Monday, February 27, 2012

New Flag for North Carolina

North Carolina's flag isn't too bad:

Of course, I have some picayune problems with it, mostly in reference to the text on the little banners, but by and large this is a neat flag design.  Large blocks of color, no distracting or minute details, just remove the text and we can call it a day:

But you know, I can't help the feeling that I've seen this flag somewhere before, like it may be a design already in use. . .:

This, in case you don't know, is the flag of Texas, a very well-known and much beloved symbol of all things Texan.  In predates the North Carolina flag as a state symbol by about fifteen years and was used before that by the Texas Republic, quite a significant pedigree in my opinion.  In contrast, North Carolina first adopted a state flag in 1861 when it seceded from the Union and it looked like this:

It was changed after the Civil War to its current design, which I think was unfortunate.  With the secession flag, North Carolina at least toyed with the color scheme (plus I think the big star on red looks spiffy), rather than the modern day flag which is essentially the flag of Texas inverted and defaced with text.

In the interest of creating a new design, and in deference to the Texas flag (which, as I've said in an earlier post, is terrific), I present my idea on a new flag for North Carolina:

This preserves the basic idea behind the current flag, but changes it in enough ways as to be easily distinguishable from that of Texas.  I returned to the color scheme of the secession-era flag and removed the star and text.  The template for this flag is actually the flag of the city of Memphis, Tennessee, though it had a seal on the vertical stripe.  The red on the hoist is nice and broad, hopefully separating it from any tri-colors or other Texas-esque flags out there.  No text, images, or crazy designs, just red, white, and blue.  And I suppose, if one was so inclined, the diagonal slant could be reminiscent of North Carolina's western border, but you'll never hear me make such a claim. 

A brief bit of explanation for the slightly ridiculous amount of brown-nosing I did in regards to the flag of Texas.  It is a great state flag, and though that may be my favorite thing about Texas, I feel the few truly original state flags should be defended.  If all the states copied New Mexico, Maryland, and Texas, it would just dilute those designs and leave us with a confusing mess of virtually identical flags, a scenario not too different from what we have now with all the seal-on-blue banners.

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Flag for Minnesota

This week, we'll return to the United States after a sojourn to Australia and a (not so) brief hiatus.  Let's take a look at the flag of Minnesota:

Here we see a typical seal-on-blue arrangement so common for states in the USA.  It hits several of the points on my list of boring flag designs, including blue background, state seal, and text.  As I've worked my way through these flags, I've come to realize that spelling out your state's name on your flag may be a coping mechanism, a feeble attempt to help the citizens identify their own flag.  If it were up to me, I'd solve this problem by not using the same design as everyone else, but then I'm very rarely asked for input in these matters (I like to think it's because I hadn't been born, but who knows).

Minnesota's flag does have one interesting feature that I kind of like; the arrangement of the stars behind the seal suggesting one large star.  It's a little reminiscent of a sheriff's badge.  The seal itself is far too busy, including a farmer, a Native American on horseback, mountains, a waterfall, and a lump in the corner that is supposed to be a stump.  If it's hard to make out that detail in the above image, just imagine trying to decipher it when it is flying from a flagpole.  I think Minnesota can do better.

Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and has a rich and interesting history.  My favorite synopsis of this history however, come from the Onion's hilarious "Our Dumb World" atlas.  It states,

"After being told by Eastern explorers that they had an unusual number of lakes, intrepid Minnesotans started counting, got stuck at 99, and just skipped ahead to the highest number they'd ever heard of, 10,000."

The flag of Minnesota has been the subject of debate for many years.  Some dislike how boring it is and others are troubled by the fact that it takes Manifest Destiny as an inevitable force.  Both are valid and one common solution that has arisen is the "North Star" flag:

This flag isn't too bad, only a few colors, good contrast, simple design, but it probably isn't fair of me to claim I fixed the flag without offering a suggestion of my own:

This flag uses colors taken from the original, placing white on the top to symbolize Minnesota's northern position, yellow and green below for the mineral and agricultural wealth of the state, and a blue circle in the center standing for the state's many lakes.  I like this design, even if it looks a little like India's flag, and white as the top stripe would certainly be unique in American state flags.  If I were the people of Minnesota though, I'd probably go with the "North Star."