What's wrong with the Nebraska state flag?
Can you picture the Nebraska flag in your head? Go ahead, try. (No Googling allowed)
If you are imagining a vague circular shape on a blue background, that would be correct. If the other details are fuzzy, don’t worry. The circle you’re imagining is the state seal. Nebraska’s flag is one of twenty three other state flags to feature a state seal on a blue background. This means the majority of states have flags that are nearly indistinguishable from one another.
Nebraska’s flag is distinguished from the others in one way; It placed 71st out of 72 flags in a 2001 survey ranking the best and worst designed North American flags.
Does this mean Nebraska has the worst flag in the country?
That question is up for debate, but vexillologists would probably argue: yes, it is poorly designed. Vexillologist is a fancy word for somebody who studies flags. The North American Vexillological Association, the same people who conducted the aforementioned survey, also have a handy list of principles for what is considered good flag design:
- Keep it Simple - The flag should be so simple that a child could draw it from memory
- Use Meaningful Symbolism - The imagery or pattern should relate to what it symbolizes
- Use 2-3 Basic Colors - Including variations of red, white, blue, green, yellow, and black
- No Lettering or Seals - Never use writing of any kind
- Be Distinctive - Stand out from the crowd
While the Nebraska flag does utilize some of these principles, it grossly fails others. The seal design on a blue background is similar to many other state flags, and worse, it’s impossible to make out the details from a distance. It is a kind of flag known to vexillologists as an “S.O.B” or, “Seal on a Bedsheet.”
The poor design of the flag popped up in the news in January 2017, when it was mistakenly hoisted upside-down outside of the state capitol and flown that way for 10 days before anyone noticed it. State Sen. Burke Harr used this mishap as a platform to push for a new flag design. He drafted a legislative resolution to create a task force to discuss redesigning the Nebraska flag. Unfortunately, this movement was dismissed, as other Senators deemed it unnecessary, vain, and superficial, among other words.
Many people believe this is an important topic to discuss. This project aims to bring the flag discussion back to the state legislature, by presenting a new flag design as the face of the movement; one that Nebraskans can be proud of.