After hundreds of submissions and months of deliberation, Minnesota will quickly have a brand new state flag. Designed by Andrew Prekker, a 24-year-old artist, author, and lifelong Minnesotan, the “Unity of Minnesota” flag beat out three different designs to grow to be the official flag. Minnesota’s Emblems Redesign Fee spent months wading via submissions, whittling them right down to a choose few.
[Images: State Emblems Redesign Commission]
Prekker’s design contains a blue swallowtail form that evokes the define of Minnesota on the hoist finish. The flag prominently contains a North Star, a reference to the state’s French-language motto, “L’Étoile du Nord.” Prekker mentioned the design was meant to emphasise the state’s most original options. Ted Kaye, a vexillologist on the North American Vexillological Affiliation (NAVA), known as the design “distinctive.”
The three finalists. [Image: State Emblems Redesign Commission]
For Minnesotans preferring a flag that follows NAVA’s guide to good flag design—easy and distinctive, with significant symbols, just some colours, and no lettering or seals—the proposed “Unity of Minnesota” design will likely be an enchancment from the present flag, which is one among some two dozen U.S. state flags that merely depicts the state seal. In Minnesota’s case, it exhibits a farmer and Indigenous man on horseback in a scene that’s been criticized as racist.
The flag has by no means been a very standard or broadly adopted image, and it as soon as completed sixth from final in a NAVA survey of North American state and province flags—therefore the push for a rebrand. As Prekker mentioned in an official assertion, a part of his flag’s attraction is that its distinctive star has the potential for branding and merchandising.
The method for choosing a brand new flag has been a dash, although years within the making (a “Minnesotans for a greater flag” Fb group Prekker joined was began in 2009). This Might, the state voted for a fee to overtake the flag and seal, and the fee started assembly in September with a mandate to ship new designs by New Yr’s Day 2024. The method concerned greater than 2,000 submissions and public feedback.
There have been commonalities in most of the flag designs submitted, suggesting some symbols resonate extra broadly than others. The colours inexperienced, blue, and white appeared throughout many designs and on all of the finalists, and the Star of the North was far and away the preferred image. Stars appeared in 84 % of the submissions, in comparison with about 14 % that featured a loon.
On Tuesday, the fee voted on variants of the chosen design to find out its last particulars. A complete of 166 completely different sorts of stars had been submitted, and the group settled on an eight-point model that evokes the form that seems on the ground of the Minnesota Capitol rotunda.
“I don’t wish to name this design by committee—it’s design by group,” artist and designer Luis Fitch, who chairs the committee, tells Quick Firm.
A spread of proposed designs. [Images: State Emblems Redesign Commission]
Design by group
The politics of redesigning state symbols could be fraught. Simply look to pushback on a Republican-led effort to revamp the state flag in Utah and stalled efforts to introduce a brand new Kansas license plate as a result of some mentioned it appears too just like New York’s. Designing civic symbols to symbolize various communities is inherently difficult, and with one thing as subjective as design, you’ll by no means have the ability to please everybody.
‘What I realized was I wanted to be as clear and democratic as potential,” Fitch says.
[Image: State Emblems Redesign Commission]
Tensions generally simmered at fee conferences. Throughout one assembly, a speaker could possibly be heard on a sizzling mic criticizing somebody as a know-it-all. In one other, discussions over whether or not the fee had the ability to translate the state’s French-language motto on the state seal to English or Dakota grew to become a degree of competition. “We don’t have the authority to vary the motto,” Minnesota state Rep. Bjorn Olson, a Republican and nonvoting member of the fee, argued on the time. In the end, the fee settled on a seal depicting a loon (the state hen) with pink eyes, rising from water, and the Dakota phrase that the state derives its identify from: Mni Sóta Makoce, which means Land The place the Waters Replicate the Clouds.
One factor commissioners may all appear to agree on: They didn’t care a lot for the opinions of outsiders, balking at a information report about reactions to a show of the finalist flags on the Mall of America. Not not like how New Yorkers would possibly dismiss what Midwesterners in Occasions Sq. take into consideration their metropolis, Minnesotans weigh the opinions of their neighbors far above these of vacationers. State flag design, it seems, is a household matter.
[Image: State Emblems Redesign Commission]
Flags “actually stake a declare to house and land,” finalist Sarah Agaton Howes mentioned when introducing her flag design, which was made within the type of Native loom work. Proponents of redesigning unpopular state flags see their work as helpful for each civics and enterprise. A flag is usually a instrument to spice up a state’s shared identification and satisfaction, and in addition its model. However there’ll inevitably be critics. Whereas some will merely not like the brand new design as a matter of private choice, others will see it as an try to erase historical past. Disagreements over graphic design could be mapped onto preexisting political arguments over progress versus conservatism.
Fortunately for Minnesota, its state motto has confirmed a strong image. The state’s first governor, Henry Sibley, picked “L’etoile du Nord” as Minnesota was then the northernmost state, and it endured. Polaris, the star that doesn’t transfer, is symbolism rooted in historical past and heritage, however it additionally factors a path ahead. A logo with the potential to span partisan variations, maybe? Fitch is a fan, since “we already personal the Star of the North, and there are such a lot of lovely tales and analogies related to it.
“In the event you observe that individual star, you land in Minnesota,” he says. “It tells us the place we’re proper now, and it may assist information us to the long run.”