I'm starting to run out of polite ways to introduce terrible flags designs, not a good sign since I've only done a dozen or so. Here's Illinois:
Another white flag with a seal, though this seal is far more interesting than the one Massachusetts uses. The eagle looks good, there's a nice sunset (sunrise?) in the background, and it harkens back to the Civil War with the slogan and Union shield. It seems a bit odd that of the two dates on the rock, the date of statehood (1818) is below the date of the adoption of the seal (1868), but that's their call.
Back in 1918, a flag was designed for the Illinois centennial that did away with the seal and stuck to using stars as symbolism. It looked alright, but I'll try and do better:
This is the flag of Springfield, the Illinois state capital:
It has an interesting, deep purple color scheme, 21 stars, and some text (but that's easy to get rid of). I've used it as a jumping off point to try and create one for the state as a whole. Where better to look than the city in the center? Here's what I've come up with:
The stars denote Illinois's position as the 21st state to join the union. The blue represents the waters of the state, Lake Michigan, the Mississippi, and the Ohio, but on this flag, the blue serves a more important purpose. Can you see it? Ok, here's a hint, who is the native son that Illinois is most proud of, one of the most important Americans ever? The blue, and the fact that it doesn't reach all the way across, make the purple appear in the shape of Abraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat!
I'm pretty proud of this one.