Monday, June 6, 2011

New Flag for South Dakota

I'm taking a break from Canada this week, largely because I'm having trouble coming up with good flags for Manitoba and Alberta, but with any luck I'll figure them out by next week. 

South Dakota has one thing going for it: Mount Rushmore.  Ok, that's not really fair, but you understand my point.  The big draw of the state, which it freely admits on its flag, are the massive heads carved into the scared mountains of the Lakota (not a bad microcosm of American history):

This flag returns to a familiar template, that of the seal on blue, and it one-ups the terribleness by adding the state name and the state's nickname (I guess).  The fact that the seal is done in only two colors compounds the problem, making the center a confusing, indistinct mess.  If they're really married to the idea of the seal on their flag, they could at least remove the words.  The sunburst behind the seal provides some promise too:

I've kept the sun for two reasons: 1) It makes the flag stand out a bit, as most others just use a circle and 2) because the state nickname of South Dakota was once the Sunshine State.  I'm sure there's some logic in there somewhere.  The text is gone and replaced with some simple symbols, each done with only white and black.  They're meant to represent the four presidents on Mount Rushmore, thus drawing attention to that famous feature without (literally) spelling it out.

The only complaint I could envision (Ok, one of the complaints) is that is looks like a jumble of clip art.  I freely admit that I agree, but I'm of the opinion that a few simple designs with specific meanings are far more preferable than seals and shields that are both too detailed and attempting to pack as much as possible onto a piece of cloth.

I've also noticed this is the second time I've used Lincoln's hat on a flag.  How many others can say that?


  1. How about just the blue with the yellow sunburst? Dump the icons completely? But then it might be more Kansas-like? since Kansas is the sunflower state.

  2. That's very perceptive. I've been working on a Kansas flag with that idea for a while, but haven't managed to get it right.
    South Dakota will probably end up in a Fix the Fixes post at some point, along with Ohio and Iowa. I'm not satisfied with any of those.

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