Minnesota's next flag will feature an abstract shape of the state with an eight-pointed white North Star on its hoist.

A commission tasked with redesigning the emblems that represent the state settled on a final design concept Friday, eliminating two other flags in consideration. The group plans to hold another meeting next week to consider variations on colors and shapes in their final design as they try to meet a Jan. 1 deadline to come up with a new flag.

Members of the commission celebrated landing on a single concept, while acknowledging that some Minnesotans might not immediately identify with their choice.

"The next generation will be raised with a new flag. It's going to happen," said commission chair Luis Fitch. "We're not going to be able to make everybody happy. The whole idea since day one was to make sure we can [create] a flag that unites us instead of separates us."

The 13-member State Emblems Redesign Commission, created by the Legislature last session, had just four months and a budget of $35,000 to complete their work. It sought help from the public, which responded with 2,600 alternative flag and seal designs for members to consider. The commission narrowed that list down to six flags, and then three.

On Friday, members mulled over mockups of the three finalists and debated the finer points of star shape, colors and how to strip the design down to its simplest form. All of the designs incorporated hues of blue and white and imagery of the North Star.

They settled on an eight-pointed North Star that mirrors a version that can be seen on the floor of the Minnesota Capitol rotunda. Members gravitated toward the design with Minnesota's distinctive shape because it's recognizable, while also following principles of simple flag design.

Representatives of the North American Vexillological Association consulted with pro bono designers on several variations on the final concept, including one that eliminates green, white and blue stripes from the flag and replaces it with a solid light blue color. That simple design would put Minnesota among the top-ranked flags in the nation among vexillologists, Fitch said.

"When you get dressed for an event and get dressed up looking nice, look at yourself in the mirror after you're done and ready to walk out the door and then remove one accessory," designer Tyler Michaletz said. "Good flag design is: get your design basically there and then dial it back one step."

Some members pushed back on eliminating the color green from the flag, noting it represents agriculture and the state's forests. Fitch also suggested making the shape of the state asymmetrical to look more like Minnesota's actual borders. Commission members will see mockups of that idea at their next meeting.

A design with two swooshes that represented Minnesota's waters reflecting the sky and clouds was the runner-up. Some members thought it was more distinctive than the other designs and would make Minnesota's flag stand out. Not everyone was excited about the final concept they chose.

"It's fine, I'm not overly impressed," said commission member Kate Beane, who supported the mirroring design. "I think it's an exciting time to think about doing something different."

Groups have been pushing for decades for a redesign of both the flag and the state seal, which have been criticized as offensive to tribal communities. The old seal, which sits at the center of the original flag, features a white settler plowing a field in the foreground while a Native American man on horseback rides away into the sunset. They adopted a final state seal featuring a red-eyed loon and new Dakota wording earlier this week.

The commission also discussed releasing the rights for the thousands of rejected flag designs and hundreds of seals back to the creators. Under the rules, they became the property of the state when they were submitted, but some designers have expressed interest in using their concepts in other ways. Some are already selling t-shirts and flag versions of their design.

Unless the Legislature vetoes the design, the new flag will start flying atop Minnesota buildings on Statehood Day in the spring.