Republican Party

The official logo of the Republican Party is a stylized elephant, a symbol originally derived from a Thomas Nast cartoon from 1874. The modern Republican Party bears no resemblance to that party, so it’s time for a brand makeover.

For this, let’s look to what the party standards for now, and what symbols are attached to them.

Once the enemy of the Confederacy, the Republican Party has long since put that behind them and embraced it. Racism, contempt for the federal government, and racism were hallmarks of the Confederacy, which are now pillars of the Republican Party.

More recently, the Republicans have openly embraced fascism. They believe in authoritarianism, and they’ve even adopted the Nazi Party’s signature move of scapegoating a minority and putting them in camps.

Combining them was almost embarrassingly simple. This is the Republican Party under the leadership of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Vote them all out.

Alberta

Alberta’s flag is Yet Another Shield on a Blue Field. The shield has some redeeming characteristics, I’ll admit, mainly the fact that it’s somewhat simplified art, and not Yet Another Pair of Figures Standing Next to a Coat of Arms. Because the figures are missing.

But looking a little closer at that shield presents an idea. No, not the Cross of Saint George. That’s England. But the rest is something that could be pulled out to use.

It’s  symbolic landscape, depicting the main geographic regions of the province. I’ve further simplified it, showing the the gray mountains, the green hills, and the amber prairie and farmland (combined).

Alaska

If you can’t tell the difference between the current Alaska flag and my version, that’s because there isn’t much.

Alaska is another case of a great flag design: fitting, simple, distinctive. The only issue I have with it is that the stars are kinda small, and get lost at a distance. I made them a little larger, fixed them to make their positions more astronomically correct, and adjusted the overall placement on the skyfield.

South Dakota

South Dakota’s flag has a sad, sad history to it. Sad because it documents the slow degeneration of a cromulent state flag into another vexillological abomination: a seal on sheet, with the name and a tourism slogan. (The fact that the tourism slogan promotes an attraction that wrecked a site sacred to Native Americans, is just shit icing on the shit cake.)

You might not be able to read it at this size, but not only does it say “SOUTH DAKOTA” at the top of the flag, it also says “SOUTH DAKOTA” at the top of the seal. The seal also contains a theocratic motto (fuck that), the year the state was admitted to the Union (no one cares), and a messy, symbolism-littered illustration of life in South Dakota that you can’t even make out at full size.

I’m not gonna tell you that the original flag was a really good one, because it wasn’t. It had the name and the state’s nickname on it, which is kinda bad. Then the idiots in the South Dakota legislature added the state seal. And in 1992 they updated the nickname to push their one big tourist attraction. The result is up there at the top. Feh.

In my initial triage on the current flag, I ripped off the seal and deleted the words, and I was tempted to just go with the yellow sunburst on a blue field as a lucky discovery. But I felt it was missing something, something that said South Dakota (without literally saying “South Dakota”). So I looked to Native American symbology, and added a thunderbird design within the sunburst.

 

Several years ago, celebrated South Dakota artist Dick Termes undertood the same project and overhauled the flag. In 2012 he found a champion for it in legislator Bernie Hunhoff. But the idiots running the capital stonewalled it. Fuck them. It’s a good design, and I’m including it here as an alternate to mine. Termes had a similar idea, but instead of the thunderbird, he added a medicine wheel, another emblem native to the people of the region. He did more with the sunburst, extending the four-points symbology of the medicine wheel. I like it, and South Dakota should take a break from fucking with people’s lives with right-wing legislation, and and adopt it.

P.S. Termes’ gallery should be South Dakota’s biggest tourist attraction. I’ve never been there, but it looks awesome.

Earth

When I saw this flag (or one very much like it) hanging from a porch in my neighborhood, I stifled a scream, and decided that I had to do a flag for Earth.

There are several unofficial flags for Earth out there. This one is arguably the worst. It’s a nice idea, I suppose: representing the diversity of the peoples of Earth, but the execution of it shows that the idea can’t work. It’s just a mess: a bunch of unreadable noise.

One legit flag that could represent Earth is the United Nations flag. It’s not a horrible flag, and the blandness serves the UN’s purposes well. You can paint a military helmet this shade of blue and people will immediately recognize that they represent UN peacekeepers. But the emblem of continents is too detailed and fussy to draw.

In 1969, peace activist John McConnell offered this design to the UN, obviously inspired by the photos of Earth taken by Apollo astronauts. There are also versions of this that substitute the famous “big blue marble” photo of Earth taken in 1972 or some other photo. All of them suffer from the same lack of simplicity.

The following year, farmer James Cadle proposed a much simpler flag, with circles representing the Sun, Earth, and Moon. I kinda like it, particularly the idea of including the satellite that’s such a critical part of the Earth-Moon system.

Recently, Oskar Pernefeldt proposed a flag for Earth. His interlocking circles symbolize the seven continents, interlinking into a flower. It’s a nice concept, but again flunks the “Can you draw it from memory?” test.

One thing that all of these designs take as a starting point (even the trainwreck at the top) is that there needs to be a circle in the center. I decided to reject that principle. After all, Earth is not the center of the universe.

As much as I complain about putting illustrations on a flag, I chose to go with an abstracted one. One of the things I find most striking about images of Earth (which gets lost in those long-distance shots) is that thin layer of atmosphere around it. This is a medium-distance abstraction of Earth, reflecting how it looks when you get close to it. It’s green-encrusted ground, blue-reflective oceans, and that blue-refracting border of air. It intentionally doesn’t depict any place in particular on Earth, just the combo of features that makes Earth was it is. And taking a cue from Farmer James, I used the Moon off to the side, for visual balance.