Design Nebraska's New State Flag!

Nebraskan Senator Burke Harr is calling on the designers of the Skillshare community to reimagine their state flag.

Earlier this year, Nebraska lawmakers discovered an embarrassing fact. The state flag of Nebraska was flying upside-down over the State Capitol of Lincoln for ten whole days! Aside from being a protocol faux-pas, the event highlighted a debate within Nebraska – namely whether the flag's design should be changed. Nebraska State Senator Burke Harr, a long-time advocate for the redesign, has taken it upon himself to lead the charge on finding a new flag that’s more distinctive and compelling.

 Politicians aren’t the only ones who think the flag needs some work. It was recently ranked the second-worst US and Canadian state flag by the North American Vexillological Association.

Eager to have a new design for the state’s 150th anniversary in 2017, Senator Harr has decided to get a bit creative with figuring out how to push the redesign forward. So he’s tapped the creative talents of the Skillshare design community to submit designs for consideration. The Senator will judge the submissions himself and then select the best designs to incorporate into his ongoing campaign.

 He has provided guidelines to inspire those eager to participate, and hopes that the thousands of Skillshare designers – as well as the wider American public – will produce flags so striking that political deadlock on the issue might be broken, and that the best designs might serve as starting points for a full and official redesign.

Inspiration for a new design

Senator Harr welcomes all suggestions for the new design, but offers the following by way of inspiration:

“Nebraska is a broad land on the Great Plains of North America. The name Nebraska is derived from an Omaha Indian word meaning "flat water" (which in turn was translated into the bastardized French: Platte--which is the name of Nebraska's central river). This very river has made Nebraska an historic highway, as people (indigenous and non-indigenous) have traversed this land for centuries.”

Five core principles for flag design devised by Ted Kaye of the North American Vexillological Association – which Sen. Harr has asked Skillshare’s creatives to bear in mind – provide good guidance for designers. These principles recommend that a flag:

  • Is simple enough for a child to draw from memory
  • Meaningfully relates to what it symbolizes
  • Uses a maximum of three colors, which contrast well and come from the same standard color-set
  • Does not use lettering or seals
  • Avoids duplicating other flags, but may use similarities to show connections

Please submit your flag design as a JPG or PNG file to the following email, alongside a link to your Skillshare account: flag@skillshare.com. Share your design on social media using the hashtag #NebraskaFlag. Submissions are being accepted until 8/31/17.

The current Nebraska state flag, designed in 1921 by Florence Hazen Miller, is blue cloth charged with the state seal in gold and silver, which includes a steamboat in the Missouri River, a train heading toward the Rocky Mountains, and a blacksmith at his anvil. Nebraska was one of the last states to adopt an official state flag, in 1963. Before then, from its introduction in 1925, it was used as a state banner.

In 2001, the flag was ranked 71st out of the 72 US and Canadian state flags in a survey by the North American Vexillological Association (www.nava.org), a leading organization devoted to the scientific and scholarly study of flags; the worst-ranked flag (Georgia) has since been changed. The Nebraskan flag has also more recently been named 49th-worst US state flag by leading digital lifestyle publication, Thrillist.