Massachusetts State Flag (we need a better state flag)

BronsonShore

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
267
Reaction score
695
Ah, so apparently the yellow represents land and the blue the sea, with the two halves of the flag designed to echo the way the state approaches the Atlantic. I love it; I'd take this as the state flag tomorrow and then immediately buy a bunch of hats and shirts with the design.
 

JumboBuc

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,631
Reaction score
1,472
Flag redesigns are always such a challenge because designing a good flag is legitimately very hard. It's easy to say an existing flag is bad, it's MUCH harder to come to a consensus on what to replace it with (see: New Zealand).

Part of this is the extent to which the merits of any flag are inseparable from its history. Any existing flag will have history on its side (unless that history comes be considered a distinct negative, as with Mississippi) while any new flag will, by definition, have no history.

The best case scenario for a flag replacement is one like Maine's, where the current S.O.B. flag actually has less history than the original 1901 flag that many (including me) want to replace it. This also gives legitimacy to the Green Mountain Boys Flag for Vermont and the unoficial New England flag (or "Bunker Hill Flag"). Massachusetts, unfortunately, doesn't really have a viable historic flag that can replace the current one, so we're left with having to pull one together from scratch.

If it were up to me I'd tweak the Seal of Massachusetts and Coat of Arms to make it less racist but still keep the same colors, general shape, and some of the imagery. Private entities tweak their crests / logos / marks all the time while still keeping the same overall colors and look and feel.

The flag is a much tougher redesign task, but I'd like to see the same shades of blue and yellow kept on a white field. These have become culturally established as MA colors (see, the BAA or Mass.gov or even the Red Sox "City Connect" unis this year) and they work; no point in changing them. I'm far from talented enough to come up with an actual good flag design, but I just hope everyone in the process understands that "seals on bedsheets" (S.O.B.s) do NOT make good flags! Ideally the seal is one thing and the flag is a total 'nother.

(Oh, and all of this goes for the Boston flag too)
 

BronsonShore

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
267
Reaction score
695
Flag redesigns are always such a challenge because designing a good flag is legitimately very hard. It's easy to say an existing flag is bad, it's MUCH harder to come to a consensus on what to replace it with (see: New Zealand).

Part of this is the extent to which the merits of any flag are inseparable from its history. Any existing flag will have history on its side (unless that history comes be considered a distinct negative, as with Mississippi) while any new flag will, by definition, have no history.

The best case scenario for a flag replacement is one like Maine's, where the current S.O.B. flag actually has less history than the original 1901 flag that many (including me) want to replace it. This also gives legitimacy to the Green Mountain Boys Flag for Vermont and the unoficial New England flag (or "Bunker Hill Flag"). Massachusetts, unfortunately, doesn't really have a viable historic flag that can replace the current one, so we're left with having to pull one together from scratch.

If it were up to me I'd tweak the Seal of Massachusetts and Coat of Arms to make it less racist but still keep the same colors, general shape, and some of the imagery. Private entities tweak their crests / logos / marks all the time while still keeping the same overall colors and look and feel.

The flag is a much tougher redesign task, but I'd like to see the same shades of blue and yellow kept on a white field. These have become culturally established as MA colors (see, the BAA or Mass.gov or even the Red Sox "City Connect" unis this year) and they work; no point in changing them. I'm far from talented enough to come up with an actual good flag design, but I just hope everyone in the process understands that "seals on bedsheets" (S.O.B.s) do NOT make good flags! Ideally the seal is one thing and the flag is a total 'nother.

(Oh, and all of this goes for the Boston flag too)
Honestly, I would be thrilled if they went with the design used to be on the reverse. This is a great simple design and it solves the history problem you bring up. Make the tree yellow to stick with the same color scheme and I think this is a real winner:

 
Last edited:

Brattle Loop

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
891
Reaction score
1,470

MrDee12345

New member
Joined
Nov 28, 2019
Messages
65
Reaction score
96
I see that most of the new flags honor the natural environment that make Mass great, such as the water, flora, mountains beaches, etc.

But those are natural to the area and they don't represent our accomplishments as a state. Could there be a design that represent our high standard of education or our first the nation reputation for many causes?
Variant with star:
View attachment 17321

Variant without star:
View attachment 17322
I'm not really a fan of these two. My issue was was never with the state seal itself, but the seal surrounded by nothing but white. Mass simply has a boring flag. I like some of the ones I found on reddit that I posted earlier. I could see people waving those at a Bruins game, not another boring white flag.
 

Brattle Loop

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
891
Reaction score
1,470
I see that most of the new flags honor the natural environment that make Mass great, such as the water, flora, mountains beaches, etc.

But those are natural to the area and they don't represent our accomplishments as a state. Could there be a design that represent our high standard of education or our first the nation reputation for many causes?


I'm not really a fan of these two. My issue was was never with the state seal itself, but the seal surrounded by nothing but white. Mass simply has a boring flag. I like some of the ones I found on reddit that I posted earlier. I could see people waving those at a Bruins game, not another boring white flag.
I don't dislike them (I'm kind of a fan of the simplicity of the blue-on-white) but the designs I posted aren't really what I would necessarily suggest either. I was responding to BronsonShore's post suggesting the gold tree on blue shield on white and just threw it together to have a visual example. (The version with the star was just because the star is on the current one.)

I would agree that the state flag is not the most visually interesting. I just don't think that's a very big deal. I do think it should be changed to remove the elements that people find offensive, but I personally would prefer something with some visual continuity instead of some gaudy monstrosity like might get picked if there was to be a large-scale change.
 

shawn

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
332
Reaction score
396
I too would love to see all of the New England states work a similar or ideally identical element into each of their flags. The pine tree is a stretch for Rhode Island, but it's still great.

May not be appropriate for this thread, so please feel free to shut me down: I've long had a fascination with the notion of a North Atlantic Union ala author Richard Morgan's vision of the near-future. New York, New Jersey, New England, and Atlantic Canada have merged with the United Kingdom after the US splits itself up. Its flag incorporates elements from the flags of the Dominion of New England (the pine tree), New York and New Jersey (an orange field), the Maritimes (a blue diagonal cross) and the Union Jack. Must look pretty ugly, now that I'm typing this all out.

But I sure wouldn't mind a North Atlantic Union.
 

Digital_Islandboy

Active Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2010
Messages
371
Reaction score
3
I too would love to see all of the New England states work a similar or ideally identical element into each of their flags. The pine tree is a stretch for Rhode Island, but it's still great.

May not be appropriate for this thread, so please feel free to shut me down: I've long had a fascination with the notion of a North Atlantic Union ala author Richard Morgan's vision of the near-future. New York, New Jersey, New England, and Atlantic Canada have merged with the United Kingdom after the US splits itself up. Its flag incorporates elements from the flags of the Dominion of New England (the pine tree), New York and New Jersey (an orange field), the Maritimes (a blue diagonal cross) and the Union Jack. Must look pretty ugly, now that I'm typing this all out.

But I sure wouldn't mind a North Atlantic Union.
Why wouldn't New York go onwards back with Netherlands? As it was a/k/a New Amsterdam?
 

shawn

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
332
Reaction score
396
Why wouldn't New York go onwards back with Netherlands? As it was a/k/a New Amsterdam?
Not sure, but the author is British, and there doesn't seem to be an independent Netherlands. It's part of a federalized Europe. The other choice for NY was to stick around with the American rump state, which has also lost the entire West Coast. In that context, it seems like a good move on NY's part.
 

nomc

Active Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2020
Messages
408
Reaction score
732
Up here in Maine we've been toying with a return to our original 1901 flag:

us-me-01.gif


Here's a modern take:

originalmaineflag-resized.jpg


For reference the current official flag:

2NEK1_AL01.jpg


Discussion of an official return was pretty quickly dismissed by the legislature ("THIS IS NOT AN IMPORTANT DISCUSSION DURING A PANDEMIC") but you can see it flown - and worn on shirts and hats - all over the state, not just in Portland. How deaf can a legislature be to something that was immediately embraced by the public but just immediately dismis... oh.

How can it not be important to help a state feel a sense of pride? I feel like that's what's happened with the flying of the OG design.
 

Brattle Loop

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
891
Reaction score
1,470
Discussion of an official return was pretty quickly dismissed by the legislature ("THIS IS NOT AN IMPORTANT DISCUSSION DURING A PANDEMIC") but you can see it flown - and worn on shirts and hats - all over the state, not just in Portland. How deaf can a legislature be to something that was immediately embraced by the public but just immediately dismis... oh.

How can it not be important to help a state feel a sense of pride? I feel like that's what's happened with the flying of the OG design.
Not going to delve into the Maine-specific elements, that's outside my area of knowledge, but there's few political attacks more effective with little to no risk than criticizing politicians for doing something that doesn't have a major, direct impact. Unless there's something outright offensive about a design (these days typically content deemed racist, colonial, or both), then debating changing a flag is basically pure aesthetics (sometimes with a side dish of nostalgia). In my personal opinion, Maine's current official flag is deeply dull and completely forgettable, which is obviously not ideal for branding and identification purposes, but it's not going to offend people (other than by being so boring).

Changing it inevitably stirs up passions, both among those who want a change (who may be a majority) and who don't, and then, frequently, over what to change the flag to, at the end of which you get...a flag. Maybe with some merchandising potential, maybe some people feel some more civic pride, that's all well and good. But in terms of substance, basically nothing.

That's where the political difficulties come from. There's a big "wow, you must have solved every other problem in the state, if this is what you're working on" thing with proposals like this. Like, is there really nothing of more importance and impact that the legislature could be working on? There usually is, and people generally tend to understand that, so proposals like these tend to make the politicians look out of touch and un-serious...and the smarter ones know that, so they don't go down this road willingly on their own because it's plenty of political peril for very little reward.

These are the kind of things that really need a super-strong grassroots effort, usually over quite a bit of time, to get done, just because the circumstances are such that most of the time the political environment doesn't reward pursuing such things for the legislature/government.
 

Scott

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
957
Reaction score
388
Rereading the part about states branding, I remembered that Massachusetts gave it a try in the 80s with mixed results.
 
Last edited:

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,376
Reaction score
2,006
I remember watching those Massachusetts "Spirit of America" ads when I was growing up in Maryland, and have always wondered what share of people connect it with the slogan on our "red series" license plates.

I don't remember the "Make it in Massachusetts" ad, but maybe the ad buyer had the good sense not to run it during the afterschool cartoons & Gilligan's Island slot.
 

Arenacale

Active Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2013
Messages
469
Reaction score
799
I wonder if those "Spirit of Massachusetts" brochures are archived online anywhere? Time to start googling....
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
164
Reaction score
342
The Rhode Island state flag is pretty basic and simple. It features an an anchor and the script HOPE which symbolize the state motto. The thirteen stars that form a circle represent the original colonies and RI's position as the 13th state to ratify the constitution.

1643988636465.png
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,376
Reaction score
2,006
Apparently as of early August 2022, a committe has been formed by our legislators to replace our state seal, and by extension redesign our state flag.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
6,012
Reaction score
5,290

DZH22

Superstar
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
10,543
Reaction score
23,766
I'm not usually in favor of change, but the current Massachusetts state flag is basically one step up from this:

1660237783362.png
 

tobyjug

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
3,384
Reaction score
405
^^^ Agreed! But with our Solons in charge I’ll give you 3 to 1 that the result will give the phrase “lame ass” a bad name.
 

Top