This example of contrasting design philosophy is so striking that very little exposition is needed. If you have ever been to Texas, you will undoubtedly recall seeing the Lone Star virtually everywhere. It’s not just found on flags, but also on packaging, architecture, commercials, billboards and much more. I don’t think this sort of symbolic proliferation really exists for any other state. This may have something to do with ‘Texas Pride,’ a unique sense of identity that just isn’t as strong in other states, but I think that it has a lot to do with design.
I’m now going to speculate wildly as to what the developers of these logos had in mind:
Texas Flag Design Rationale
- Make it easy to recognize
- Make it is easy to reproduce
- Make it unique
- Symbolize a single impressive object
Wisconsin Flag Rationale
- Include the name of the state
- Include the year it was admitted to the union
- Add the state motto
- Add something to represent agriculture
- A pick and shovel to symbolize mining
- A arm and hammer to represent manufacturing
- An Anchor, for navigation of course
- Include the US coat of arms
- Include a sailor and miner to represent water and land
- A cornucopia, for prosperity and abundance
- 13 lead ingots, representing the mineral wealth or the 13 original states.
I wasn’t able to find any estimates of the sales of these two logos or flags, but the difference in philosophy and result is clear. I did find supporting evidence from a 1991 Survey conducted by the North Amercian Vexillogical Association:
…members favored strong, simple, distinctive flags, choosing New Mexico, Texas, and Quebec in first, second and third place, all with scores above 8. They scorned the “seal-on-a-bedsheet” design common to more than half of U.S. state flags, forcefully relegating those flags to the bottom of the heap with scores averaging less than 4.
Logos need to be simple, recognizable and reproducible. If you have a list of five, ten or even twenty messages you want to transit through your new branding campaign its highly likely that your going to end up not with a symbol, but a mess.