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Ed Driscoll

From Bauhaus To Your State House

October 25th, 2013 - 12:37 pm

“Upset by the lack of unity in the United States, a Philadelphia graphic designer has redesigned all 50 state flags using a common design theme,” Jon Gabriel writes at Ricochet:

Ed Mitchell of the Philadelphia design firm Bresslergroup limits the colors to red, white and blue, and features only bold, simple designs. Gone are those troublesome state seals, mottos and other text that might hint at divergence from the collective “we.”

The designer explains:

I was immediately bothered by how discordant [state flags] are as a group, and I wasn’t surprised to learn they break just about every rule of flag design… When you look at them all together, there’s no indication they come from the same nation.

Unfortunately this is an accurate representation of where we are right now as a country. We can’t seem to get anything done. But we used to. As a tribute to the collective creativity that brought us this far — and, truth be told, to the “united-ness” I hope we adopt in the future — I embarked on a project to redesign all fifty state flags.

Emboldened by the Obama campaign’s elevation of graphic design over ideas or experience, Mitchell wants to eliminate partisanship with a top-down vexillological solution. Color me vexed.

As Jon asks, “I’m sorry, but on what planet is this…”

proposed_california_flag_10-25-13-1

Perhaps Mitchell’s existing work can be paid off via equally Starting from Zero currency envisioned by another graphic designer in 2010. I’m willing to chip in an Obama dollar or two to stop it from going forward.

dowling_duncan_obama_dollar-8-30-10

What I find fascinating is the increasingly elderly mentality lurking behind these “futuristic” redesigns. The Bauhaus existed 90 years ago in Weimar, Germany. As part of that socialist nation’s own economic woes, the Bauhaus had their own experiments in currency design. The Helvetica font was created 55 years ago in Switzerland.

Otto von Bismarck would be proud — it’s one of the curious paradoxes of modernism that artists who hold themselves out as “progressives” and “modernists” have straightjacketed themselves into design forms which are well over half a century old.

Related: On second thought, perhaps these designers are onto something — we might as well have new forms to match, if we’re moving into the Brave New World of post-Weimar America.

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All Comments   (4)
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You know we did used to get things done. Back when any one graphic designer's work was pretty much limited to a few blocks in one of a few cities. Seems to me things went downhill once they started getting wider distribution.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
The most offensive and noticeable thing about those redesigned state flags is that he used Obama's color palette (pale blue and tomato red) instead of the much stronger navy blue and blood red of our American flag. Has Obama's branding officially supplanted our nation's?

The most noticeable thing about that old Obama dollar design is that they've used a picture of Obama with his mouth open. After 6+ years of him, we've come to know that the guy just can't stop talking.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
And if he's talking, he's lying

Or declaring "I know nothing" The Sergeant Schultz of American presidents
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
The first thing that hit me when I first heard this: "People care this much about state flags?" (Outside of Texas - probably should be noted). This is just another wannabe pop artist trying to find political patronage.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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