Submissions for the new Minnesota State flag and seal are out

Bonus: Reformer staff picks

By: - November 8, 2023 4:26 pm

The current flag of Minnesota.

The submissions are in! The commission deciding on a new Minnesota state flag and seal have released Minnesotans’ ideas, displaying the creativity, lack of creativity and occasional snarky humor of our neighbors. 

The State Emblems Redesign Commission accepted over 2,600 submissions for the Minnesota state flag or seal in a one-month period this October. Later this month, SERC will pare that number down to five each and discuss potential further edits, hoping for consensus by Jan. 1. 

Submissions were open to any person of any age who wished to submit, making for a wealth of options that range from a child’s coloring page  — SERC did say new flags should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory, after all — to a seasoned graphic designer’s pet project.

Submission #S125. Courtesy of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

Submission #F584. Courtesy of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

Of the 2123 submissions for the Minnesota state flag, the Reformer counted 286 loons, two rubber duckies, and innumerable other slight variations on the North Star flag. A number of folks submitted the current flag, perhaps meant to be a comment on a primary reason for changing the flag and seal: The racist depiction of Native Minnesotans. Or perhaps people who just hate change. Too bad for them, we’re getting a new flag and seal. 

The North Star flag, first proposed in 1989 by Lee Herold and William Becker, is also up for consideration by SERC. The flag is already widely used amongst Minnesotans.

Submission #F27. Photo courtesy of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.


The Original North Star flag. Photo courtesy of Minnesotans for a New Flag.

While the North Star and its variations seem to be strong contenders, our reporters here at the Reformer, of course, had their favorites. 

Chris Ingraham’s pick: Submission #F29

Submission #F29. Courtesy of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

The North American Vexillological Association, a trade group for people who are really into flags, says that a good flag design needs to be simple, symbolic and distinctive. This design hits the mark on all counts, evoking the Star of the North as well as our famously snowy winters.

Deena Winter’s pick: Submission #F274

An approximation of submission #F274.

I like the multiple submissions that are basically the national flag of the People’s Republic of China, or the Gadsden Flag, which has a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t tread on me” on a yellow backdrop. They’re a good reminder that no matter how seemingly benign and mundane an activity, you can always find a way to inject polarizing politics into the conversation if you really put your mind to it.

Madison McVan’s pick: Submission #F710

Submission #F710. Courtesy of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

While other flag designs feature the cold, outdoorsy aspects of Minnesota like snow and winter landscapes, this buffalo check design feels more representative of the cozy, warm moments we cling to throughout the coldest months. It’s also giving holiday magic, Paul Bunyan and sexy lumberjacks, symbols that in my opinion deserve some more representation in our state emblems.

Editor’s note: Cut Madi some slack. She arrived in Minnesota after the 2018 campaign, when the buffalo check became a tiresome symbol of then-DFL nominee Tim Walz’s regular guy campaign.

Michelle Griffith’s pick: Submission #F156

Submission #F156. Courtesy of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

The yellow-lab-looking doggie appears to be standing in front of a cornfield, which highlights the state’s deep agricultural history. I think the flag also would attract families to the state — a goal of many politicians including the governor — and what better screams that Minnesota is a family-friendly state than a dog staring into the unknown, contemplating where to get its next treat.

Max Nesterak’s pick: Submission #F1422

Submission #F1422. Courtesy of the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

The most important factor for me in considering a state flag is that it look cool hanging outside my house or on a bumper sticker. There are a number of submissions that fit the bill, but I kept coming back to this one. It’s very handsome. It’s simple while being visually distinctive and possessing significant Minnesota iconography: the North Star, the green bar for forests and fields, the blue bar for water and sky, the orange star reminiscent of a home-sewn quilt you’d curl up with with some chicken wild rice soup on a cold night…. I think it will continue to please the more you look at it, although my one concern is that the colors are too trendy and might seem dated in the future.

Patrick Coolican’s pick: Submission #F807

Submission #F807. Courtesy of the State Emblems Redesign Commission

An online commenter noted how bright this entry is, and that’s why I like it, in addition to it hitting all the right symbols. For about six months of the year or more, this place can be pretty dark. It’s why I’ve added a bunch of bright clothing to my fall-winter-spring closet, and we should do the same with our public buildings and symbols. Minnesota is a fine place, with plenty of jobs, relatively affordable rents and legal weed. We need people to move here, and this flag would be an excellent marketing template. 

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Nafi Soumare
Nafi Soumare

Nafi is an intern reporting for the Minnesota Reformer. Her interests in reporting include social justice, reform, and issues in the Minnesota education system.