Minnesota’s New State Flag

Minnesotans will see a new flag flying over schools, government offices, and public buildings this spring. The State Emblems Redesign Commission approved the new state flag design in January 2024.  

What Motivated the Redesign? 

Government officials and numerous citizen groups believe the new design reflects Minnesota better than the previous design. The old design included an image of a farmer plowing his field with his rifle propped on a nearby tree stump. Behind the farmer is a Native American man riding a horse toward a setting sun. For many Minnesotans, the image illustrated white settlers driving Native Americans out of the state. Numerous groups found the image offensive, including Native Americans, who often refused to fly it. 

The Design Process 

In 2023, a Minnesota state bill gave the 13-member redesign committee $35,000 to explore designs for the new flag. The state legislature tasked the committee with finding a design that reflected Minnesota’s history, resources, and diverse communities. The committee included representatives from the different communities of Minnesota, including spokespeople from:  

  • the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs,  
  • the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage,  
  • the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans,  
  • the Indian Affairs Council, including members of the Ojibwe and Dakota communities,  
  • members of the state historical society,  
  • other state boards, and 
  • the general public.   

The committee also consulted with many experts, including vexillologists (people who study flags). These flag experts advised the committee about the design elements that would make the flag memorable and effective. They informed the committee that the design should be simple, use a few basic colors, include meaningful symbolism, and avoid lettering and seals.  

Back of the United States State Series Quarter for Minnesota
The loon is also on the Minnesota state quarter.

People submitted over 2,000 flag designs for consideration. Some designs were popular on social media but did not make the final cut. These included a photo of someone’s dog and a large mosquito. (Minnesotans joke that the mosquito is their unofficial state bird.) Several of the finalist designs included the actual state bird—the loon. The committee chose a design by Andrew Prekker, 24, of Luverne, Minnesota, as the base design and then tweaked it.  

The New Design 

Vexillologists think the new Minnesota flag will become one of the most recognizable state flags because of its clear design. On the left side of the design, a dark blue background forms the shape of Minnesota. An eight-point star, representing the North Star, appears on the dark blue background. One of Minnesota’s nicknames is “The North Star State,” which refers to Minnesota as the northernmost state of the lower 48 states. A lighter blue covers the right side of the flag. Blue was chosen as the primary color for the flag to reflect Minnesota’s numerous rivers and lakes, including Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi River. 

Click this link to visit the State Emblems Redesign Committee webpage to view the approved design and read from creator Andrew Prekker.

The new flag will begin flying throughout the state on May 11, 2024, which is Minnesota’s Statehood Day. 

Dig Deeper Examine your state’s flag. What is the significance of the design elements on it?