Here are all of my favorite US State flag designs. Some are in-use now, some were designed by me, some by others, and many lie somewhere in between. Combined I think they best represent the diversity and uniqueness of each of our 50 states.
All designs here use a 2:3 ratio, correct tincture, and a shared color palette of 12 colors which I believe gives a unifiying design theme. I added my own notes to each for what I believe the symolism should be, and I tried my best to tie to meaninful state symbolism and historical precedent while eliminating overt Confederate or colonial themes.
Would be a dream come true if any or all of these flags could be adopted by the states. Thank you for taking the time to view my page!
Alabama Colors of Alabama colonial history include red, white, and gold of Spain; blue and gold of France; and red, white, and blue of the United Kingdom. Blue with gold star are from Alabama secessionist flag of 1861. White and red are from Alabama flag adopted in 1895. The blue icon in the center of the flag resembles a cotton boll, representing Alabama’s history in cotton agriculture.
Alaska This flag is an update to the proportions of the current and includes eight gold stars, forming the Big Dipper and Polaris, on a dark blue field. The Big Dipper is an asterism in the constellation Ursa Major which symbolizes a bear, an animal indigenous to Alaska.
Arizona The thirteen rays of red and yellow reference the colors of the flag of Spain and represent the sun setting over the western desert. The white star references the state itself.
Arkansas The flag combines elements from Arkansas flags dating back to 1912. The diamond shape comes from Arkansas being the first state in which diamonds were discovered. The blue and white color of the stars make reference to a confederate battle flag. The top star represents Arkansas as both a US state and once a Confederate state. The bottom three stars have three separate meanings: The three nations to which Arkansas has belonged (Spain, France, and the U.S.); The Louisiana Purchase, which brought Arkansas into the U.S., was signed in 1803; Arkansas was the third state (after Louisiana and Missouri) formed from the Louisiana Purchase. The green field evokes Arkansas status as “the Natural State."
California Red base of flag from current and historic “California Republic” flags. Blue and gold are the official state colors of the Golden State The large gold star borrows from the small star of historic flags, but is enlarged to signify the significant place California holds in the economy and culture of the United States.
Colorado This flag is an update to the iconic flag dating from 1911. The blue is meant to represent the skies, the gold stands for the abundant sunshine the state enjoys, the white represents the snowcapped mountains, and the red represents the ruddy earth. The “C” is now outlined in white to better stand out against the blue background.
Connecticut The blue vertical line represents the Connecticut River (the longest in New England) cutting across the state, The three purple lines represent the grapevines in the state seal dating from 1635, as well as the original three colonial districts which united to form the state: Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford. The green bars run between the purple District bars and across the River bar, symbolizing the significance of the Charter Oak, which both helped unify and establish the state. The white backdrop represents the paper on which the US Constitution was written and the state’s nickname “Constitution State.”
Delaware The flag simplifies the design of the current flag, updates the colors to the state colors of blue and buff, and puts a singe star in the center to signify Delaware’s status as the first state.
Florida The red saltire on white is a simplified version of the Spanish Cross of Burgundy combined with the basic elements of various Confederate battle flags. The orange field references the predominant color the in the state seal and also the state’s history of orange production. Both red and orange are the official colors of the state.
Georgia Red cross on white is the English St. George’s cross, representing the colonial origins and etymology of the state of Georgia. The blue field is from the canton of various flags in Georgia history, on which all had stars. The four stars themselves represent four major periods in Georgia’s history: the colonial era, the pre-Civil War era, the Civil War era, and finally modern Georgia. Georgia is also the fourth state to ratify the Constitution. The gold in the stars comes from Georgia’s state seal, and the number of stars represent the four elements in the seal: Constitution, Wisdom, Justice, Moderation. The four colors are all the official colors of the state.
Hawaii Each of the the major Hawaiian islands has its own official color and these are represented in the flag: yellow (Oahu), pink (Maui), purple (Kauai), red (Hawaii), green (Molokai), orange (Lanai), gray (Kahoolawe), and white (Niihau). These colors are arranged horizontally like a rainbow, nodding both to historic Hawaiian flags and to rainbows, which are natural symbols of the state.
Idaho The overall concept of the flag is to depict Idaho's nickname as the “Gem of the Mountains.” The colors of the flag are the state’s official colors. The star and red sky above the the snow-capped mountains represent the garnet, the state's gem.
Illinois The white field and horizontal blue stripe borrows from the Centennial Illinois flag designed by Wallace Rice. Rice also designed the Chicago flag. The red stripes hint at the Chicago flag (Illinois’s population center) and also the shield in the State’s Great Seal. The horizontal nature of the flag implies the state’s flat landscape, and the star justified to the left on the blue symbolizes the state’s location on the western shore of lake Michigan.
Indiana Crossed bars in the official state colors abstractly represent Indiana as the “Crossroads of America.“
Iowa The flag uses the colors and arrangement of the French flag, referencing the the state was formerly part of the French Louisiana Territory. The trapezoidal layout of the flag mimics the shape of the state and the colors at the edges indicate the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers that border the state.
Kansas The sunflower is an icon of the state and is currently used in an unofficial state flag called “the Kansas Banner.” That unofficial flag is official in this new flag.
Kentucky The intertwined arrows represent the joining of the frontiersman (green) and the statesman (blue) who are shaking hands on the state steal also illustrating the motto, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” The star suggests the handshake and represents the state itself. White background is used in the state seal. The blue line suggests the Kentucky River; the green line suggests the bluegrass; together the angled lines suggest a “K.”
Louisiana The basic design of the flag is a very loose interpretation of the first official flag of the state dating to 1861. The red and gold represent Louisiana’s Spanish era while red, white, and fleur de lis represent the French era. The six gold stripes represent the six parishes of the state, and the five red bars the five governments in the state’s history: Spain, France, the UK, the CSA, and the USA. The blue canton with white fleur de lis abstractly represents the historic pelican flag of the state, whith the three leaves representing the words of the state’s motto: Union, Justice, Confidence.
Maine The flag is an updated version of the 1901 Maine flag, consisting of a pine tree (a symbol of New England freedom) with a blue North Star.
Maryland The flag consists of the 17th century heraldic banner with the colors and shield from the coat of arms of the Calvert-Crossland families of Maryland founder Sir George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore.
Massachusetts Colors and symbolism from state seal and coat of arms dating from 1780. Down-facing arrow represents peace. Blue on the right side of the flag is for Massachusetts Bay to the east.
Michigan Blue cross on white inversely represents the flags used by colonial French explorers in the state. Four dark blue legs of the cross represent the four Great Lakes surrounding the state. The green sections represent the upper and lower peninsulas of the state; with the star in the upper section representing Mackinac and the Lakes Huron-Michigan connection, with the star in the lower section representing Detroit and the Lakes Huron-Erie connection. The light blue sections represent the state’s major coasts on the southeast and northwest of the lower peninsula.
Minnesota White cross is the Nordic cross reflecting the state’s Scandinavian heritage. The three light blue sections represent (in clockwise order) Lake Superior, the Mississippi River, and the St. Croix River. The gold star is the North Star. The purple canton represents the purple northern night sky as well as the cultural heritage of the state.
Mississippi The left side of the flag depicts the Mississippi River to the east. The right side of the flag depicts the green land of the state; a magnolia icon represents the state flower of the “Magnolia State.”
Missouri The flag retains the spirit of the current flag with some updates. Red and white stripes traditionally represent valor and purity, respectively. The blue represents three things: the permanency, vigilance, and justice of the state. The colors also reflect the state's historic status as part of the French Louisiana (New France). The center white wavy stripe symbolizes the Missouri River and the historic east to west direction of migrants moving westward through the historic Gateway to the West. The center badge is an abstraction of the state seal, with the star repressing the sate and the round shape representing the Gateway Arch and its reflection onto the Mississippi River.
Montana The triangle shapes represent mountains and a stylized M. Gold and Silver colors are from the motto in the state seal, “Oro y Plata.” Blue is for the color of Montana’s “Big Sky.”
Nebraska Blue is for the state’s rivers, particularly the Platte River running across the state creating the rich wheat and corn fields represented by the gold color. The central star represents Nebraska’s place in America’s heartland. The grid of the flag mimics the floor plan of the iconic state capitol building.
Nevada Blue and silver are the official colors of the “Silver State.” The state’s territory was originally named Sierra Nevada or “Snow Capped Mountains” by the Spanish, hence the white-capped mountain. The star represents the state itself and is positioned in the canton similar to the current flag.
New Hampshire The flag starts with the inverse base colors of the flag of Hampshire, England. A bundle of five white arrows, from New Hampshire’s original state seal is added to show the state’s egalitarian, rebellious spirit. The five arrows represent both the state’s original five counties and also the state’s “Live Free or Die” motto.
New Jersey The flag of English Jersey contains a red saltire on white; the New Jersey flag has a saltire in the state colors of blue and buff. The three buff areas symbolize the three distinct regions of the state: North, Central, and South Jersey. The red triangle alludes to the Phrygian cap as well as the cornucopia, the items held by the supporters of the current arms, representing the state motto, "Liberty and prosperity”. The red triangle bordered by white also abstractly mimics the red and white lozenge in the arms of the original Lord Proprietor of the state Sir George Carteret.
New Mexico A red sun symbol of the Zia on a field of yellow, highlighting the state's Native American Pueblo and Nuevo México Hispano roots. The colors evoke the flags of Habsburg Spain (the Cross of Burgundy), and the Crown of Aragon, both brought by the conquistadors.
New York The basic elements of the flag depict the sun rising behind the Hudson River. The orange stars above reference the allegory figures Liberty and Justice in the state’s seal, while the blue star references the eagle and globe. Seven straight rays of the sun mirror the points of the Statue of Liberty’s crown, with the total of thirteen rays reference the state’s status as an original colony. The blue and orange colors are tied to the state’s Dutch and British colonial heritage.
North Carolina The shape of the angles in the flag mimic the shape of the state itself, with blue for the ocean in the southeast, and green for the mountains and forests in the northwest. This idea is also represented in the state seal. The white bar in the middle of the flag represents the Piedmont Crescent, the historical economic and population center of the state connecting Charlotte and Raleigh. The Crescent was developed as a result of the cotton mill industry, hence the white color. The red star comes from a Civil War version of the NC flag that had a red field with white star. The colors are inverted today to reflect the new direction of the state in the modern era. The star also represents the cap of liberty and horn of plenty from the state seal.
North Dakota The flag derives from the state coat of arms. The colors of yellow gold and green are indicative of the agriculture of the state. The three stars denote the trinity of government; legislative, executive, and judicial. Each star in the bend is given the heraldic value of thirteen which signifies the thirteen original colonies of the United States, and the cumulative numerical value of the three stars indicates that North Dakota was the thirty-ninth state admitted to the Union. The stars also allude to the history of the territory under three foreign flags. Three stars are borne upon the coat of arms of Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition and also on the coat of arms of Lord Selkirk, head of the first permanent settlement in the state.
Ohio The three red and two white stripes represent the roads and waterways of the state. The flag's triangular canton represents the hills and valleys of the state with a prominent disc suggestive of the state's name as well as the Ohio buckeye. The 17 stars in the original flag have been simplified to 3, suggesting 1803, the year the state joined the Union.
Oklahoma The white and green are the colors of the state and represent the white man pioneers who founded the state. The red and white represent the Native American bloodshed leading up to the state's founding. The cross represented here, both a symbol of Christian and Native American spirituality, is joined to represent the unification of two cultures within one state.
Oregon The beaver totem is on the reverse side of the current flag. On the new flag it is front and center, with the addition of the star in the “northwest” corner of the flag to represent the state’s position on the map of the United States. Blue and gold are the official state colors.
Pennsylvania The horizontal color bars come from the Pennsylvania coat of arms: blue with a a ship carrying state commerce to all parts of the world; yellow with a clay-red plough, a symbol of Pennsylvania's rich natural resources; and green with three golden sheaves of wheat, representing fertile fields and Pennsylvania's wealth of human thought and action. The center symbol is a keystone, referring historically to Pennsylvania’s central location along the arch of the 13 original states, as well as the state’s vital role in holding together the states of the newly formed Union.
Rhode Island The anchor has been used to symbolize Rhode Island since the 1630s. The anchor is a maritime sign of hope, which makes reference to the state motto and its maritime history. The 13 stars symbolize the 13 original US colonies, of which Rhode Island was the thirteenth to ratify the Constitution. The gold border borrows from prior flags of the state.
South Carolina In 1775, Colonel William Moultrie was asked by the Revolutionary Council of Safety to design a flag for the South Carolina troops to use during the American Revolutionary War. Moultrie's design had the blue of the militia's uniforms and the crescent. It was first flown at Fort Johnson.This flag was flown in the defense of a new fortress on Sullivan's Island, when Moultrie faced off against a British fleet that had not lost a battle in a century. It was likely first American flag to fly over the South. The palmetto was added in 1861, also a reference to Moultrie's defense of Sullivan's Island; the fortress he'd constructed had survived largely because the palmettos, laid over sand walls, were able to withstand British cannon.
South Dakota The flag is based on the first flag of South Dakota, in use from 1909 to 1963. The gold symbolizes the sun and the blue the sky.
Tennessee The stars represent the three geographically and legally distinct "Grand Divisions" of Tennessee (East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee). The blue circle around the stars represents the unity of those grand divisions. The orange color has become an unofficial color of the state and has replaced the blatantly Confederate origins of the red in the current flag while still maintaining the overall strong iconography of it.
Texas The iconic Texas flag dates from the 1839. Blue stands for loyalty, white for purity, and red for bravery. The single (lone) star "represents ALL of Texas and stands for our unity as one for God, State, and Country, “ and was used historically to symbolize Texans' solidarity in declaring independence from Mexico.
Utah The beehive core element from the current flag and state seal is isolated and made central to the new flag.
Vermont The flag is a loose interpretation of the canton of the Green Mountain Boys revolutionary Vermont Republic militia. That flag had a blue canton with fourteen randomly arranged stars and a green field. This flag takes that idea and in the official state colors arranges the stars in a mountain shape with the fourteenth the most prominent signifying Vermont’s status as the fourteenth state.
Virginia The imagery and colors pull from the state seal dating to 1776. The seal contains a female figure wearing blue personifying the Roman virtue of Virtus and the state itself. Virtus stands in a peaceful pose indicating a battle already won. Her long spear is pointed downward to the ground and her other weapon, a parazonium, is sheathed. The sword of Tyranny lies prostrate beneath the foot of Virtus, symbolizing Great Britain's defeat by Virginia. The crown fallen beside him symbolizes the state's release from the monarchical control of Great Britain. His robe is purple, a reference to Julius Caesar and the Etruscan king of Rome, Tarquinius Priscus. All of these elements and a V shape representing the state are contained in the flag.
Washington The flag is broadly an abstraction of the original flag adopted in 1923 containing the state seal. The new center icon is blue for the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound, gold for the fertile soil and valleys of eastern Washington, and white for the snow-capped Cascade Mountains. The star has eight points like a ship’s compass, alluding to the state’s maritime history. The white star on the blue round also looks like a topographic map of Tahoma (Mt. Rainier). The green field nods to the state’s nickname “The Evergreen State.”
West Virginia The blue border is from the current flag and the colors are the official state colors (old gold and blue). The red flowers are based on the family arms of Francis H. Pierpont, the "Father of West Virginia.” The seven flowers with five petals represent the West Virginia's order of admission (35th). The arrangement of the flowers abstractly spells “WV."
Wisconsin Dark blue represents Lake Superior on the north and east of the state; light blue represents Lake Michigan at the south and east of the state. Gold represents the fertile sandstone of the state itself, and also represents the state’s historically notable industries: corn, cheese, and beer. The dark to light blue gradient across the gold shape represent prehistoric glaciers that washed over the area of the state, creating its rich land. The star represents the state itself and is colored red in reference to the state’s entomology, originating from Native American words meaning “red stone place.” The right-facing triangle represents the state motto “Forward.“
Wyoming The flag keeps the shape and profile of the original flag dating to 1917 with some updates. The profile of an American bison remains, while the border is simplified and remains rectangular to reference the shape of the state. The colors are the official state colors.