The Keystone State

The Original

The elements to the flag include

  • Old Glory Blue field 
  • State coat of arms
  • Shield with ship, plough, three sheaves of wheat
  • Eagle
  • Two horses
  • Olive branch
  • Corn stalk
  • Red ribbon “Virtue, Liberty and Independence” (state motto)

The Pennsylvania flag was adapted June 13, 1907.

As far as design goes, it’s a pretty bad flag. In fact in 2001, the North American Vexillology Association did a survery of the 72 flags of American and Canada and ranked this flag 57th. As we walk throught Ted Kaye’s principles of good flag design we see the many flaws it has.

Keep it simple: In my opinion, horses are one of the hardest animals to draw. They have so much detail to them that we would lose if this flag were flying on a flag pole. Not only are there two horses, but also an eagle. The crest is very detailed with even more details inside. The gold work that the ribbon sits on is not needed.

Use meaningful symbolism: The inside of the shield is diveded into three parts which symbolise Pennsylvania’s strengths; commerce with the world, natural resources, and human thought and action. The olive branch is for peace and the corn stalk for prosperity. The eagle represents the state’s loyalty to the United States.

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

No lettering or seals: This flag has the state motto writen on it. This is hard to see far away and backwards, as flags often are viewed.

Be distinctive or be related: This flag is another of the 27 flags that uses blue for thier background and the state seal for distinction.

The Redesign

Keep it simple: This redesign is a simple fesses design. A fesses design has three horizontal stripes. A simple keystone sits in the middle.

Use meaningful symbolism: The symbolism in this flag is strong. The use of the keystone represents orgins of the state and the keystone part it played. The blue symbolizes independence, the yellow is liberty, and the white is virtue. These three colors represent the state motto. 

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

No lettering or seals: I have taken out the seal and wording.

Be distinctive or be related: This flag is distinct.