols and redesign is not to be undertaken lightly, but I wanted to open up some serious discussion for designs that respect the state's heritage, as well as good design principles.

If you haven't read it, you should read NAVA's "Good Flag, Bad Flag"
http://www.nava.org/Flag%20Design/GFBF/index.html

For reference, here are all the US State flags, plus DC (not including territories) in a lineup:
US_States-ALL-sm.jpg


Now to start:
I will obviously get to adding Utah and Oregon's design contests, as well as the ongoing efforts in Vermont and Minnesota, but for now, I would like to start with a couple simple alternatives to Florida's State flag.
Its current flag is not horrible, but it too-closely resembles Alabama, and has a seal. The saltire is a good design element, referring as it does to two periods of Florida's history (Burgundy Cross and Confederate Saltire).

I thought, though, that the Sunshine State might benefit from its namesake:
florida-proposal1.png


3 attachment limit: to be continued.....
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by VoronX on 13 Nov 2010 01:39, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 12 Nov 2010 22:51

(Continued from above)
While I like that, I really like the distinctiveness of the original Burgundy Cross:
Florida-proposal2.png


Here is a fimbiated version, though I almost wonder if in this particular instance it might not be necessary...
Florida-Proposal2-fim.png


I'd like to mention that all these were done in MS Paint, so I apologize for their crudeness. Feel free to improve them. Also, I realize that color's can be refined while keeping the basic design elements. for example:
Florida-NEW2f.png


Thank you for looking, please comment and/or please submit any ideas you have for other states. Also, make sure to give credit when re-posting other's designs. Hopefully by the time we're done, we can do a composite where everything is instantly identifiable! Good Designing!

/Voron Xarya/
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 12 Nov 2010 22:53

For reference: original Florida:
florida-current.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 12 Nov 2010 23:22

Iowa current:
iowa.png


Just a little change, my Iowa proposal:
iowa-proposal.png


I think it speaks for itself. The French motif, btw, is because Iowa was part of the Louisiana Purchase. The ear of corn looks a little like a fleur-de-lis... The red-white-blue makes me think of the Iowa Presidential Primary...
/Voron Xarya/
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
vexilo
Member
Posts: 879
Joined: 06 Oct 2008 08:30

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby vexilo » 14 Nov 2010 09:41

Great work and a good thread.I do like the bright and impactful design of your Florida proposals, the basic design is also a meaningful one. I am not sure which alternative I like best, they all have merit. I understand the Iowa proposal and obviously the current design is tediously over elaborate but I fear that your proposed ear of corn, while I understand its reasoning, might not be well received. It looks a little "cartoonish" by comparison with the eagle. Perhaps just making it all gold would lend it more lustre and appeal although it would then look just like a fleur-de-lis anyway. Maybe just depicting the eagle in silhouette form might work better? But you're right that it clearly needs something better in the centre panel.

If you look under "Flags and Vexillology in General" for a discussion titled "Experiments and Suggestions" you'll see, a few pages in, that I covered a lot of American state flags, highlighting proposed ideas and proffering one or two of my own suggestions.

User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 15 Nov 2010 18:29

@Vexilo- Thank you for the compliment, and good work on your thread. I think we should definitely combine forces.
Regarding Iowa, are you saying some might find the design "corny?" I agree the corn graphic could be improved, but there is not a single thing I can think of as more representative of the state than "King Corn." Have you seen the West Wing episode of the same title? Iowa itself produces almost 40% the amount of corn as the whole of China. The eagle is just so generically American, it doesn't really say anything unique about the state. There is some potential for confusion with the "Cornhusker State" When I showed my friend the flag, he thought it was for Nebraska. Perhaps a corn-motif might work for Nebraska, though I have an idea for NE involving the sillouette of Chimney Rock, and perhaps a wagon wheel.

Regarding your thread, I agree with almost every one of your proposals, and in fact, had the exact same idea about Maine. I thought at first it might be too close to your idea for Massachusetts, until I remembered that Maine was a part of Massachusetts until 1820. It's different enough to be easily distinguished, and the similarity shows the common history.
I was looking at the CT naval ensign as well for inspiration. I like yours, though I typically don't like ensign-designs.

I think that your idea for Georgia, while good vexilologically, is not so good, given it's the same as the fourth iteration of the First Confederate National Flag (28 Nov 1861 - 26 May 1963). I had thoughts about reversing the red and white stripes, or using a sillouette of the arch sans banners and human figure.

Regarding Arkansas, any reason why you have 3 instead of 4 stars?

I do not like your Vermont flag though, in comparison with Greg Stone's wonderful designs. http://vt-vexillology.webs.com/newflagproposal.htm I suspect they were not out yet when you made your original post.
Here they are, with the original:
Vermont-New-Proposals.png

And here are Greg Stones's descriptions:

Design #11: Derived from the "Green Mountian Boys" flag, with a yellow canton (the square in the top left corner) charged with a green pine (taken form the state's coat of arms) with roots. Simplicity is the name of the game here, yet distinctive enough to stand out, with just enough of a nod to historic flags that are linked to Vermont by legend, and making use of the state's official colors.

Design #18: Simple, yet distinctive. Using the state's colors, a green field, representing our green mountains, charged with a yellow pine taken from the state's coat of arms.

Design #33: Simplicity at it's best! This design takes it's basis from the "Green Mountain Boys" flag, but organizes the stars, and adds one, into a symetrical pattern, and removes the blue canton. 14 stars for the 14 counties and also Vermont being the 14th state to join the union.

Design #34: A modification of the #4 design from the orginial set. This one removes the state's arms from the leaf, and also uses a more distinct sugar maple (Vermont's state tree) leaf, so as not to be confused with the Canadian one from the previous design. Green and yellow, Vermont's offical state colors, add great contrast. The 14 stars for the 14 counties and Vermont being the 14th state to join the union.

Design #36: This design uses a green sugar maple (Vermont's state tree) leaf in hoist on a yellow field covering about 1/3rd of the overall flag, and with a green field for the remainder of the flag.


I think 34 is the most striking, though 18 has that nice New England tie-in. 36 has nice color-balance. They are all great, though 33 fares the worst when shrunk. 11 is remeniscent of the New England Naval ensign.

Finally, I leave you with two alternates of Indiana:
First, Vexilo's from the aforementioned thread (IN is on second page:)
http://www.flagsforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=744
indi.GIF

Second: I agree IN's current flag isn't horrible, but I don't think you go far enough, Vexilo. I think this version keeps much of the same symbolism, but is even cleaner, and has nice lines:
indi-vex2.gif


-Voron E. Xarya
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 16 Nov 2010 00:30

Connecticut and New Hampshire

Vexilo offered a great alternative to Connecticut based upon the Naval ensign, which has inspired a few more designs. Note that the blue at the bottom symbolizes Connecticut's relationship to the water, geographically (i.e. south).
conn-proposals.png



New Hampshire's current Flag is one of the absolute worst:
nhcurrent.gif


Here is a study based upon one of their State's sacred symbols, the Old Man of the Mountain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Man_of_the_Mountain There was legislation to get this image put on the state flag, but it was shelved. I understand that the complex contours of a landscape feature might not be optimal, but the impact of a well-known and well-loved icon cannot be denied. Oh, and please pardon the crudeness of my graphics. Included some non-flat colors to show the actual mountain face because I'm not sure a straight 2-toned profile is the best way to go.
NH-flag-6-proposals-study-vex.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 16 Nov 2010 01:37

Nebraska
Current:
Nebraska_Flag.jpg


Speaking of Landscapes...
Many of Nebraska's symbols are yellow/golden. The first one incorporate's natural colors. The dusky blue and gold colors from the second below were taken from the NE State seal. Chimney Rock was a very important landmark on the pioneers' journey west, and it appears on Nebraska's State quarter.

I really like the bi-color with the wagon wheel best, though obviously the wheel could be left out, but I think it's more effective with it. I think my proportions are off. Feel free to imagine some trimmed off the top and/or bottom.
NE-proposal1sm.png


NE-proposal3sm.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 16 Nov 2010 07:40

collected from http://andyrash.blogspot.com/2008/02/wisconsin-state-flag.html
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2008

The Wisconsin State Flag
Andy, you're clearly very busy with your children's books, editorial illustration, animated television projects, pipe cleaners, and virtual legos, but what do you do for fun?

Thanks for asking. I redesign state flags.

Wisconsin.gif

This is the Wisconsin state flag. It stinks, but it is not alone in this regard. It is one of 20 state flags which consist of the state seal plopped down in the middle of a blue field. At a distance, this flag is indistinguishable from those others. That's why they came up with the brilliant idea of writing the name of the state on the flag. Many other states do this as well, but once a flag has writing on it, it's just a poster. Also, what's all that crap crammed in the center? I'll tell you, because nobody could possibly make out all that junk flapping at the top of a pole. We have a plow, an anchor, a baking soda logo, a shovel, two pickaxes, a guy with a weird beard, a guy with a weirder hat, two shields, a cornucopia, a badger, a "forward" banner, three ropes, a lead pyramid(?), and a belt which is clearly both buckled and tied. What does this say about Wisconsin? We do all the same things all the other states do, badgers live here, and we really don't want our pants to fall down.

May I humbly suggest an alternative?
NEW-WIstateflag-andy-rash.jpg

Here we have a green field representing agriculture bordered on the top and bottom by blue stripes representing Lake Michigan, Green Bay, and the many lakes and rivers in Wisconsin. I've also included a reference to DAIRY, for crying out loud. The five cheese wedges have the angular proportions of a five pointed star and create in their negative space a bold "Packers Green" W. This is a flag any Wisconsinite could fly with pride or recognize from about 40 miles away. Write your congressman.
Posted by Andy Rash at 12:45 PM


I love this flag!
-VEX-
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
VoronX
Member
Posts: 149
Joined: 29 Jun 2010 15:36

Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 16 Nov 2010 07:54

(This is a reposting that vexilo got in the other thread, but I thought it belonged here)
Mr. Zervic has a wonder new flag for Michigan, brilliantly argued for on his website: http://flag.zervic.com/
mi-flag-big.jpg

A green band represents the verdant land of Michigan,
with two stars for the two consitituent peninsulas of Michigan.

Five stripes represent the five Great Lakes of North America.


This one should be a no-brainer, especially compared to this:!
old_MI_flag_sm.jpg


-VEX
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.


Return to “Americas”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot] and 0 guests