The Gem State

The Original

The elements to the flag include

  • Blue field

  • Red and gold banner “State of Idaho”

  • State Seal

  • “Great Seal of the State of Idaho”

  • White star

  • White ribbon “Esto perpetua” (state motto meaning It is Forever)

  • Elk head

  • Lady Liberty holding scale, spear and liberty cap

  • Miner with pickaxe and shovel

  • Two cornucopias

  • Wild Syringa

  • Wheat growing

  • Sheaf of grain

  • Rock and ore

  • Shield

  • Mountains

  • Man plowing with horse

  • Stamp mill

  • Snake River

  • Pine tree

The flag of Idaho was adapted November 2, 1957.

The seal on the flag is the only state seal to be designed by a woman. It is also the most complicated seal on a state flag.

This flag was ranked 64th out of 72 flags in America and Canada by the North American Vexillology Association in their 2001 survey.

Keep it simple: This is easily the most complicated seal. There are so many parts to it. Not only is there a detailed scene in the seal, but also on the shield in the seal. There only simple part of the flag is the field of blue.

Use meaningful symbolism: The white star on the outside of the seal is symbolic of “new light in the galaxy of states”. There is hunting laws to protect animals as symbolizes by the elk’s head. Women were about to get the vote when the seal was made. Lady Liberty symbolizes the justice, liberty, and equality this would bring to the state. The miner, his tools, and the stamp mill in the shield represent the state’s biggest industry and the time of gaining statehood. The cornicopias are symbolic of over aboundant prosperity and horticulure. The wheat and sheaf of grain represent the state’s argiultcure as well as the scene in the shield of the man plowing his flield. The pine tree represents the timber in the state.

There is a lot packed into this seal and flag and it raises two questions. Are we being presented with information or given symbolism? Is the symbolism meaningful when there is so much of it?

Use two or three basic colors: In this flag we see fourteen colors being used.

No lettering or seals: There is a seal and lettering on this flag.

Be distinctive or be related: As state flags go, over half of them use their state seal on a blue field. There is nothing distict about it that would let you know which state it represents if you saw this on a pole 100 ft away.

The Redesign

Keep it simple: This flag has a simple blue diamond shaped gem and two green mountains. 

Use meaningful symbolism: The white field is symbolic of liberty, justice, and equality. The gem is symbolic of the state’s early start as miners and the state nickname. The green mountains are symbolic of the state’s natural features and argiculture. 

Use two or three basic colors: In this flag we see three colors being used.

No lettering or seals: There is no lettering or seals.

Be distinctive or be related: This flag is distinct with the diamond shaped gem in the center.