A Minnesota commission tasked with redesigning the state’s flag and seal announced its selection for the updated state flag on Dec. 19.
The State Emblems Redesign Commission voted 11-1 to approve the new design. It features an eight-pointed star against a navy blue background shaped to resemble Minnesota — next to a solid light-blue field, which represents the state’s waters, according to the commission.
The design was a modification of submission F1935, one of the three finalists selected by the commission.
Andrew Prekker, 24, of Luverne, Minnesota, submitted design F1935.
He described his design as one featuring a navy-colored “abstract shape of Minnesota,” with the white star representing the state’s motto, “L’Étoile du Nord” (“Star of the North”) as well as “a symbol of unity above a land of diversity.”
Prekker’s original design had featured three color stripes (white, green and light blue); those were nixed in favor of a solid blue field.
The three colors in the original design had been chosen because “the white stripe symbolizes snow; the green stripe represents the beauty of our nature and also the important role agriculture has played in our history; and the light blue stripe represents the significance of water to our state, each as the land of 10,000 lakes, the birth state of the Mississippi River, and the origins of Minnesota’s name,” said Prekker.
Minnesota’s name is derived from a Sioux word meaning “sky-tinted water,” says the website for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“Overall, I wanted the design to be very simple while also symbolizing the various important aspects of our history, cultures and people,” Prekker added.
The announcement of the new flag design comes about a month and a half after the more than 2,000 design submissions were unveiled to the public on Oct. 30.
Those designs, which were a mix of humorous and serious submissions, drew inspiration from a variety of Minnesota cultural icons.
The 2,000 or so design submissions were whittled down to six finalists on Nov. 21 — and the six were narrowed to three on Dec. 12.
On Dec. 15, it was announced that the new design would be a variation of submission F1935, says the State Emblems Redesign Commission’s website.
The flag and seal designs now head to the Minnesota legislature. If the designs are approved by the state’s lawmakers, the new flag will begin flying on May 11, 2024, Minnesota’s Statehood Day.
The original Minnesota flag was the state’s seal on a blue field. It was first adopted in 1893.
“The seal depicts a Native American riding off into the sunset while a White settler plows his field with his rifle leaning on a nearby stump,” said the Associated Press in September.
“The imagery suggests to many that the Indigenous people were defeated and going away, while Whites won and were staying,” noted the AP.
In addition to disapproval from the state’s numerous Indigenous tribes, Minnesota’s current flag has drawn the ire of flag enthusiasts for years.
In a viral April 2023 video ranking each state’s flags, YouTuber CGP Grey called Minnesota’s current flag “terrible,” and the “worst in the union,” saying that the “busyness is bottom-tier bad.”
The members of the North American Vexilogical Association (NAVA) — a group devoted to the scientific and scholarly study of flags — also were not fond of Minnesota’s current flag.
In a 2001 survey, Minnesota ranked 67th of the 72 flags of North America’s states, provinces and territories.
Only South Dakota, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska and Georgia ranked lower, and Georgia has since completely redesigned its flag.
The five principles of good flag design are “keep it simple,” “use meaningful symbolism,” “use 2-3 basic colors,” have “no lettering or seals,” and “be distinctive or be related,” according to NAVA.
The newly proposed flag appears to fit all of those principles.
Dr. Anita Gaul, vice chair of the commission, said the flag has “vaulted from an F to an A+” in the eyes of flag experts.