Upset by the lack of unity in the United States, a Philadelphia graphic designer has redesigned all 50 state flags using a common design theme. Ed Mitchell of the Philadelphia design firm Bresslergroup limits the colors to red, white and blue, and features only bold, simple designs. Gone are those troublesome state seals, mottos and other text that might hint at divergence from the collective “we.”
I was immediately bothered by how discordant [state flags] are as a group, and I wasn’t surprised to learn they break just about every rule of flag design… When you look at them all together, there’s no indication they come from the same nation.
Unfortunately this is an accurate representation of where we are right now as a country. We can’t seem to get anything done. But we used to. As a tribute to the collective creativity that brought us this far — and, truth be told, to the “united-ness” I hope we adopt in the future — I embarked on a project to redesign all fifty state flags.
To begin to create a cohesive group of flags I first stripped away everything (like Civil War symbols) that reminded me of a divided nation. I removed the numbers that indicated a state’s induction into the union. It might sound silly, but I aimed to get rid of anything that could point to rivalry, i.e., who came first.
I used color as my unifying branding element. Color is commonly used to signify brand identity — even more than form, color can unite a product with its family. I brightened up the red, white, and blue. (I was okay with the colors being more reminiscent of the French flag than Great Britain’s.)
I’m sorry, but on what planet is this…
love the idea that we can argue and fight with each other and that we have the freedom to redesign potent, historic symbols. Freedom of expression— of speech and ideas — is what makes this nation great. But…
…But lately it feels like we’re off balance. I believe design can be used as a tool to challenge our current beliefs — in this case, to make people think about what we represent, what image we want to project, and how it will look when we’re all working together.