"If that flag is second to last, which flag was the worst?" I can hear you asking. Well, the survey was conducted in 2001 and at that time, Georgia was in the middle of a flag transition and had a odd combination of state seal and all the state's previous flags in one design (see my post New Flag for Georgia for more info). Since then Georgia's flag as changed and while it still isn't in the top 10 or 20, it is definitely better than last place. The only conclusion I can draw is that Nebraska now holds the secure spot as being the worst flag in the USA and Canada.
I suppose I should tread lightly in regards to Nebraska's flag, for in doing research for this post I found the official information on the flag provided by the government of the state. On Nebraska's Secretary of State page, it said "State law says no part of the state flag is to be used as a business advertisement or trademark, and insulting the flag is forbidden." I have no intentions of trademarking this design, but it is possible I'll be insulting it as we go.
This flag is awful and the vexillology survey got it right. It seems like Nebraska was trying to follow the rule of having few, contrasting colors, but ignored the idea of keeping the imagery simple and concise. The end result of course is the mess seen above.
Honestly, I don't see anything worth keeping in this flag. Even the imagery used in the seal, ignoring how fussy and confusing it is, could be representative of almost anywhere (generic mountains, a river, fields, etc.). In the end I decided to maintain the shades of blue and the yellow used in the seal and discarding everything else. I used the natural monument Chimney Rock as the basis for a new design as it is unique to the state and served as an important landmark for several of the trails used by American settlers to travel west, primarily to Oregon, California, and Utah. Here is what I came up with:
Chimney Rock is balanced by a Zia sun symbol (also used on the New Mexico flag and seen on my proposal for a new Wisconsin flag) in the upper right in a design reminiscent of what was used on Nebraska's state quarter back in 2006:
A quick note on the Zia sun symbol. The Zia tribe is located in New Mexico, but that symbol has been found on flags in Wisconsin and Kansas, so I thought Nebraska (conveniently located between Wisconsin and Kansas) could use it as well.