The current design
The current flag of Michigan is a typical American-style seal-on-blue-bedsheet design; as a result it is convoluted, unmemorable and uninspiring. It scored 3.46/10 in NAVA’s survey, making it the 14th worst rated flag in North America. In 2018, a state senator introduced a bill to replace it with a new design. Although nothing came of that, below is what I would have proposed:
First off, this design is both simple and effective. It is basic enough to be remembered by a child, yet distinctive and prominent enough to be distinguished, even at a distance, at a small size or in black and white.
The overall layout represents the geography of Michigan, with two peninsulas (the green sections) and their coastlines (the white sections) united by water (the blue section). Together, these form an arrow representing unity and progress. If hung vertically, the design resembles a shield, recalling the motto Tuebor (Latin for “I defend”).
The five white stars represent the main lakes of Michigan which form a vital part of the state’s identity, lifestyle and livelihood (Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Superior and Saint Clair). The lakes’ importance to Michigan is reflected in it’s official nickname, “The Great Lakes State”, its state quarter and even in the very name “Michigan”, which means “large water” or “large lake”. The stars are in the same form as those in the national flag, to suggest a connection.
The white represents the coast, peace and snow (one of Michigan’s nicknames was “Winter Water Wonderland”), the green represents the land and the blue represents the water. The colours are all present on the current flag, so any further symbolism they have can be carried over as well.