Gothamite

Isthmus: "Wisconsin deserves a better flag"

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Ithsmus, the alternative weekly in Madison, is piggybacking on the People's Flag of Milwaukee bandwagon.  With tongue slightly in cheek, they're suggesting that Wisconsin also needs to replace its current flag.  And they're right.  Because this is just sad:

 

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"Seal on a Bedsheet" is bad enough, but adding the name pushes it way over the top.

 

Isthmus approached five designers, who came up with these:

 

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The designs

 

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Distillery Design team

Brad Nellis, partner with Distillery Design, writes that his team drew “inspiration from the three pillars of Wisconsin: agriculture (green), recreation (blue) and industry (white).” These colors depict an abstract of the state’s animal, a badger. The animal is shown in motion to embody the state’s motto, “Forward.” Nellis says the three-color palette also reflects the land and climate of the state. In the top-left corner of the flag is a sun with 11 points, which “pays homage to the Native American tribes present in Wisconsin.”


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David Michael Miller, staff artist at Isthmus

Isthmus’ own David Michael Miller points out that Wisconsin already has a symbol known around the world: the cheesehead hat. So he fashioned a Wisconsin flag after this iconic image, which he calls “Forward with Cheese.” The green and gold seen in the flag are, fittingly, in honor of Wisconsin’s beloved Packers. The iconic cheese wedge is centered on the flag in the likeness of the web symbol “play” suggesting “Forward,” the state’s motto. “For the sake of history and continuity,” Miller says, “the field of Union Army blue is retained.”


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Richard Hartley, design student at Madison College

When Richard Hartley began contemplating a new flag for Wisconsin, he started asking people what they like about the state. “It almost always was beer, football, cheese. Badgers. Over and over,” Hartley says. So he asked a slightly different question: What do you like to do in Wisconsin? “A new yet consistent pattern emerged. Hiking. Swimming. Camping. Parks came up. Devil’s Lake. Governor Nelson. Bayshore Park. Whitefish Dunes, Egg Harbor. Potawatomi.” So Hartley created a flag to reflect Wisconsinites’ love of the outdoors. The natural beauty is represented with blue skies, green trees and sunshine, which form an outline of “the good old ‘W.’”


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Brian Lorbiecki, graphic designer at Wisconsin Public Television

Brian Lorbiecki was inspired by the chevrons used by color field painter Kenneth Noland. The shapes are set on a field of red to form the head of a badger. Lorbiecki is pleasantly surprised that the state’s animal is easily recognizable. He says the flags of New Mexico and Maryland are praised for their designs because of simplicity. “But simple is hard, as we say around here.”

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The second design conceived by Lorbiecki is a tricolor flag that represents sky, land and water (hence the cool palette). The flag fits traditional vexillological aesthetics but is also influenced by the landscapes of minimalist artist Brice Marden. “There’s more sky than the rest, to convey the horizon,” says Lorbiecki. “The colors are not just symbolic. It’s more of a literal depiction, even though it’s extremely abstract.”

 

  

I actually like the two Badger flags.  The second is perhaps more appropriate for the University, but the first could work very well for the state.

 

They're also soliciting designs from readers:

 

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Want to take a crack at designing your own Wisconsin flag?

Take a photograph of your design — make sure the flag takes up the entire frame — and send it to isthmus@isthmus.com. Please include your name, where you’re from and a descriptive title. Your flag will be showcased on isthmus.com, and staff writer Dylan Brogan will hand deliver all the designs to legislative leaders and Gov. Scott Walker at the Capitol.

 

 

 

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Here's my crack at it:  I call this the "Wisconsin Forward" flag.  

 

Wisconsin_ForwardFlag.png

 

Green refers to the land and agriculture.  Blue is taken from the current flag, and represents the waters of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, which contribute so much to commerce, industry and recreation.  White stands for peace and liberty (or, if you're feeling a bit cheeky, the dairy industry for which the state is justifiably famous).

 

The arrow obviously refers to the state motto, although if taken a bit more literally it could be seen as a representation of one of the state's two peninsulas, Bayfield Peninsula at the top or Door County separating Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

 

WIOF-600.jpg

 

The star is taken from the American flag and represents Wisconsin's contributions to the nation.  I wanted also to refer to the state's proud history in defending our Republic during the Civil War, when the famous Iron Brigade was made up mostly of Wisconsinites.

 

WisconsinFowardFlag_Flying.png

 

The design is simple enough to reproduce in small size without losing its impact.  I think it works well in context, is easily identifiable and would stand out among state banners.  


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Thoughts?  Anybody else going to submit a design?

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Wisconsin's flag is reminiscent of many state flags with it's blue background and overly-detailed shield/slogan, etc. at the center.  I really don't think it's that bad. Your design is reminiscent of the many national flags.  I may have even believed it if you showed to to me and said that it was the flag of South Sudan.  It certainly would stand out among the 50 better than the current flag, and we'd get used to it.

 

I'd say the same about the bottom three concepts in the Isthmus piece.  The cheese wedge flag is obviously a joke (at least I hope so).  

 

I actually think the top one is an interesting start.  I like the silhouette badger...but the change in its color is quite jarring.  I'd say it needs either a solid background or green and white need to be flip-flopped; then that one wold be on to something.

 

I'd don't know if I'd say they "need" to replace it or that it's "sad."  It's just sorta there; it certainly does not set itself apart.

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18 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

I'd don't know if I'd say they "need" to replace it or that it's "sad."  It's just sorta there; it certainly does not set itself apart.

 

That's precisely why I think it needs to be replaced.  And yes, there are lots of states with similarly bad flags, but that isn't exactly the strongest defense.  Flags can be inspirational and unifying (not to mention profitable), and I hate to see any opportunity wasted so.  


I agree that the cheesehead design was in good fun (that's specifically what I was referring to as "tongue slightly in cheek").  But the Snow Badger design could actually work.

 

I also think really good flags like Alaska's or Arizona's (or even Maryland's) could easily be considered reminiscent of national flags.  State flags are used in the same context as national flags, but we have some really lousy ones among our 50.

 

Thanks for the feedback!

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i really like the first flag but i dont like how the badgers legs are chopped and recolored that seems very hack-ish. i also like the red one a lot , that would orobably get my vote now. i dont believe any other state flag is red,white,and black and that would certainly make a great visual impact. 

 

Goth i like your design as well, but i think the colors could use a bit of tweaking. i would suggest a little lighter green, and i think the star could be replaced with something else. i would leave the lone star to the Texas flag

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As a Wisconsinite whose favorite color is green and whose second-favorite color is blue (which is his brother's favorite color), I would be ECSTATIC if @Gothamite's design was the one which got picked!

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42 minutes ago, MBurmy said:

As a Wisconsinite whose favorite color is green and whose second-favorite color is blue (which is his brother's favorite color), I would be ECSTATIC if @Gothamite's design was the one which got picked!

 

Kind of you to say.  But keep in mind that this is just one journalist looking for a column. It's not even a semi-official contest like the Milwaukee one was.  It's all in good fun.

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Cover-WisconsinFlag-Hartley-06092016.jpg

 

I feel as if this is the best of the lot.

 

The first badger flag could be good, if only the badger were single-coloured.

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Wisconsin, like many states, need a flag makeover. Gothamite's design is my favorite shown so far.

 

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Here's my take...

 

https://s25.postimg.org/lwqhwxuhp/wi_Flag_Concept.png?dl=1&_ga=1.217850960.770931392.1454095692

 

The two blue parts represent the two Great Lakes that Wisconsin borders. The white field makes an arrow pointed "Forward," and the white represents the state's reputation as a leading dairy producer. The horn o' plenty is taken from the coat of arms, serving as a general emblem of the state, like Texas' Lone Star or Pennsylvania's keystone.

 

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Ooooooooooh boooouuuy, really hope they go with those badger flags!!!!

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The badger option would be stronger if the green and the white swapped.  So the badger was fully white and the bottom bar was green.  Nice options though.

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