Montana

The Treasure State

The Original

The elements to the flag include

  • Blue field

  • “Montana”

  • State seal

  • Sunrise

  • Snowy mountains

  • Waterfall

  • Missouri River

  • Trees

  • Cliffs

  • Pickax

  • Shovel

  • Plow

  • Ribbon “Oro y Plata” (state motto for Gold and Silver)

This flag was adapted as the state flag July 1, 1981. 

This flag is another of my favorite examples of bad flag design. The North American Vexillology Association rates this flag the 2nd worst American flag. In their 2001 survey of 72 Canadian and American flags it was rated 70th. Georgia, who was ranked 72nd has since redesigned their flag.

Keep it simple: There are lots of details to this flag that would get lost when viewed far away on a flag pole. The water features are a prime example of a design being too busy. 

Use meaningful symbolism: I think the reason this flag is so bad is because it is a literal desgin, not symbolic. The seal is showing us the natural bueaty of the state and the industries that settlers used. This is poor flag design because there is no symbolism.

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

No lettering or seals: Whenever a flag has to write out what it represents, it fails as a flag. This flag both says the state name and has the seal.

Be distinctive or be related: This flag is much like other state flags with the blue field and seal in the middle.

The Redesign

Keep it simple: This redesigned flag has a fesses (three horizontal bars) of blue, light blue, and green. There is are three mountain peaks in the middle of the flag.

Use meaningful symbolism: This flag is symbolic of the natural features of the state. The top dark blue bar symbolizes the water features (rivers, waterfalls, lakes, and so forth). The middle bar symbolizes the great open skys. The bottom green bar symbolizes the natural plants. There is three peaks in the middle to symbolize the mountains, hills, and cliffs.

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. It shows a scene while still beign symbolic and pleasing to look at.