Top 7 state flags in the U.S.

by Bryce Wren****

The state flags in the United States show a picture of what each state represents. They should be, at a quick glance, easily recognizable and provide a clear representation of the state.

There are, however, states that do not have a designed flag and use their state seal instead. In my opinion, these state flags do not really count.

I am looking for the top seven most appealing, and most representative, state flags in the United States. In order to rank them, I will be using elements of graphic design as well as what that state is representing in the flag design.

There are five principles of graphic design that need to be represented in each flag – alignment, repetition, contrast, hierarchy and balance/balance using tension.

State flags that use even one of these techniques can represent a great state flag. 

#7 – Wyoming

Wyoming would have a fantastic state flag if it were not bogged down by the blatant stamp that is in the center of the bison.

Looking at this through a graphic design lens, the balance is off because of multiple aspects.

The seal draws your attention, and if you were to get rid of that, you would have a clear understanding of which state this is as well as what it provides/represents… Bison.

Another balance issue is the trimming on the edge of the flag, which is not symmetrical with the red and white.

If the trimming were evened out or deleted altogether, this would allow the flag to be simple and recognizable. 

#6 – California

The California state flag is great and would only need to make minor adjustments to be a top tier flag.

The bear is a representation of California’s state animal, which is understandable why it is on its state flag.

The reason why this is lower on my list is that the California Republic below the bear ruins the balance of the flag. 

From a distance, a flag solely with a bear on it would immediately make you think of California. 

Therefore, cutting unnecessary text will allow a simpler, more representative flag. 

#5 – Colorado

The Colorado flag is a great representation of what simplicity can do. 

The red C with a bright yellow circle representing the Colorado sun and the blue and white lines representing blue skies and white snow in the Colorado Rockies.

 The elements of graphic design prove that using elements such as contrast can prove to be beneficial in designing a state flag.

#4 – (New) Mississippi

Mississippi recently changed its flag design and is one of the best re-designs we have had in two decades.

The Mississippi flag originally resembled the American flag but instead of the 50 stars, it used the Confederate flag.

This redesign better represents the state’s beauty as well as highlights the religious mindedness of one of the most religious states in the United States.

This flag not only looks better but represents, to many people, the end of a Confederate relic

With the death of George Floyd following Black Lives Matters protests, the Mississippi governor decided to change the flag.

#3 – New Mexico

The New Mexico flag is one of, if not the most, recognizable flags, using a bright yellow background with a deep red ancient Zia sun symbol stamped in the middle.

Contrast holds evident in this flag because of the stark differences inthe red and yellow as well as the symbol being put in the middle of the flag. 

#2 – South Carolina

The South Carolina flag is amazing for being recognizable, and representative, of the state.

 This flag does a good job of balancing the tension of the symbols through a smaller moon and a larger, more defined, Palmetto tree.

There is also good contrast between the blue background and white symbols that represent silver emblems worn on the caps of troops during the Revolutionary War and the blue of their uniforms. 

#1 – Alaska

The moment you all have been waiting for … the best state flag belongs to Alaska

This flag not only holds a great contrast, balance of tension and hierarchy, but has the representation of the Big Dipper and the North  Star. 

This is the flag that does it all, using a simplistic design to portray a simple message about what the state is known for as well as being easily understood. 

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