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."


  1. Both the north star flag and your are good solutions. The north star flag looks a bit more river than lakes, but then I guess the Mississippi starts in Minn. I wonder what a star with the "river" emerging from it might look like? I think its a winner!

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