Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Discussions on flags used in the Americas (South America, Central America, the Caribbean and North America)
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Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby ododobe » 17 Mar 2016 01:41

Apologies again for the missing pictures, hopefully one of the admin can delete the posts.
Things have evolved since then so I will give you the updated versions instead of going back over old ideas.

As mentioned previously after watching Roman Mars and recently going through the flag change process in New Zealand I have become somewhat addicted to flag design. Always looking for something to work on the obvious project is the state of the flags of the states of America.
So this is my ten cents worth.

Using the 2001 NAVA Survey ( and working from the bottom up. Skipping Georgia as they seem to think they have fixed theirs already.

First up is Nebraska.


The Cornhusker state. The white checkered pattern in the center is supposed to be representative of an ear of corn with the squares the kernels.
I chose to have them white as an homage to the blue and white chequered pattern of the International Nautical Signal Flag for "N".
The blue field is from the original but also comes from the original meaning of Nebraska, Flat Water after the Platte river.
I had also considered gold check on red as red seems to predominant when representing the state.

Next in line is Montana.

The state's nickname is the blue sky state so the main colour is a given. The rest of the symbols are the snow covered white mountains with the golden yellow line representing the states other nickname "the treasure state".


The sunflower state. Originally I had done a more elaborate sunflower but I decided to simplify it.
The eleven blue and white stripes represent the physiographic provinces of the state.
The blue lines running horizontal also have the added representation of the many rivers that run through the state.

South Dakota


Originally nicknamed the Sunshine state it seemed appropriate to re appropriate it back in some way in the state flag hence the big yellow part of the flag. The coyote is the state animal and is common through out the region so it too gains prominence on the flag.
The last aspect is the 40 stars that circle the design to represent the position they entered the union.
Missing is Mt Rushmore. As the Rushmore state it would be expected that this would feature on the flag but to my mind having a depiction of the monument would be unrecognizable at a distance or draped on a flagpole.


The North Star state that claims it is the Star of the North. Can't go wrong with stars then.
Looking at the mess of of the great seal there was little else unique about it with the usual suspects all there. However it does have 19 stars on it with one being larger to represent the North Star. So that is what this is. Now further explanation is needed for the three stars across the horizon of the flag. Polaris, the scientific name for the North Star is actually a cluster of three stars with on being much bigger and brighter than the other two. Ipso facto the three stars represent those of the Polaris. The shape of the biggest star is derived from the current Flag that two symbols like this on the bottom of the seal. It also is reminiscent of a compass.


Here the two slotted together shapes represent the shaking hands of the frontiersman and the statesman from the current flag. Together they also represent Unity and the state motto "United we stand, Divided we fall."
The three white five pointed stars (15 points in total) represent the states position for signing on to the union.
The two blue for the slotted shapes represent The Bluegrass State and the fact that Kentucky has the second most miles of navigable waterways in the United States, second only to Alaska.

Skipping ahead a bit' here is Florida

Had to do this one after discovering the original Spanish flag that flew over Florida with its jagged saltire.
Using that as the base I added an outline and followed the order of the Spanish flag of red- gold - red.
The addition of the solid red fill at the hoist and fly edge was not only aesthetical but when laid end to end they also make up the Nautical Signal Flag for the letter "F".

It's a start and I look forward to comments and suggestions.
Nathan Stevens
Amatuer Vexillologist / Professional Graphic Designer
New Zealand

Flag Explanation:Red, Black, White stripes on the hoist represent Tino Rangatiratanga, Maori Heritage, the Black and White on the fly represent Cornish ancestry.

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

Postby Libervurto » 03 Jun 2016 04:51

Hello, I hope I am right in posting my design for a State flag here. I am going through the blue-bed-sheet States as a learning (and fun) exercise. The one I chose to focus on first is Delaware.

Current State Flag of Delaware:

Proposed Redesign

I tried to keep it as simple as possible while highlighting elements from the old flag.
I took the blue, white and green stripes from the shield.
I kept the gold diamond in the centre of the flag, I'm not sure if this has any historical association with Delaware but it seems to be a unique element worth keeping.

Proportions with Hidden Meanings
The date printed on the current flag is, "December 7, 1787", this is the date Delaware became the first state to ratify the US Constitution.
That seemed like a pretty big deal worth commemorating, but even I as a beginner know text on flags is an unforgivable sin. What I decided to do was to encode this date into the proportions of the flag's elements: each of the horizontal stripes are 87x17, to designate the year 1787, and the diamond is constructed from the boundary of a rectangle with dimensions 12x7 to designate the date of December 7. (see diagram below)

I am quite pleased with this clever aspect of my design, although I have some reservations about it because I'm not sure how practical it is to encode meaning in proportions since flags are often scaled to many different sizes and only the ratios will be retained. (I toyed with the idea of including a scale somehow, possibly some embattling with unit squares between stripes, but it looked too busy.)
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Re: Fixing the Bad American State (and Territory) Flags

Postby VoronX » 06 Jul 2016 21:56

If you're putting yellow/buff diamond on white, I would recommend outlining/fimbriating it in Black, as otherwise it will disappear at a distance. However, the hidden dimension you are looking for will work as a proportion. You can also scale it to the standard 3' x 5' flag.

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