Minnesotans detest our state flag

It’s far too busy, racist, and ugly. The state is currently accepting submissions for redesigns, and you can view all 2,123 online. Yikes.

As you might predict, there are a fair number of joke submissions, a lot of ugly flags (but none as ugly as the original), and many that are just trying too hard. So I’m gonna make it simple for you all. This should be the new flag, entry #408:

It’s original. It’s simple. It’s beautiful. It’s appropriate to our state. And best of all, it will strike terror in the hearts of our neighbors, which is what you always want in a flag.


  1. garnetstar says

    I like it! The bird is wearing a beaded choker, with the star of Bethlehem in the background. As you say, very original.

  2. rblackadar says

    I assume that’s meant to be the North Star. Geometrically, at the latitude of MN, you would have to be a fish to see it that close to a loon’s beak. An unlucky fish.

    But yeah, nice design.

  3. Walter Solomon says

    Submission #92 reminds me of that three-eyed, mutated fish from The Simpsons. Naturally, it’s the best design there.

  4. Samuel Vimes says

    Well, it’s simple-ish. According to many a vexillologist, if a flag can’t be reasonably reproduced by a child in a 1″ x 1.5″ space, it’s too complicated.

    [Groucho] How a child got in to that small a space, I’ll never know. [/Groucho]

  5. says

    It looked kind of ominous before I figured out what it was, and it looks kinda cool now that I recognized the bird’s eye and beak-profile (and, yes, the classy choker). And it’s a simple design but doesn’t look like a child drew it. So…yeah, why not?

  6. nomaduk says

    It’s a simple fact that all of the US state flags that have a blue field and some stupid state seal on them are shite. They are virtually indistinguishable from each other, far too busy, and look like crap anyway.

    The uncontested best flag of any US state is that of New Mexico. Bright, simple design, instantly recognisable. Perfect.

    Minnesota has an opportunity to start the ball rolling on eliminating these 19th century abominations; have at it.

  7. nomaduk says

    Also, as any flag designer will tell you, putting words on a flag is a dumbshit idea because they’re too small to read, and they wind up backwards when you look at the flag from the wrong side. And as any designer will tell you, words immediately draw the eye away from anything else you wanted them to be attracted to. No words on flags.

  8. drsteve says

    @7,Samuel Vimes

    Now you have me curious how the US flag scores on that metric–even allowing for the fact that it’s probably not physically possible to draw all fifty stars, most adults wouldn’t get the number of short and long stripes right, from memory.
    I’m guessing vexillologists aren’t generally American flag fans?

  9. says

    Also, what’s so racist about the current flag? The Indian in the background watching the white guy plowing the land he’d stolen from its original occupants?

    And the star-point thingies around the circular seal…why does only one of them consist of three stars instead of four? Big fat meh.

  10. nomaduk says

    drsteve@12: Americans have a national anthem they can’t sing and a flag they can’t draw. Perfect.

  11. drsteve says

    @nomaduk, 10

    You aren’t wrong about NM having the best, but CA’s bear flag is also iconic, and even if it could be theoretically improved I bet there would be a lot ot opposition out here to even considering a change.

  12. says

    The best option is to reject the foolishness of “state sovereignty means we have to have a separate flag to rally around when we invade the cheeseheads.” The history of the flags in the former CSA should be enough, all by itself, to suggest that a “state flag” (or a flag for any subordinate unit of government below the nation) is a bad idea — especially in any area with lots of foreign consulates/embassies, where there can be considerable confusion that can lead to Incidents. Minneapolis/St Paul isn’t one of those regions yet, but if the war against the cheeseheads results in victory…

  13. mordred says

    nomaduk@11 Some years ago, during the soccer world cup here in Germany, a brothel created a new poster, greeting and inviting all international visitors. The poster contained pictures of the flags of all participating nations.

    This seriously pissed of one Arab country who had some writing on their flag – some words taken from the Quran which they really did not like to be printed on poster with a nude woman.

    As you said, putting writing on a flag is a bad idea.

  14. Rob Grigjanis says

    The “minne” in Minnesota comes from the Dakota word for water. The flag should somehow incorporate that theme.

  15. nomaduk says

    drsteve@15: I think the California flag could be greatly imrproved by simply removing the words ‘CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC’ from it. One could also update the bear a bit, make it a little more abstract or simple, but, hey. I do like the star.

  16. says

    If we’re changing state flags, maybe Virginia should replace the defeated-tyrant-in-Roman-garb with a defeated-tyrant-in-business-suit-and-nazi-armband? Or maybe a defeated-Klansman-in-white-sheets? Or maybe we should do a better job of further defeating them before we change our flag…

  17. nomaduk says

    I mean, if you have to put the name of the state on the flag to remind everyone which state it’s the flag of, your flag needs work.

  18. antigone10 says

    Too dark, too complicated.

    Should be easy to see at a distance and designed so simply a child could draw it.

  19. warriorpoet says

    @22 rblackadar,

    As a former resident of the state of Minnesota, I can assure you that a mosquito on the flag would be most appropriate, there are many who say it should be the state bird. Maybe remove the “Minnesota Republic” part though.

    As for striking fear in the hearts of the neighbors, I would submit that #61 would be the best choice, considering that the neighbors include Iowa and the Dakotas.

  20. warriorpoet says

    @22 rblackadar,

    As a former resident of the state of Minnesota, I can assure you that a mosquito on the flag would be most appropriate, there are many who say it should be the state bird. Maybe remove the “Minnesota Republic” part though.

    As for striking fear in the hearts of the neighbors, I would submit that #61 would be the best choice, considering that the neighbors include Iowa and the Dakotas.

  21. hemidactylus says

    The deal breaker for me with the Florida Seal is “In God We Trust”. The Seminole woman seems ok. They made her depiction less historically inaccurate than previous versions: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_of_Florida#

    It’s the flag itself with the semblance of the confederate St. Andrew’s cross that bugs me:

    though maybe it is inspired by the Spanish cross of Burgundy.

    Still religious though not nearly the worst thing to come from or represent Florida.

  22. hemidactylus says

    In an interstate war between Minnesota and Wisconsin would they kill each other with kindness? Or yell “donchaknow!” across the battlefield?

  23. rblackadar says

    @26 warriorpoet —
    Forget birds, I think the inference we should make is that MN mosquitoes are the size of grizzly bears.

    (Which, btw, is a species of bear that was completely wiped out of California some hundred years ago. Update the flag, or reintroduce?)

  24. hemidactylus says

    If we ever change the Florida flag, I would go with either a naked man with a tramp stamp high on bath salts eating someone’s else’s face off or a drunk in a beat-up patina covered pickup tossing a juvenile alligator through a drive thru window. May as well go with accurate representations here.

  25. Jean says

    The choker is actually Braille and if I read it right that’s: #A#8#5#8

    Does that mean anything?

  26. thomasjbarrett says

    @31 Jean –
    1858 was the year MN became a state.

    My faves as a Minnesotan:
    F59 (state bird)
    F119 (bayg)
    F159 (duck duck gray duck)
    F589 (capture the flag champions)

    In reality I’m sure it’ll be something bland.

  27. Robbo says

    @31 Jean, I looked at the choker and thought it has to be some code. I didn’t think Braille though! Good catch!
    @32 thomasjbarrett, good catch too!

  28. Reginald Selkirk says

    @3: Does the bird imply that you’re all loonatics?

    Maybe not all, but certainly those who repeatedly elected Michele Bachmann.

  29. Walter Solomon says

    nomaduk @ 10

    The uncontested best flag of any US state is that of New Mexico Maryland.


  30. birgerjohansson says

    F 47 makes Minnesota one of the Nordic countries (the cross may have a religious origin but has been de-religionised in our countries).

    I like it. And if you set up a matter teleporter we can travel between your cities and Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen.

  31. birgerjohansson says

    Rich Woods @ 38
    For clarity, the flag should have a dollar sign above depictions of Mammon and Priapus, the god of fortune that has a grotesquely large penis.
    This represents the modern trinity. 🤑

  32. devnll says

    nomaduk@11: Pretty sure that goes double for the Braille on the bird’s collar.

    Mind you, Braille on a flag does tickle my irony meter. Reminds me of the sign I saw years ago at a McDonalds – at what was essentially a highway offramp truckstop, on the inside of the window, where you couldn’t even touch the lettering – that said “Braille menus available on request.” I get it; the person who drove you here can request a menu for you, but still…

  33. Erp says

    I’m inclined to F105. contrasting colors, only 4 colors, relatively simple design, distinctive. The simply drawn black loon on white (too many of the flags have black loon on blue which isn’t contrasting enough) looking at a gold north star with a dark blue background.

  34. arrantprac says

    I was disappointed that not one submission featured the MST3K theater silhouette at the bottom.

  35. ANB says

    @nomaduk I like your comments–all. (As well as the majority of others).

    Flags need to be simple and clear, and without words (IMHO). I personally like my state flag, but there’s really no need for “California Republic,” is there? Minnesota’s is a fucking mess.

    NM is great, as are so many foreign countries with very simply colors. I frankly am not in love with our flag (visually, or as a symbol). Nauru is great. Mexico. Mongolia, Brazil. Barbados. Japan. And so many more.

  36. chalcid says

    The collar is indeed Braille: the number 1858, the year they were admitted to the club. The repeated character (like a backwards L) signals that the next character (or group of characters) is a number. Digits use the first ten letters. Using the number character for each digit isn’t typical past the early learning level (uncontracted, aka grade 1).

  37. StevoR says

    There’s a lot of Aussies that share the hate our flag sentiment here with lots of ideas for a new national flag too FWIW.

  38. StevoR says

    ^ See :


    Among other places. Thatcolonial Union Jack sneeds to go a lot of Aussies – me included think. There’s even a wiki[page – or should that be, of course, a wikipage? See :


    @45. chalcid : Actually Braille is an asteroid that’s been seen by one of our robot spacecraft – but not all that well :


  39. nomaduk says

    StevoR@46&47: Well, it’s true the Aussies are a bit sore about the Poms, but I do have a certain fondness for the Union Jack; it’s one of the single most recognisable designs of any current national flag. I mean, even Hawai’i still uses it in their state flag! There’s something to be said for historical elements. If the UK does come apart some day, one of the things I will most regret will be the loss of the Union Jack in its current form; it is a near-perfect design.

    But, obviously, que sera, sera. It would, however, be a real shame to lose the Southern Cross in any new design. That’s another lovely bit that both Australia and New Zealand flags have that makes them distinctive.

  40. Walter Solomon says

    nomaduk @ 48

    I do have a certain fondness for the Union Jack; it’s one of the single most recognisable designs of any current national flag.

    There are some downsides to it though:

    1) It doesn’t include any representation of Wales despite that country being part of the UK.

    2) It’s associated with colonialism/racism and rightfully so. The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (“Confederate Flag”) is pretty recognizable too, even over seas where it’s often used as a proxy for outlawed Nazi imagery, but given what it represented and continues to be associated with, it’s for the best that it’s being phased out.

  41. says

    It doesn’t include any representation of Wales despite that country being part of the UK.

    I thought the diagonal red-on-white cross represented Wales.

  42. Nes says

    I only got about halfway through the pages before the site started breaking down and not loading anything more, but up to that point my favorite was 711. It hits most of the “rules” for flag designs (or as I prefer to think of them, “very strong suggestions”).

    1) Keep it simple: Yup. A couple of fields with an offset chevron shape dividing them. Star set in a standard position. A child’s drawing of this, even if they might not get the chevron divider quite right, would still be recognizable.
    2) Use meaningful symbolism: Yup. Green, white, and blue representing forests, snow, and water. The left field is a very simplified outline of the state. Star for The North Star State/L’Étoile du Nord.
    3) Use 2-3 basic colors: Almost. It uses 4.
    4) No lettering or seals: Yup.
    5) Be distinctive or be related: I would say that it’s distinct from the other existing state flags, and probably any future state flags.

  43. Walter Solomon says

    Raging Bee @ 54

    I thought the diagonal red-on-white cross represented Wales.

    If you’re referring to the Saint Patrick’s Cross, that represents Ireland. I’m not sure why it’s still there because I’m not British.

  44. seleukos says

    I’m not Minnesotan, or American for that matter, but I like the flag of New Mexico and submissions F1093 / F2099 look like a good northern equivalent of it. I’m lumping them together because they’re almost identical.

  45. beholder says

    > PZ tries to talk about Minnesota’s flag

    > Based commenters talk about New Mexico’s flag instead

    It warms my heart. And not just because someone who may or may not have been a beholder edited Wikipedia years ago to say our green-chile-powered state has the best-designed flag, according to totally real vexillologists.

    It’s our time to shine, in someone else’s thread. Sorry about that, PZ.

  46. brightmoon says

    NY’s state flag is blah, 2 white women with a round object depicting a sun rising over a hill next to water with sail boats on it. . The round object is kinda ok but our state motto in the flag is “excelsior“ which makes me laugh every time I think of it . Excelsior is wood shavings used for packing material . The Latin word is supposed to be the state motto it means higher or upwards but that 2nd meaning always gets a giggle .

    I haven’t picked out a flag for Minnesota because I’ve never been and as a Newyorker it’s kinda out there, somewhere over yonder, for me .

  47. macallan says

    A few days ago saw a bleached out flag at a walmart. Reddish with a white circle in the middle. Took me a while to figure out that it was a very bleached out tennessee state flag, and not something slightly more sinister.

    Yes, I’m from Germany.

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