Proposed flag of the State of New Hampshire

The current New Hampshire state flag is not a good flag. This is my subjective opinion, but it is also backed up by guidelines and scores from across society. For example, the North American Vexalogical Society (NAVA) rated New Hampshire amongst the ten worst flags in North America (source).

In order to assess the quality of flags, the NAVA check the flag’s design against five principles listed in Good Flag Bad Flag. In summary, they are:

  1. Keep it simple – a child should be able to draw it;
  2. The symbolism should be meaningful;
  3. It should only use a few colors;
  4. It should not contain lettering or seals; and
  5. It should be distinctive or related.

The last one deserves some clarification. The flag should only look like another flag, if it’s related in some way. The Liberian flag looks like the USA flag, because Liberia was founded by American slaves, for example.

Similarly, the Flag Institute, the British flag charity, has a set of rules, that can be downloaded for free and which are very similar.

Keeping these rules in mind, it should be obvious why the New Hampshire state flag is widely disliked. It has images that are complex (rule 1), and it is very indistinct from other state flags such as Kentucky and Idaho (rule 5). It is also not particularly meaningful (rule 2). New Hampshire’s coast is tiny, so the ship is incongruous at best. Finally, when flying, the ship is almost impossible to discern.

Back in 2014 2009, Brian Cham of Auckland, New Zealand proposed a new flag. You can see his design here: BrianCham1994.com. But while I like it, and while it satisfies rules 2 to 5, I think it could be more simple, while at the same time including more symbolism. I also think the Old Man of the Mountain, who no longer exists, is an entirely odd symbol for the state to cling to.

New Hampshire is a tourist destination, and its beauty is famously its lakes, forests, and the White Mountains. Therefore, my design incorporates shapes to represent the mountains and lakes.

The proposed flag is a white mountain in the center of a blue background. This mountain does not reach the bottom left or right corners, so that it looks like a peak. New Hampshire is also known as the Granite State, so the bottom of the mountain is grey, to reflect that color. The blue background, like Brian’s flag, matches the blue of the USA national flag, but also represents the lakes.

Proposed New Hampshire State flag

What do you think of the flag? What changes could we make to make it more symbolic, or better fit within the rules? Or do you prefer Brian’s flag?

An SVG version of my flag is available – please contact me for a link.

Note: Buying items using the link(s) above will support Code and Copy in a small way that in no way influenced this post’s content.

About the author

Code and Copy is a career, travel and general information website written by Gavin Ayling.
Gavin is a copywriter, software coder, and board gamer living in beautiful New Hampshire. He has been blogging since 2002 and has been a celiac since the early 1980s.
Gavin has traveled to over 40 countries and has lived in three countries on different continents.

Comments

  1. Hi, Brian Cham here!
    Interesting to see what someone thinks of my design. How did you come across it?
    Quick correction – I first posted my flag in 2009, on a previous site. 2014 was just the date when I moved it onto my current site.
    I think you’ve got a good idea with the colours and symbolism. Your design is indeed much simpler than mine, as you note.
    My main critique is that the mountain is too generic, as there are many states with mountains. I would add something else to make it more distinct. This is why I chose the Old Man of the Mountain – it may be complex and destroyed, but it is unique to New Hampshire as it is one of a kind.

  2. I think I agree about your critiques. This will need to be my first attempt of many! Perhaps I need to add more mountains – perhaps three.
    How I found your post: While I was out for a walk recently, I saw the flag of the USA, the flag of New Hampshire, and the flag of a company all flying together. I noticed how poor the New Hampshire flag was, at being obviously New Hampshire, and Googled “alternative New Hampshire flag” in the hopes that someone had done something as an alternative.
    I have updated the post to mention 2009.

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