Purple Prose

•23 February 2011 • 1 Comment

Hoist and fly a new fresh design which references Nature’s beauty in the skies of Minnesota. Fly it joyfully and proudly, knowing that it is unlike any other flag in the country—perhaps even in the World. The “Star of the North” flag embodies ¬†all of Nature’s Seasons in colors—blue skies by night and by day; snowy white hillsides or Summer’s white clouds and below, green of prairies and croplands. Over it all—the large five-pointed white Star in the scene.

Picture the new flag flying high on tall flag staffs, out of doors. Or, in rows as it pass by in a parade; or at patriotic or sporting events. All parts of the design large and clear and easily seen and understood by all who see them—-young and old. Visualize a proud moment for all Minnesotans as they fly the North Star flag at their homes.

Minnesota’s Skies=Minnesota’s Flag

•25 January 2010 • 1 Comment

The ‘Special Art’ of Flag Designing

•18 October 2008 • Leave a Comment

Maybe designing flags is not really that especially different from the elements of making Art that an Art student is introduced to as basic to almost everything to be learned as beginning “rules” in any Art curriculum. Courses titled: Composition; Elements of Art; Design I; Color I, etc.,–beginners’ work.

Vexillology; from the Latin word “vexillum;” which was the name for a “flag” of ancient Roman cavalry–actually these were more like “standards;” more like plaques, tablets or posters–or small flags similar to what the military call GUIDONS.

Even earlier than Roman use of such markers, among Egyptian carved reliefs there are seen, plaque-like shapes with insignia atop staffs being carried in processions.

Origination of the word, “vexillology” is credited to Dr. Whitney Smith, long-time flag-guru of NAVA who coined the term when still a teen-ager, at a time when his unending research in the history, heraldry, and designing of flags had so early begun. (see Sidebar)

My own interest in the study of flags came late–after teaching Art for thirty years in a Minnesota State University. It is known that “ART” as a vocation, is really a life-long dedication–the connection of it to one’s life never ends when the Academic studio door is shut upon leaving the premises. I’d have to classify my turn to flags at the first stage as a “vexillophile”–a hobbyist; that is, collecting colorful designs, interesting stories of a flag’s origin, its meaning to the people whom it represented as well as the pride in which the flag was held by patriots of a state. Still an amateur, but rising to the level of “vexillographer”, a designer; revived my prolonged immersion in the world of Art; most all of the rudimentary aspects of Art emerged. This is the serious hobby that has begun. The shapes, the colors, the symbolism of them, the response to a demanding need to make an old, tired design “better” in all the ways one is able.

Continue reading ‘The ‘Special Art’ of Flag Designing’

Minnesota Flag Proposal from JD Makepeace

•13 February 2008 • 1 Comment

Recent contact with Jonathan Makepeace regarding his Vermont State flag design yielded a greeting and a present– his own design for a new Minnesota State flag:

Dear Minnesotans et al.,

Having recently received email from people trying to replace the state flag https://newmnflag.com/ , I decided to toss my attached proposal
into the ring.

Makepeace proposal for Minnesota

The state takes its name from the Minnesota River. The name
“Minnesota” means sky-tinted or slightly cloudy (sota) water (minne) in the Dakota language. This morning I was reading a poem that referred to something reflecting on water and this flag proposal popped into my head. Water is central to Minnesota’s identity, and the design is meant to simultaneously evoke the sky reflecting on water, cloudy water, flowing water, and, more generally, progress.

It’s also up on the Web.

Critiques are welcome.



Flags of other States in Question

•15 January 2008 • Leave a Comment

Minnesota State FlagWhile we have been looking at a few other major changes made in flags, we must say something about the activity for change that is taking place in other U.S. states. We thought that some of the proposals were not improvements, like those that felt the need to add their state’s name to the older design. Like over two dozen flags, from a distance—just 30 feet above the ground—all one could see is a small version of the state seal, or Coat of Arms or just a pleasant scene. When a State chooses to put its name on a flag, it shows it is insecure in its symbolism. There has to be something more symbolic and straight-forward in any state than simply writing its name on the flag. I wrote about this legislative susceptibility in an earlier post.

UtahLooking about the Web, we found many strong and exciting flag-design proposals. But, before we get to the standout designs, we’d like to show the final design selection of the “winner” of a contest conducted by the Salt Lake Tribune for a new Utah State Flag. Continue reading ‘Flags of other States in Question’

“WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT IT?” Minnesota’s Flag, I Mean…

•27 December 2007 • Leave a Comment

Zervic ImageWhen you look at some of the other state’s flags from among those that are considered “small indistinguishable designs on blue bed sheets,” I guess we could say that MINNESOTA’S state flag is no more trite, outmoded and “look alike,” than any of the others. And we’d probably agree that those other ones are really pretty dull and blah. But, that is the problem of the others; Minnesota’s is OUR flag and if we can also agree that it needs changing to a design that is clean, fresh, less complicated and easily recognized– then WE can make a choice to change it. Continue reading ‘“WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT IT?” Minnesota’s Flag, I Mean…’

Native Americans and State Flag Designs

•26 December 2007 • Leave a Comment

There isn’t one state among all of the fifty states that does not have among its villages, towns, and cities, rivers, lakes, and landscapes, the name of an aboriginal nation, tribe, or renowned Native American chieft or hero. If not taken directly from tribes and chieft, the names derive from terms or descriptions of nature coined by Native Americans. Our geography is in their debt.

And, after lengthy study of the 50 state flags, we noticed how Native Americans have fared in the connections we have made to the nation’s fifty state flags. To begin: two of the U.S. state flags’ designs are directly derived from known Native Americans.

AlaskaFirst: The flag of Alaska was designed while Alaska was still a Territory by a 13-year-old Native American boy named Bennie Benson. He was of Russian/Aleut and Swedish ancestry, living in a territorial school for boys. His flag design was adopted as the Territorial flag in 1926, and made the Alaska Territory’s official flag in 1957; then, upon Alaska’s admission to statehood in 1959, became the 49th state’s flag. “The blue of the forget-me-not flower and the gold of the Big Dipper.” Bennie’s flag is a clear, simple, and elegant rendition of a tribute to nature. (In 1959, Alaska geographically replaced Minnesota as the northernmost state in the U.S.) Continue reading ‘Native Americans and State Flag Designs’