Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A new flag for Michigan

Ed Mitchell, a designer at Philadelphia-based Bresslergroup has come up with a complete set of new state flags that use a unified color pallet and symbology.

Not too long ago I heard a radio piece about a city flag. Curiosity led me down the path to our state flags. I was immediately bothered by how discordant they are as a group, and I wasn’t surprised to learn they break just about every rule of flag design. (More on the official rules of flag design later.) When you look at them all together, there’s no indication they come from the same nation.
Gone are the chaotic array of old state symbols and divisive symbols of the past. In their place we find stars, lots and lots of stars and a brightened up shades of red and blue. You can see Michigan's new (painfully bland) flag below.

The white is the peninsula and the rising sun. The shield represents defense, which comes up three times in the current flag. The three stars symbolize Michigan’s three mottos: “Out of Many, One”; “I Will Defend”; and “If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look Around You.”

This flag just doesn't do it for me. Without the description, it's impossible to know that it represents Michigan. It also lacks my favorite feature of the flag of Michigan: the sasquatch walking along the lake shore with a walking stick. You can check out an array of flags below and try to guess which represents each state.

Via: Boing Boing via Wired


  1. So... are you arguing that the current flag *does* obviously represent Michigan, or just that if we're going to make a change it should be improved in that way?

    I agree with you, though. The 'new' designs forego all character in the interest of a common language. The one statement I think they make is "might as well not have states at all."

  2. The current flag mentions the presence of peninsulae, and has a picture of a moose and elk. Though the animals are rare in the state, they are from the coat of arms for the Hudson Bay Company, which was technically the first European authority to govern what would be Michigan.

    I'd like a flag that incorporates the white-tailed deer, and the white pine (representing the UP) with the oak (representing the LP).

  3. Yeah, I am not crazy about the proposed new flag. Admittedly, there is a serious dearth of ruminant schlong in the original that should be corrected, but the more modern one has no sense of history (or schlongs).

  4. Screw this. Why do we have to go towards a bland center for everything?

  5. The new flag looks like the logo for a generic brand of toothpaste or shaving cream.

  6. it's not a *proposed* new flag, it's just a side project that a designer did for fun. so. the precious state seal stands! cause that's so interesting.

  7. "Depicted on the shield is a lake with a yellow sun rising over the blue waters. A man is standing on a peninsula with one hand raised in a greeting of friendship and the other hand holding a rifle. An Elk and a Moose support the shield between them and a Bald Eagle grasping an olive branch and arrows in its talons is shown above the shield.

    Three mottos are shown on the coat of arms: E Pluribus Unum (From many, one), Tuebor (I will defend), and Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you). These mottos are reflected in the coat of arms pictorially. E Pluribus Unum, also our national motto, aligns with the depiction of the Bald Eagle. Tuebor is represented in the arrows clasped in the eagle's talons and the gun held in the man's left hand. Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice is supported by the warmth of the sun, the man's friendly greeting from the peninsula and the olive branches held by the Bald Eagle.

    The Bald Eagle represents the United States and the Elk and Moose represent Michigan."

  8. There was an interesting proposal set forth some years back: