Like the dive-bombing bald eagle in its (sort of) center, the official seal of St. Francois County seems out of place in so many ways — and for days, thousands of internet strangers have delighted in cataloging them.
And can you blame them? There's the jumble of images hilariously oriented to fit (mostly) within the blue border; above it, the formatting for the text of "The Great Seal of St. Francois County" appears to be trying to liftoff and escape from the rest of the seal; and just looking at the thing for more than a few seconds produces a kind of seasick nausea, because this seal is an *experience* and that experience is chaos.
And lest one presume this is just some .jpg floating around on the county website, please be advised: It's real and it's spectacular.
However, while the above tweet describes the seal as brand new, that is not the case: As reported in the Park Hills Daily Journal,
the seal was unveiled during a 2018 State of the County address delivered by its creator, Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher, who took credit for the design during his speech: "With some simple software I brought up this new one, and we've adopted that now as our county seal."
Three years later, St. Francois County could be getting a new seal. Gallaher, who is still Commissioner and in his 70s, addressed a St. Francois County Commission in a regular meeting this week. He acknowledged a "fever pitch on social media about the county seal"
and announced that the county is looking at ways to redesign his self-admittedly slapdash work.
"It was a rush deal way back when," he said, according to the Journal's
account of Tuesday's meeting. "I had two days for the public to come up with a seal and my design is proof positive that I am not artistically inclined."
But while his graphic design skills may have lacked technical polish, the result captivated internet users who could only look at the seal, squint, and wonder — how is this real?
On Reddit, the seal hit the site's front page over the weekend. Days later, user wtf703 was kind enough to completely redesign the seal so the eagle isn't tipping into an abyss; the redesign made the Bible/cross combo even more pronounced
, because this designer is a complete pro who understands what their customer wants.
It wasn't just Reddit getting in on the fun: On Twitter, many users responded with references to the "Graphic Design Is My Passion"
But no web community leaped more exuberantly into redesigning the seal than the good weirdos at Fark
, where users created an array of updated seals — several involving novel interpretations of the word "seal" — that both capture the spirit of the original while also being, somehow, even worse.
They're all amazing and terrible
. This is our favorite:
But if St. Francois citizens are hoping for the official redesign to turn out any better, they may have to put their hopes into yet another amateur: During Tuesday's commission meeting, the Journal
reported that Gallaher stated he didn't want any tax money spent on the redesign — and instead, a contest will be organized in the coming weeks.
“I would like it to be better than the seal we have now," he said, "which would be a slam dunk."
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at [email protected]
- Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.