4/16/09

the marketing of states (continued)


mississippi's flag is the only state flag to feature the design from the roof of the General Lee, featured in the tv show Dukes of Hazzard. while many mississippians are appalled by having a state flag modeled after a tv show prop, all efforts to revise the design have been defeated - a testament to either their stubbornness or their hatred for county commissioner Boss Hogg.


missouri's flag takes its primary design from the flag of the netherlands, but state pride kept them from simply copying. to make it uniquely missouri's, a Rorschach test was added to the center. most residents believe it's two bears fighting over a donut with sprinkles, though the answer " a fierce monster with a half-chewed fox in its mouth" is also a popular interpretation. "two arms ready to hug you" also receives some votes.


montana's flag features a montage of the various landscapes of the state. two changes have been made to the design since its inception: in 1981, the word "montana" was added over the seal. in 1985, they realized they should've been more specific and said the word "montana" should be added IN HELVETICA. unfortunately, kerning was not part of the revision.


nebraska's flag checks all the boxes. seal-looking thing? check. ribbon with motto? check. symbolism of state? check. is it memorable? no. what it is is a testament to the dangers of following all the rules.


nevada's flag is another example of a flag being right for the brand - it's a bit off-kilter, but so is the state. the artwork is far off centered, and the design itself looks like a tattoo one might have woken up with after a bender in vegas. it reads "battle born." having been to nevada a few times, i can relate.


new hampshire's flag is a bit disappointing. for a state that carries the motto "live free or die" one could expect a bolder statement than this. perhaps a fleur de leis forming an extended middle finger. i don't know, something.


new jersey's flag color was chosen personally by George Washington. talk about micromanagement. nevertheless, the color of the flag (they call it "buff") is unique. the seal features two women (they call them "hotties") which is unusual, but if we've learned anything from the movie Garden State, so is new jersey.


new mexico's flag is one of the few flags that could not credibly be adapted by another state. it's just too new mexico-y. the various four points describe the directions on a compass (north, south, east, west), the four seasons in the year, the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, adulthood, old age), and the four things i forgot.


new york's flag is like new york - always outdoing new jersey. it too features two women, but they are far more beautiful than the new jersey flag women. and its motto is "excelsior" or "ever upward" which, with the exception of the times when things are going downward, is a motto the state has always lived by. solid.


north carolina's flag suggests the state is filled with a competitive people. it prominently features two dates: may 20th, 1775 (the "mecklenburg resolves"), which supposedly declares independence from great britain a year before the rest of the country (though it's never been proven); and april 12, 1776 (the "halifax resolves"), which seeded the declaration of independence and actually CAN be proven. fine, NC you were first. and yes, you beat michigan state in the ncaa championship this year. jiminy, let it drop, will you?


north dakota's flag features "the dancing eagle." just look at the happy feller. the motto is "one nation made up of many states" which is a bit redundant considering our country is called "united states of america." but who are we to be debbie downers? you just go on being happy, north dakotans.


the ohio flag's designer had the worst t-square ever. this pennant design (technically, it's a swallowtail design) helps ohio stand out - an interesting lesson for marketers. that is, if you don't have a very unique product, make up for it with good packaging.


oklahoma's flag honors the various native american indian tribes through different elements, from the blue field (Choctaw tribe) to the shield (Osage tribe). not to be disrespectful or anything, but with the feathers they added, doesn't it kind of look like a 5-legged indian version of the syracuse mascot?



oregon's flag is different on each side - the only flag to feature two designs. one side not only says "oregon" but also describes what oregon is. (Answer: a state.) the other side features a beaver and a large nike swoosh in the upper left hand corner. no, just kidding. but the lack of consistency does remind you of the nike-designed university of oregon's ever-changing football uniforms, doesn't it?


pennsylvania's flag consists of those cute dancing lipizzan horses. considering the tough nature of pennsylvania's towns such as pittsburgh, philadelphia, and youngstown (technically, that's in ohio, but it's JUST LIKE pennsylvania towns), this seems to be a misleading brand message.


rhode island's flag is a simple, unassuming design. on the ribbon, instead of some aspirational language, it reads, "hope." in english even, not latin. a smart, confident flag design for a state that's so small, i just want to drive over there and tickle it.


ah, south carolina's flag... when one looks at it, one immediately thinks "corona." there's the moon, looking very lime-like. and the tree, which is a palmetto but looks vaguely like a palm tree, takes the shape of a beer bottle, what with its tapered top. considering that south carolina offers relaxing, sunny getaways, i find the subtlety of this association to be brilliant.


south dakota's flag sounds like a brand in desperate need of an identity. its former flag declared it "the sunshine state" (which i can only assume was bought at a state of florida garage sale). now, its flag proudly proclaims it the "mount rushmore state." at least they kept the sun rays from their sunshine state days.


tennessee's flag answered the question, why can't a state flag design look more like a bowling ball? tennessee is always taking on the tough challenges such as, can we have a name that's as hard to spell as mississippi? and... and... and well, i'm sure they've taken on other challenges as well. and the flag symbolizes that relentless spirit.


texas' flag, like arizona's, feels more like a country than a state (as does a visit to texas). come to think of it, it does share an uncomfortable likeness with the puerto rico flag. hmmm...


utah's flag is a bit dull and predictable, which is odd because that's NOTHING like the state. nothing at all.


vermont's flag designers must've really likes utah's.


virginia's flag goes one step further than suggesting violence - it actually shows violence. here, Virtus, the "genius of the commonwealth" is steppin on The Man (note the crown on the ground). the motto is "Sic Semper Tyrannis" which, when translated, means "Sic Semper Tyrannis."


washington's flag is branding 101. your state already bears the name of the guy - might as well milk that wooden toothed grin for all it's worth. it's predictable in the same way P&G is predictable - predictably successful.


west virginia's flag utilizes the thickest borders in all the union. symbolically, this creates the impression that perhaps it is not the most welcoming of states. and the people of west virginia seem just fine with that impression.


wisconsin's flag design is emblematic of the state - fairly predictable seal-on-blue. the two men offer symbolic proof that wisconsin is the kind of state where a patriot and a lumberjack can have a beer together. the large type was added because, like arkansas and kansas, people couldn't tell where they were.


wyoming's flag designers created a subtle yet touching homage to the old buffalo bills' helmets with this tasteful, restrained design. the buffalo's motionless stance perhaps represents there's not much going on around there.

3 comments:

Greg Christensen said...

Not sure yet how I'm going to bill my time for the last 45 minutes. But thanks for the post.

Please do the state quarters next.

15 ideas said...

i have to admit, i wish we still only had 17 states and maybe the louisiana purchase. you and i both would've been able to get to work a lot sooner.

Megan Colleen said...

I love this one.