US State Flags Ranked
September 17, 2019
I have always liked flags, not necessarily their meanings or what they stand for, but their designs. It is cool to see a flag and recognize what state or country it represents. It turns out studying flags is called Vexillology. This page is my ranking of the flags of the United States. Most of the flags were so bad, I had to rank them as which flags were worse than the others, rather than better.
The worst flags here are absolutely terrible. Most of them are tiny state seals surrounded by a dark blue border. Nobody knows what state they represent and the stuff inside the seal is way too small to figure out. It's like the designers of these flags didn't really know what a flag was, they thought its something you look at under a magnifying glass, not flying on a flagpole in the distance.
A dressed up Confederate flag, on top of the flag of Chile. Disgraceful. Doesn't even deserve a spot on the list. It's like the guy making the flag was learning the "scale" tool in Photoshop but gave up...typical for someone flying the Confederate flag.
What does the text on Kentucky's flag say? If you like optical illusions, you are in for a treat. The text on the flag is so hard to read, it's like one of those illusions where you have to move the text right next to your eyes and turn the page flat before you can read it. The rest of the flag is bad. Crudely drawn humans in a seal on a blue background. Unoriginal and bad.
At least you won't get Wisconsin's flag confused with the others, it says WISCONSIN in big and bold letters on it. They should have gone for a better design to differentiate it though. If you look close in the bottom right of the seal, there are a bunch of ingots stacked together like a super triforce. Kind of cool, but not enough to consider this anything other than a terrible flag.
Another blue state flag. "Battle Born" is a cool motto, and at least it isn't overly complicated, but still not a good flag.
There is no denying the animals on this flag are super majestic. But it is another navy blue flag that is not memorable and blends in with the rest of bad navy blue flags.
In 2017, Nebraska's flag was flown upside down at the state capitol for 10 days and nobody noticed. That about sums up their terrible flag.
North Dakota chose to turn the great seal of the United States into their flag. It seemingly has nothing to do with North Dakota. The navy blue doesn't help either.
Idaho, my home state, has one of the worst flags. It looks like there might be something cool going on in the middle circle...but you'd need a microscope to really see it. The banner in the center says "Esto Perpetua", which is Latin for "Let it be forever". Please, ignore your motto Idaho and don't let this be the flag design forever! Nobody speaks latin in Idaho anyway. The flag is dominated by a dark blue border, just like way too many other states in the west, making it just another indistinguishable bad flag.
Oregon's flag looks like it was designed by someone who's entire knowledge of Oregon came from playing the Oregon Trail in elementary school on an old Apple ][. That game was pretty awesome, but this flag isn't. It even has Apple ][ graphics. It blends in horribly with every other lame navy blue flag.
Minnesota has a state seal on a blue background like so many other bad flags. Whatever is happening in the state seal is too small to see. It almost looks like Where's Waldo might be in it somewhere, but it is too hard to tell. I like that it isn't quite as navy blue as some other flags, but that isn't praise, that just means it is less bad.
Another terrible, blue, overly complicated flag. At least this one says "Kansas" on it in big letters so you know which state it is for. Maybe Kansas should take their name off and put it on a better flag...
Utah has a weird flag. There are two USA flags on it, what I like to call "Flagception". The eagle on the flag is ok, though I almost never see bald eagles in Utah so it is pretty misleading. Also, there is a large beehive in the center, confusing everyone who doesn't live in Utah. You think Utah has lots of bees? No. Utah's former name under Brigham Young was "Deseret", meaning honeybee in Reformed Egyptian. Despite this weirdness, the huge dark blue border puts Utah's flag in the "indestinguishable western state" category.
Yet another typical navy blue flag. Montana's is slightly better than the rest because at least the picture in the circle is simple. Like a scene from a children's book. The least-bad of the bad navy blue flags with a circle picture.
These flags aren't quite terrible, but they are not good either.
Illinois has a eagle at sunset. The font on the banner in the eagle's mouth is too small to read. Overall, not a great flag. Meanwhile, Chicago's flag is one of the best. It is too bad the guy who designed Chicago's flag didn't do Illinois's too...oh wait he did and it is way better than their complicated eagle. They should use that instead.
I'm conflicted on Georgia's flag. On the one hand, it is totally lame, and is basically the Confederate Stars and Bars flag. On the other hand, it is a huge improvement over their former Confederate battle flag. Why any state would choose a Confederate flag as a state flag is beyond me, it is like advertising "We were the bad guys and lost a big war!".
Another typical navy blue flag. The boat in the seal is pretty cool I guess, they should have made the whole flag based around that, rather than keeping it inside the lame navy blue flag.
Delware's flag is a chaotic mess. There is some flag-ception going on here, with a flag of a cow inside the main flag. There are some crudely drawn 2D guys, one of them is holding a gun, one holding...something else? A sideways B maybe? It doesn't really matter, it's all too small to see. The flag is memorable, because it is terrible.
This is just France's flag, with "Iowa" written on it in sad letters. What a terrible flag, I feel bad for "Iowa". The banner says "Our liberties We Prize And Our Rights We Will Maintain". It's like Yoda wrote it. Iowa needs to change the eagle to a picture of Yoda, and change the sad "Iowa" text to say "Dagobah".
How would you describe the color of this flag? Orange? Yellow? Tan? No, I think it is Crayola's "Macaroni and Cheese" color. So the flag stands out immediately. The seal on it has some cool stuff: a deer head, knight's helmet, Waldo's hat. But it is crudely drawn and nothing special.
South Dakota's flag is a decent one. The weird sea-green color represents the state's weather and I like the unique color. The multi-point sun thing is cool, but they kind of ruin it with a complicated picture inside the sun.
The little purple things on the flag are grapevines. I'm a grape fan, but not so much a Connecticut flag fan. The grapes are too small. If they wanted to go grape-themed, they should be bold about it and make the grapes big enough to see. Also, I didn't even realize grapes grew in Connecticut. Maybe I'm just uncultured, but grapes seem like a strange choice.
Yet another blue flag with a state seal...but this one is better than the others! It has a fierce elk on it and a weirdly skinny yet also rad moose who look ready to rumble. It is not accurate though, the moose should be way bigger. The eagle is generic, and over used on state flags anyway. The eagle also looks panicked, like he doesn't want to be involved in whatever is about to happen with the elk and moose.
Another state seal on...the Netherlands flag? At least this one isn't on a plain blue background. The latin on the flag stands for "United we stand, divided we fall", which is a cool motto, too bad this is a flag where mottos don't belong. Plus, since it is in latin, nobody knows what it means. Not a good flag.
Vermont is off to a bad start with their generic flag. But with the added deer head and the simple picture within the coat of arms, it is kind of cool. The sunset sky beyond the mountains is nice too. Of all the pictures within dark blue flags, I would like to go to Vermont's picture the most.
I hope you brought your microscope, you'll need it if you want to see what's going on on the West Virginia flag. From what I can make out, there are some miners hanging out next to a rock. There are some crossed rifles on the ground, symbolizing the fight for liberty during the civil war. All of this is neat, but it is way too complicated for a flag. At least it isn't a blue background.
Look for Dirigo at your local grocer! Now with real Moose Meat! That is the vibe I get from the Maine flag. It looks like an old fashioned advertisement. The flag is another state seal. But this one isn't overly complicated. We've got a little soviet action as one guy is holding a scythe. Verdict - cool state seal, the flag is still bad.
If New Jersey's flag had an evil twin, this is it. Instead of a Waldo hat, it is the Sorting hat on a stick. They went with a baby's face in the sun, maybe they should replace one of the ladies on the flag with a Teletubby to go with it.
What a shocking flag. It is just George Washington's face on a flag. George Washington never visited Washington, probably never even thought about it. And yet here he is on their green flag. The shade of green is horrible. Like an old chair in a grandmother's "sitting room" that nobody ever sits in.
This flag is so hard to rank. On the one hand, it is another state seal pretending to be a flag. On the other hand, what a super cool state seal! There is a lot to like. A solemn indian with a huge bow and arrow. A lone star representing something. And a pirate's arm coming out of thin air! I don't like state seals on flags but Massachusetts's is special.
Let's take the Flag of Alabama...and make it worse! Then you have Florida's flag. Very unoriginal, and ruined with a terrible state-seal front and center. Florida's flag has got progressively worse over the last 100 years (though none have been good). They keep making their state-seal worse. It used to look realistic. Then from 1900 to 1985 they gave it Super Nintendo graphics. That's fine, those were cool graphics. But in 1985, they changed it to have garbage Commodore 64 graphics, now it hurts your eyes to look at.
Evolution of Florida Seals
Original Seal - Lifelike Graphics
Second Seal - Super Nintendo Graphics
Current Seal - Bad Graphics
These flags are actually ok. Not great, but fine.
Woah, what an intense flag. Obviously a battle just happened, and Virtus (Virginia) has just beat down Tyranny (Britain). Virtus is dual-wielding weapons, a spear and "the sword of Authority". What a super cool flag on a seal. Still...it is a blue seal on a flag. So the flag itself is bad, but the symbol is really cool.
Basically an off-brand version of the Texas flag. It is simple, but nothing special either.
Arkansas's flag reminds me of a sauce logo, maybe like some off-brand Tabasco sauce. It also kind of has a Las-Vegas vibe, with the stars on the border like a light-up sign. The large "Arkansas" name on the flag makes it easy to tell that it is the flag of Arkansas, but maybe if the design was better they wouldn't need their state name on the flag itself. It is mediocre.
The iconic Bison sillohuette on Wyoming's flag is super cool. They should just leave it at that, remove the seal in the middle, it is too hard to see anyway. A very memorable flag.
Oklahoma has one of the few cool blue state flags. The shade of blue is different enough to make it stand out, and the shield and feathers are pretty cool. It is nice and simple and a decent flag.
Finally something different, this flag isn't a rectangle! And it isn't bad either, with a cool patriotic look. If I didn't know it was Ohio's flag though, I would think it is a "hip remix" of the USA flag. Still a pretty cool flag.
Finally, the last 14 flags are actually good.
It's like Hawaii started their flag project the night before it was due, realized they were out of all colors except red, white, and blue and then decided to just plagiarize Britain. Oh well, most other states in the class did even worse so the teacher overlooked Hawaii. It hurts my eyes.
Alabama keeps it simple with their flag. It is easy to remember which is good, but I just don't care for it. I don't like the colors, but at least Alabama doesn't follow the lame navy blue flag trend.
The Tennessee flag seems friendly. The stars aren't fancy all in a row, like they think they are better than everyone else. They are relatable stars. The colors are nice and it isn't trying to be a state seal turned into a flag. Definitely one of the better flags.
Maryland's flag is hard to forget once you've seen it. It is like a weird optical illusion. If you look hard enough maybe you'll see a terrapin. Personally, it hurts my eyes and I try not to look at it directly. But at least it is iconic and memorable.
Rhode Island did it right with their super cool anchor-themed flag. "Hope" is a simple, powerful motto. All the other navy blue background flags are incredibly lame, but this one actually looks cool with a navy blue background, which it had until 1897. But Rhode Island didn't want to be associated with the lameness that is the navy blue flags of the US, for good reason. Easily one of the best state flags.
Indiana has a cool torch and stars on its flag. Simple, memorable, and cool. Definitely a good flag, but like Alaska's, too hard to see from a distance. In fact, Alaska and Indiana's flags are both covered in stars and the same color, making them hard to tell apart. Still they are cool flags.
Is that really what the moon looks like in South Carolina? I'd like to find out! It is a cool, simple flag with the moon and a palm tree. You instantly know it when you see it, making it a good flag.
The Lone Star State. Such a cool nickname. And the Texas flag shows it. The flag keeps it simple, but it is also memorable.
Louisiana's flag is really cool. At first glance, it is a big Pelican in a nest with some baby pelicans. But if you look closer, the big pelican is feeding the babies with its own blood. This is the most hardcore flag on the list. Normally I don't like weird and detailed flag designs, but Louisiana's is super cool. Also, it is a huge improvement from the previous version, that looks like a horrible cartoon, or the terrifying version before that.
Louisiana's crazy older flags
Scary 1861 Flag
Cartoon Styled 1912 - 2010 Flag
The big dipper is the only good constellation (normally I hate constellations) and is an awesome subject for a flag. It is memorable, and super cool. However, it is kind of hard to see, knocking Alaska down a few points.
Colorado has one of the best flags. Simple, great colors, and a cool big C. I see it on shirts and hats a lot and wish other state flags were this cool.
California has an iconic flag. It is easy to recognize and cool enough to take some pride in. However, it doesn't make any sense because grizzly bears are extinct in California! Also, red stars are a communist symbol, but I doubt the people of California mind too much. Overall, an excellent flag.
This flag is really good. Colorful, easy to recognize, and still simple. It kind of has a "rising-sun" vibe which is very cool. The colors seem hot, just like Arizona. The only drawback is that the orange star in the middle is hard to make out against the yellow and red background. Still, definitely a top-tier flag.
Simple, memorable, and super cool. You immediately know it is New Mexico's flag, and you think woah that is awsome. This is how a state flag should be done. Not only one of the best state flags, one of my all time favorites world-wide.