The New Magnolia flag designers share background on concept

Updated: Aug. 28, 2020 at 7:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - We’ve been following the updates in the process of selecting a new state flag design. This week, the commission narrowed it to two designs.

The New Magnolia flag draws from different sources. Ackerman, Mississippi native and resident Rocky Vaughan is a graphic designer who first started dreaming up a new flag design seven years ago.

“It’s odd taking credit when there’s other inputs in it, but I will claim the core ingredients,” said Vaughan. “I will do that.”

His submissions switched the vertical lines he’d been using to horizontal after hearing from the flag expert. Still...

“They’ve kept the core and I’m pleased to have my name in it,” added Vaughan. “So, let’s hope a Mississippian can take it home.”

As for the symbolism, this is what he said:

“I didn’t want to overthink this thing. I didn’t want to overthink it all. I didn’t want to do homework. I didn’t want to spend nights in the library. I didn’t want to do anything. I don’t need help or research to symbolize the Magnolia State. It’s already there, right?”

Another designer, Sue Anna Joe, is on the list. She’s a Greenwood native who’s now living in San Francisco.

“I felt like it was my civic duty to contribute because I still love my home state and the people there,” said Joe. “And I wanted to give back something to the place where I grew up.”

She, too, knew the symbol she felt represented “home.”

“There is the magnolia bloom that’s in the middle,” Joe added. “That is my original artwork that I drew on the computer. In my original design, it’s also in the center of the flag but there are some different elements around it.”

Oxford resident Kara Giles is the other designer. She’s one of the artists brought in by the Commission and worked on several designs.

“I worked on a lot of different designs, both tweaks to submitted flags and original designs and was always drawn to Sue Anna Joe’s Magnolia,” said Giles. “I think it is a really solid design that is instantly recognizable as a magnolia but is also fresh, modern, and sleek.”

She continued, saying, “I made adjustments to it in the stamen but otherwise kept her magnolia solely in tact. I think the magnolia juxtaposed with the strong font and circle of stars, anchored by the First Peoples’ star makes for a really handsome design. Both of the choices for the flag are strong designs and I really believe the Commission has two great options.”

Giles adds that she’s proud and humbled to be part of this process.

The public poll is up on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History site now. The commission will select the design to appear on November’s ballot next Wednesday, September 2.

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