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.”
The designer explains:
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.
Emboldened by the Obama campaign’s elevation of graphic design over ideas or experience, Mitchell wants to eliminate partisanship with a top-down vexillological solution. Color me vexed.
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.
It “might” sound silly? Don’t sell yourself short.
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.)
Mitchell calls the wimpier blue and red a change from “Old Glory” to “New Hope” which makes me want to cry. He also mandates that state flags must be smaller than New Hope, apparently just to shame them.
I’m sorry, but on what planet is this…
…superior to 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…
You knew there was a “but” coming.
…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.
Since I am both a graphic designer and a proud federalist, I take this project as a personal insult. What do you think of your flag’s new design?
¡Viva la Reformación!
I was raised Lutheran and currently attend a reformed church. I was curious to see which group was most interested in claiming the lofty mantle of the Reformation. Being an heir of the Protestant Work Ethic, I created some T-shirt designs showing the great theologians in the iconic Che Guevara pose.
From today through Reformation Day (Oct. 31, 2013), I'm holding a contest to see which sells better:
Guevara was a lousy revolutionary, despite his inexplicable popularity. But where Che pointed to secular salvation. Calvin and Luther pointed to a real revolution — not only in church and society but in body, mind and spirit.
Whether you're on campus or at church, lifting a tankard or planting some TULIPs, visiting Geneva or Wittenburg, let the world know which reformer is your favorite, Martin Luther or John Calvin! I will tabulate the sales week by week to see the "votes."
Share the contest far and wide — I'll keep you updated on the scores and will reveal the winner immediately after Reformation Day on Nov. 1, 2013.