An image of one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes, its rolling prairies or some pine trees? Maybe the silhouette of a loon, a golden North Star or a nod to our long winters?
A new commission has three months to come up with a redesign for the state's official flag and seal, and it's calling for submissions to create emblems for the state that are both unifying and distinctly Minnesotan.
"Public input is vital to the work of the commission and will be sought out both now — at the start of our process — and later, as we narrow down the submissions to five which will receive final consideration," Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a member of the commission, said in a statement. "I look forward to seeing the creativity and passion of Minnesotans shine."
The 13-member State Emblems Redesign Commission plans to review potentially thousands of entries and select finalists that will be used as the basis for a new state flag and seal.
It's a redesign that's decades in the making, after Native American leaders and flag aficionados argued the current imagery is both problematic and unremarkable.
The state seal depicts a white man plowing a field in the foreground while a Native American man on horseback rides away into the sunset, which has been criticized for years as an inaccurate portrayal of the state's history.
Minnesota's flag is also one of about 20 state flags that feature the state seal against a blue backdrop, and the design incorporates 19 stars, six lady's slipper flowers, three dates and the state's motto, details that are difficult to decipher at a distance when the flag is flown.
The commission wants submissions for the new flag to follow key design principles, including the use of only a few distinctive colors and imagery that can be recognized from a distance and drawn from memory. The design must consider the state's history while also representing "Minnesota's enduring values and aspirations," according to the brief.
Groups have been pushing for a better designed flag for years and created a website as a landing spot for alternatives to the flag. Some of the designs play off the state's motto — L'etoile du nord, or "the star of the north" — and include an image of a single golden star. Many incorporate the colors blue, green and white to represent the state's lakes, streams, forests and wintry weather.
To be eligible to submit a design, participants must be 18 years or older, though the state will accept submissions from someone under 18 if entered by a parent or guardian. Commission members have barred themselves or their family members from submitting designs.
Participants can submit up to three designs each for the flag and state seal before midnight on Oct. 30. Entries can be submitted electronically on the State Emblems Redesign Commission's website, or mailed to the commission at 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102.
Participants are not compensated for entries, and submissions with obscene or profane wording or imagery will be disqualified, as well as any entries created by artificial intelligence. Five finalists each for the state flag and the seal will be chosen and narrowed down to one finalist for each, which will be used to create the new designs.
The commission has until Jan. 1 to submit the final designs, and the new flag will be flown starting on Statehood Day, May 11.