The Fifty Two Flags Wrapup, Part 2

Hey, here’s the second round of flags from the Flag Day 2018 voting thread. This second round had fewer unfortunate match-ups – I mean, as it would. You’re more likely, in a match up of American flags, to find two really bad flags fighting than a good flag versus a bad flag or a good flag versus a good flag.

Now, as for last time, our list of qualities for a good flag:

  • Limited Palette. Two to five colours!
  • Meaningful Symbolism. It needs to show something that means something!
  • Scalability. It needs to still work if it’s scaled way down!
  • Replicable. It needs to be something you can reproduce easily!

Now then.


It’s a seal on a bedsheet. It’s also way too many colours, and way too much fine detail. This is still the way most of the flags in the US states work.


I mean, c’mon look at that tiny script. Look at that tiny seal in the middle of the flag which has an even tinier seal in the middle of it. What a ridiculously bad flag design.

How many stars are there? Can you tell readily?

Didn’t think so.


Nevada is a bit of a contrition point. What I shared originally in the thread was the Nevada flag from the 1920s –

Which is, I’m sure you can tell, super bad. The flag they’re currently using is better… but not by much.

New Jersey

Seal on a bedsheet. The bedsheet is even fake tan.

New York

New York likes to act like it’s better than New Jersey, but when it comes to flags, nope.

This is one of the few flags that could pass the Bechdel-Wallace test, though


This one got a bye in the first round and the second it showed up it went down hard. Seal. bedsheet!


Utah has the most beehives of any state flag. It also has flags on it, that are better flags. It’s also a seal. It’s also only a few years old – this design dates back to the early 2000s. Oh, and it has gradients and fine detail, a clear CGI printed flag.


A bad seal-on-a-bedsheet flag, this flag was also censored by the Attorney-General of the United States, John Ashcroft, back in the early 2000s, because he was unhappy with her exposed breast.


It isn’t a great design, but the red-white-blue ring of frames, then the buffalo (or bison?) symbol in the centre could be a decent flag. The buffalo has a bit too much detail (things like the two separate legs in back), but you could have made an emblem that evoked the shape of the buffalo.

Then they stuck a seal on it!


Good, bold, simple design, but oh hey how about that, text and it’s also confederatey. Dicks.


Text, detailed artwork. California’s flag just straight up sucks. Which is a shame, the goofy bear looking over its shoulder is kinda cool.


This flag is the first in this article where I had to check what it is. This is because in addition to being a dreadful flag, it’s also really unmemorable. See those little vineys with grapes on them? Just one of them would be too detailed to make a flag emblem on its own. What’s even funnier is that they’re not even the same! So you have to get specific and maybe check the details!


Seal, fine detail, gradient, text.


So this Louisiana state flag is at least a tiny bit interesting because you might look at it and ask yourself ‘what the heck is going on?’

This is a pelican feeding its young. It’s feeding its young with its own blood, puncturing its chest and dripping the blood to the babies. This is how people thought, back in the medieval days, pelicans lived – they thought pelicans fed their young their own blood, like vampires.

No, I don’t know why.

I don’t know if the people who made this flag thought this was true either.

It’s still really silly.

Anyway, lots of detail and text.


Maryland is a super irritating flag because there are some ways it’s a good flag. If you want to make this out of four pieces of paper – black, yellow, white and red – and a pair of scissors, you can, just by folding and cutting them up properly to get the right shape. It’s pretty cool. The thing is, the result is hellishly busy and very hard to represent in illustration.

The other thing is, this flag historically is a sort of compromise. It was instituted to try and get something ‘confederatey’ in the design to make sure racists in the state – which was in the North during the war – felt coddled.

So hell with this flag.


And finally, Michigan. It’s almost nothing at this point, but I’d like to point out that in addition to the seal on a bedsheet, the details, the asymmetry and the text, this text has non-standard English characters!

And that’s this round!


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