State Flag Rankings
Consider this the sequel to our license plate power rankings.
It’s astounding that groups of full grown adults consistently come up with such heinous designs for flags, license plates, logos, etc. Meanwhile Alaska’s flag was designed by 13 year old Benny Benson who won a contest back in 1927. This kid nailed it. Alaska’s flag was neck and neck with California and Colorado for first place on our list, but we’ll give it to Benny by a hair. He won $1,000 for his winning design plus they threw in a gold watch and a trip to Washington DC. That’s more than $13,000 in today’s dollars. When you consider that the US bought Alaska from the Russians for like 20 bucks and a cup of coffee, Benny must have been living like a king.
It has sort of a Soviet vibe, but it’s an outstanding flag. We were very close to putting California at number 1.
You can’t walk into a gift shop in Colorado without seeing this on every mug, hat and sweatshirt. It’s a bit surprising that they didn’t somehow incorporate the Rocky Mountains, but it’s an A+ nonetheless.
4. New Mexico
The Zia sun symbol is better than any of the state seals that adorn most other flags. It’s good to see New Mexico sticking to their native roots
Bison are a top 10 animal for silhouettes. That’s just a fact.
These bears are striking the most ridiculous pose in the history of their species. It’s so ridiculous that you can’t not love it.
Oregon was the only state who thought to make a two-sided flag. If they had simply stuck with the one sided flag, they would have disappeared into the sea of unoriginal blue and yellow designs, but the beaver skyrocketed them into the upper echelon.
No one is more obsessed with their flag than the citizens of Maryland. Despite being pretty wacky, it’s definitely a top 10 flag. I’m sure any readers from Maryland will be up in arms that it wasn’t ranked higher.
9. South Carolina
According to Wikipedia, “South Carolina’s flag was ranked as the 10th best designed state or provincial flag in North America by a non-scientific poll on the website of the North American Vexillological Association in 2001”. Well, according to our highly scientific process, they’re actually number 9.
This is supposed to be a representation of the sun setting over the Colorado River. I think it bears a striking resemblance to the old “Free Tibet” bumper stickers. Either way, it’s enough to crack the top 10.
Simple. Stately. Symmetrical.
In typical Massachusetts fashion, it’s nothing flashy or overstated. This is one of the better state seals and one of the only flags with a plain white background.
13. North Carolina
Texas with more character…and upside-down.
This is another flag that is flown with a ton of state pride. Even though it’s basically just a knockoff of the Chilean flag, it’s still a classic.
How do you not love these two guys? Easily the two most swashbuckling gentlemen in the flag world. And the moose in the center ties it all together.
16. Rhode Island
The nautical theme is fitting for Ocean State. The white background looks good too.
When seemingly every other state has a blue flag with a seal in the middle, you have to do something to stand apart from the crowd. Virginia does exactly that. It’s the ultimate underdog story in flag form.
The expression on that moose’s face is priceless. It looks so uncomfortable holding that pose and clearly wants to be anywhere else in the world other than holding up a picture of Bigfoot with the assistance of a disgruntled elk. It’s a strange flag…but I like it.
19. Washington, D.C.
DC always gets left out, but we like DC, so we’re including them in our list once again. It’s a straightforward design, but it works.
This feels a bit too French for a US state flag, but I suppose it makes sense given that Iowa was part of the Louisiana Purchase. Not a bad flag overall.
Here’s another variation on the Texas/Chile theme. It’s a good looking flag, but two stripes is a decidedly better look than three.
At first I wasn’t crazy about this one but it’s grown on me.
The whole “Industry” thing is a bit odd, but otherwise it’s an attractive seal.
I can appreciate the fact that they didn’t want to center their seal like everyone else.
Pennsylvania’s coat of arms is one of the better ones, but the fact that it’s just another blue flag prevents it from ranking higher.
26. New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s coastline is only 13 miles long but why not throw a ship on there.
27. New York
This is such an average flag. At least it inspired a classic episode of South Park.
I expect so much more out of the Green Mountain State. First of all, their flag needs to be green. There’s no other option. The fact that they so willingly designed a boring blue flag just like everyone else is extremely disappointing. You expect that from the flyover states, but not Vermont. It may be one of the better boring blue flags, but I still feel like Vermont let me down. Also, the deer head looks like it should be mounted on a wall over someone’s fireplace.
The state of Louisiana has an obsession with pelicans. Eagles are so cliche anyway.
30. North Dakota
Components of an unoriginal state flag: 1) Blue background. 2) Bald eagle with a ribbon in it’s mouth.. 3) 13 stars. 4) A Latin phrase.
Are you tired of blue flags yet?
This would be so much better with a different background color.
At least they tried harder than Alabama and put a seal on top of the red “X”.
I understand that there’s a lot of symbolism in this flag, but visually it’s just not great.
There’s sort of an Inception thing going on in Idaho’s state seal with the nature scene within a nature scene. Way too much happening here.
Kentucky’s flag features Daniel Boone and Henry Clay but for some reason Colonel Sanders was left out.
Putting the state’s name in large letters usually takes away from the design. In this case there wasn’t much to take away from to begin with.
The obnoxious block letters take away from the the badger crawling on top of the coat of arms.
I have officially run out of things to write about blue flags with seals in the middle.
40. South Dakota
Not only is the color scheme terrible, they for some reason feel the need to include the name “South Dakota” twice.
41. West Virginia
The blue border isn’t doing it for me.
These guys are trying to act like they’re as cool as their counterparts on the Maine flag, but there’s no hiding the fact that they’re huge dweebs.
It makes sense for Washington to have a green flag, but this is the wrong green. George Washington deserves better than this.
Ignoring the fact that it looks as if Hawaii secretly wishes they were part of Great Britain, this flag is difficult to look at. Way too many red white and blue stripes.
Royal/navy blue backgrounds may be overused, but light blue backgrounds just look bad.
“Qui transtulit sustinet” transaltes to “He who transplanted still sustains”. It’s a very fitting motto at the moment seeing as one of the state’s largest employers (General Electric) just uprooted itself and left for greener pastures. Rumor has it they were fed up with looking at Connecticuts ugly flag all the time.
Alabama seems to be clinging to its confederate roots with this one. It’s also just boring.
It looks like Illinois was kind enough to let local elementary school students design their flag…Just kidding. If that were the case it would have come out much better.
This belongs on a boat, not a state house.
50. New Jersey
Pretty atrocious color scheme. It also looks like the woman on the left has Where’s Waldo’s hat hanging from her spear. We may have finally figured out where Waldo is (was?).
It’s 2016 folks. Including the Confederate Flag inside your state’s flag earns you last place. It’s only a matter of time before Mississippi changes their flag.
*All photos are from Wikipedia