Redesigning the New Jersey Flag — Comments on the Ten Finalists

Last November Brian Donohue called for the submissions of designs for a new New Jersey state flag. I responded by two posts, the first suggesting that the new flag be a banner of the State’s arms and the second proposing the “New Jersey buff ensign” as an auxiliary flag.

On February 8, 2016, the ten finalists in the design competition were revealed and readers were invited to vote for their favorite. This post will briefly comment on the ten designs and the voting process adopted.

Flames were the major element of two of the designs:

Kenneth Huang, Maplewood: The yellow and blue harken back to the original state flag, while the flame symbolizes knowledge, liberty, and power.
Alan Hall, Ontario, Canada: The borders between the buff and blue are cut to resemble an outline of the state. The torch is a simplified version of the one held by the Statue of Liberty. The three flames signify New Jersey’s place as the third state.

The Huang flag’s flame reminds me of the seal of the City of Summit, while the Hall flag is reminiscent of the flag of Indiana

Two of the flags have ray emanating from a sun:

The rays come from a central point, like a lighthouse on the shore or the Statue of Liberty. It also evokes the invention of the light bulb. Three rays symbolizes N.J.’s status as the third state in the union.
Andrew Zega, Paris: The band of buff represents the golden fields of the Garden State. The blue is the sky and the seven-pointed white sun recalls the crown of the Statue of Liberty

The Erickson flag reminds me of the Japanese Naval ensign:

While the Zega flag has a similarity to that of Antigua and Barbuda:

Two of the flags use a design idea similar to that of Barbados and Canada, a symbol charged on a pale:

Dave Martucci, formerly of Wharton: This flag is based on New Jersey’s current flag, but I condensed the design down to just the three plows on blue from the current arms. A Revolutionary War N.J. flag reportedly just had the three plows and a horse’s head on it.
Joe Conklin, Pitman: The traditional colors of New Jersey on a standard three-stripe banner. Thirteen stars represent our original colonies.

As others have commented, the Conklin flag only has twelve stars. In this regard it is like the flag of Europe

As of the writing of this post, the two leading designs in terms of reader votes are:

Andrew Maris, Fair Haven: The flag is inspired by the Jersey Blues Revolutionary War uniform. The militia wore a blue coat over a red waistcoat, often accompanied by a white sash. Three colors and star represent the third state to join the union and the first to ratify the Bill of Rights.
Dan Shelffo, South Orange: The colors, which include N.J.’s official blue and buff uniform colors chosen by George Washington, symbolize beaches, ocean, sky and the state’s woodlands. The pine cone represents trees that thrive in the pine barrens through sheer resiliency.

The final two, and my personal favorites, make use of New Jersey’s coat of arms (three plows on a shield), although in one case the tincture of the shield is changed.

Andrew Jones, Perth, Australia: The cross reflects the flag of the isle of Jersey, from which New Jersey takes its name. The rest is from the current New Jersey flag.
Reddit user Marmocet: The cross shows N.J.’s heritage as an English colony. Buff and blue are used on N.J.’s current flag. The shade of red was taken from the cuffs and collars of NJ revolutionary war uniforms

(What is supposed to be blue on Marmocet’s flag must be very dark as it appears black to me.)

Comments on the Voting Process

While I will acknowledge that because this is a private undertaking, Brian Donohue has every right to establish whatever procedure he wants for the voting, I do have some comments, in no particular order, with regard to the procedure he did establish:

  1. There were too many finalists. There are a number with similarities that may dilute the vote and give more unique designs an advantage. I would have preferred at least several rounds of voting or some form of transferable vote.
  2. The deadline for casting votes was not disclosed.
  3. There is no assurance that interested readers will only vote once.
  4. Current results are disclosed.