LANSING (WWJ) – Does Michigan have the ugliest state flag? One business magnate thinks so, and he’s offering up his own money to make a change.

In a series of Tweets, Rick DeVos, founder of the renowned ArtPrize competition, reiterated his disdain for the current state flag and offered a solution that could make three people $500 richer.

I’ve complained several times about how ugly and non-useful the current Michigan state flag is. It’s a big missed opportunity. Michigan has amazing design talent, and a state flag is (or at least can be) a powerful community design asset. Think of it as a public park. Unfortunately our current flag doesn’t function as such. For a positive example look at what CA, CO & others are able to do w/ their flags. So rather than just complain, it would be fun to do something about it, get some forward motion, and not overthink some big process. Here’s the idea: design a new flag for Michigan. Reply to this tweet and share widely. The top 3 designs will each receive $500. Selections will ultimately be at my discretion but will certainly be informed by general group feedback. The idea is that one of these could perhaps become a community design asset, I’m not interested in owning anything, so share widely.

DeVos gave five rules: Keep it simple, use meaningful symbolism, use 2-3 basic colors, no lettering or seals, and be distinctive or be related.

“These are, of course, not hard and fast rules…but it’s a great foundation to start from,” he said. “Another fun heuristic for a good flag design (incorporated in “Keep it simple”): A child should be able to remember and draw it.”

His tweets were initially met with some serious submissions, but then things took a strange turn when Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon tweeted his submission: An Amway logo.

DeVos, the co-founder of Amway, wasn’t very impressed. He likened Dillon to a “turd” and then called him a “weirdo.”

It’s not clear if the government would even consider a redesign of the flag, but that doesn’t appear to be stopping DeVos from encouraging submissions. To submit your redesign, upload your flag on Twitter with the hashtag #MIFlag.

The current flag, which was adopted in 1911, is the third state flag. It features a coat of arms with a light blue shield supported by an elk and moose. The shield says “Tuebor,” which means “I will defend,” and depicts a sunrise over a lake and peninsula with a man holding a long gun and a raised hand. A bald eagle rests above the shield under a red banner that reads  “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “Out of many, one” — a motto of the United States. The white ribbon on the bottom of the flag says “Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice,” which means “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you” — the official state motto.

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