Coloradans have always loved our state's flag. And in recent years, the image has become more iconic than ever, popping up on hipster T-shirts and products of every description as a shorthand way of declaring state pride.
So we were shocked -- shocked! -- to discover that on Ranker's list of the best state flags, Colorado winds up a middling twelfth. Worse, many of the flags that finish higher on the poll/pole are terrible in comparison. Count down our reasons why below.
Number 12: Colorado
One look indicates why this flag is so beloved. The big "C" that boldly claims an entire letter of the alphabet for Colorado and shines like the sun at its center. The classically American color scheme. A design that's as simple as it is striking. What's not to love? Number 11: Hawaii
As for the question of what's there to love about the Hawaiian flag, the answer is, "Not much." The British symbol in the upper left-hand corner, where U.S. citizens are accustomed to seeing stars, seems downright treasonous, and the two blue stripes tossed into that stacks of red and white appears random, as if someone facing a deadline to differentiate the lion's share of the banner from the American flag slapped them on at the last minute. Continue to see more of the eleven state flags that are supposed to be better than Colorado's. Number 10: Tennessee
The Tennessee flag has one interesting idea -- the unique blue stripe along the right border. But the round image at its center looks like a caricature of a Power Puff Girl who's just been punched in the face. Number 9: Wyoming
Really? This flag is better than Colorado's? The red frame around the border is lame, the buffalo silhouette looks as if it was cut out using children's scissors, and the state symbol slapped on the creature's back looks ridiculously out of place. We'd prefer it to be replaced with a sketch of Dick Cheney accidentally shooting someone. Continue to see more of the eleven state flags that are supposed to be better than Colorado's. Number 8: Ohio
An origami experiment gone wrong, Ohio's offering is more pennant than flag -- the kind of thing eleven-year-old boys have on their walls until they get up the nerve to replace it with posters of swimsuit models. Number 7: Alaska
Okay, we give Alaska's flags some points for creativity. But just so you know, we can see the Big Dipper and the North Star in Colorado, too. And so can people in the rest of the United States. Continue to see more of the eleven state flags that are supposed to be better than Colorado's. Number 6: Texas
And now, a break from the bitching. Texas' state flag truly is one of the best in the nation -- a graphic encapsulation of the lone-star ethos that's as clean as it is eye-catching. We may like the Colorado flag better, but this one definitely deserves respect. Number 5: California
The bear on California's flag is likable in a goofy sort of way. But the prominent placement of the words "California Republic" seems less hysterical than histrionic -- a way of California loudly implying that it deserves to be its own country, as opposed to a part of another one. Not cool, dudes. Continue to see more of the eleven state flags that are supposed to be better than Colorado's. Number 4: New Mexico
A really good flag, in our estimation -- one that looks nothing like any of the others and instantly conveys important characteristics that set New Mexico apart. Still not as good as Colorado's, but definitely in the upper echelon. Number 3: South Carolina
Not so South Carolina's flag, which is both boring from a color-scheme perspective and incompetently drafted. The leaves of the tree look like birds of prey swarming over a piece of carrion and/or hands with varying numbers of fingers reaching out to snatch the moon from the sky. Eeesh. Continue to see more of the eleven state flags that are supposed to be better than Colorado's. Number 2: Arizona
Another good flag, in our estimation. It's downgraded slightly for ripping off the one-star Texas concept, but it earns some of that grade back via the beams that spray out from the stars' tips, like movie-theater graphics from the fifties. Still, Colorado's got it beat. Number 1: Maryland
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This can't be number one, can it? The two opposing patterns here clash instead of cohere; it's a flat-out mess from a visual standpoint. We demand a recount.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.