Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oregon Flag Makeover Project: Back to Basics

Note: I would like to begin by apologizing to all truly obsessive people for implying in yesterday's post that doing the same thing two days in a row qualifies as "obsession."

I've definitely been letting flights of fancy take me where they may with this whole Oregon State Flag redesign, but today it's time to get grounded. I decided a quick review of the official M5K Flag Criteria was in order:

1. A flag needs to look, you know, flaggy. Patterns of bold color with, if you must, simple and iconic symbols. No photos. No intricate drawings or text. (Intricate drawings and text are on the current state flag, of course, but that's a big part of why we are designing a new flag.)
2. Flags are one-sided. Duh.
3. Flags are rectangular. Don't get all Nepal-Ohio on me.
4. Ideally, a flag should be distinctive and immediately recognizable, yet sit comfortably among traditional flag designs.
And, in the interest of simplicity and a very bad childhood experience with the Minnesota state flag, I have added a fifth criteria:

5. The flag should be simple enough to be drawn by any third-grader as part of a social studies project without causing anxiety attacks. (sample of anxiety-inducing flag below)

Of course, I also don't want to limit my creativity too much . . . and the ideas just seem to keep popping up. And at the most inopportune moments.

I also decided to refer back to my two favorite all-time state flags to see what made them so memorable: New Mexico (named as the L&TofM5K winner in the Best Flag, American State, category) and Alaska (also a runner-up in this category).

They are both simple, graphic, iconic. While they lack representations of giant fruit (a serious shortcoming), they really do evoke an emotional response - and I think they capture a little bit of the spirit of the states they represent.

Picking up where I left off yesterday, I started trying to think simple, graphic, iconic. Here's where that got me.

So I tried to go more graphic, focusing on the "fields of color" imperative. I want Blue to represent our rivers and coastline, and Green to represent the lush, mossy tree-ness of the state (ok, at least the Western part of the state . . .) So why not abstract the state itself?

Of course, resorting to the level of symbolism required by "one rain drop for each county" may be a little excessive . . . and I did like the Oregon Trail element . . . perhaps even using the covered wagon icon from the state seal . . . just simplifying it a bit more . . .

I wonder if I could make it even more abstract? Bolder? Maybe eliminate the covered wagon?

Hmmm . . . . is it a good sign or a bad sign when the state flag starts to look suspiciously like a Pink Floyd album cover?

Clearly, it's time for bed.


Michael5000 said...

Ha!! Ha!! Ha!! : )

d said...

i'd say you've been smoking a little too much herb, but i don't think you're the kind of gal who would do such a thing...

i like the wavy line one right above the last two. what if you put that right down the middle and then on one side would be blue and the other green?

maybe a little too derivative...

SisterDG said...

I like the idea of including a big rain cloud, so people aren't so tempted to move here. :-)

gl. said...

awesome! have you seen the portland city flag? kind of cool and may be inspirational from an abstractification viewpoint:

Chance said...

I am loving your thought processes. Mad genius at work...