They’re here! See final 6 design candidates for new Minnesota state flag

Large tabletop displays of flag designs
State flag designs are displayed in the Minnesota Senate Building in St. Paul on Tuesday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Updated: 8:48 p.m.

Stars ruled the day and loon-inspired designs almost all saw their demise Tuesday as the State Emblem Redesign Commission narrowed the vast pool of Minnesota flag and seal submissions to six.

After hours of deliberation, the panel chose six flag designs that included stars, ripples of water and hues of green and blue. Simplicity proved dominant over flag concepts that had too many colors or symbols. 

A person holds up a small flag during a meeting
Flag expert Lee Herold holds a replica of the historic Minnesota flag that was in use from 1893 through 1957 during a meeting in the Minnesota Senate Building in St. Paul on Tuesday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

The panel trimmed the possible designs for the next state seal to five. The seal is the emblem that appears on many government documents and on some buildings. There were far fewer entries, and commission members were willing to include more aspects on that emblem than they were the flag.

Some of the more comical, and social media viral submissions like a photo of someone’s dog, hot dish seal and “bayg” failed to make the cut. They are set to choose new emblems at a public meeting next month.

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During their meeting Tuesday, panelists emphasized their desire to meet the requirements laid out for them by the Legislature. They have to select emblems that “accurately and respectfully reflect Minnesota's shared history, resources, and diverse cultural communities.”

And the designs can’t single out a community or person in particular. 

Rep. Bjorn Olson, R-Fairmont, expressed a concern about picking options that could stand the test of time. He considered a top vote-getter that depicted a north star and a waving river reflecting the sky.

Two people look at designs
Susie Emmert and Dan Pollock peruse flag design submissions in the Minnesota Senate Building in St. Paul on Tuesday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

“It’s very 2023,” he said. “I love it but will I love it when I’m 100 years old?”

Chair Luis Fitch agreed that the flag and seal would have to stay hip beyond 2023.

“I think that’s what is going to make it very difficult for us,” Fitch said. “What’s trendy and what’s not and what makes a flag look like a flag that is going to work for us now that we’re different than other any states or nations and that on top of it it’s going to work for next generations.”

Here’s a look at the six flag designs that will remain in contention.

A flag with navy and blue
Minnesota State Flag design F2100.
State Emblems Redesign Commission
A flag with flower and star
Minnesota State Flag design F1435.
State Emblems Redesign Commission
A flag with a star and blue and white lines
Minnesota State Flag design F944.
State Emblems Redesign Commission
A flag with a star-1
Minnesota State Flag design F1154.
State Emblems Redesign Commission
A flag with a star and stripes
Minnesota State Flag design F1953.
State Emblems Redesign Commission
A flag with the north star and a snowflake on top
Minnesota State Flag design F29.
State Emblems Redesign Commission

The commission has a deadline to pick new emblems before the end of the year. Their choices will replace the current state flag and seal in May unless the Legislature vetoes them.

Members of the public can weigh in and provide feedback on the commission’s website.

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