Designer's NH flag idea takes symbolic approach
By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader | October 23. 2013 11:28PM
A product designer at BresslerGroup in Philadelphia, Mitchell has put together new designs for all 50 U.S. states.
What's wrong with New Hampshire's current flag design?
"There's a boat, a sunrise, water, land, multiple colors — a lot going on there. It gets complicated," said Mitchell. "Look at New Hampshire's flag, and compare it with the other 20 or so flags that are blue with an ornamental symbol in the middle. This is a subjective statement, but I don't think it stands out as well as it could."
"Since I wanted the symbolism to be meaningful to each state, I also pulled from unique geography, historical and famous events, and state mottos and symbols," said Mitchell.The state flag was adopted in 1909, featuring a design in use since 1784. It showcases the state seal on a deep blue background. The seal of course shows the ship "Raleigh" sailing near a large gray granite rock, in front of a yellow sun rising over blue water. The scene is surrounded by the words, "Seal of the State of New Hampshire 1776," with laurel leaves mixed in among nine yellow stars.
The idea that New Hampshire's state flag could use a makeover isn't a new one. The North American Vexillogical Association — a group that specializes in the study of flags — dubbed it one of the 10 worst state flags in a survey conducted in 2001.
"As far as past efforts to change the flag, my records go back to 1996," said New Hampshire State Archivist Brian Burford. "There have been seven attempts since then that I can find."
"This idea apparently made it as far as being sent to study committee," said Burford. "The other six attempts in the archives were deemed inexpedient to legislate."
Back in 1978, the New Hampshire Sunday News and The Union Leader conducted a "just for fun" state flag contest. Several hundred people offered suggestions. The winning entry, submitted by Melvin Whitcomb Jr., of Concord, also had nine stars around the state seal and the "Live Free or Die" motto, but his seal featured the Old Man of the Mountain. Of 195 votes, Whitcomb's design received 77 out of 195 votes, beating out seven other finalists to earn a $25 prize.Mitchell's new designs were unsolicited, and there are no current plans to replace any state flags.