The design for the state seal of Utah was created by Harry Edwards and was adopted as the official seal during Utah's first state legislative session on 3 April 1896. The seal's design pays tribute to the the values and loyalties of Utah's early settlers through the use of symbolic design elements and text. It was not until 1953 that the design of the seal was codified along with rules about its use and custody. The Utah state flag incorporates a modified version of the state seal of Utah in its design. Some design elements of the seal, especially a beehive, are found on motor vehicle license plates, highway signs, and other official state government material.
Utah's circular state seal is encircled with two gold braids that contain the text, "THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF UTAH," and "1896," its year of entry as the 45th state into the United States. Within the shield at the center of the seal is a beehive with the motto "INDUSTRY" appearing over it and the year 1847 appearing beneath the hive. Both the use of the beehive as a symbol and the Industry motto predated the creation of the official state seal of Utah. They were adopted as the official emblem and motto of the provisional state of Deseret in 1847, the year in which the Mormon's first arrived in Utah.
Several other symbolic elements can be found on the state seal of Utah. An American bald eagle is depicted in flight above the shield containing the beehive. Beneath the eagle, a cluster of six gold arrows symbolizing protection and defense pierce the top of the shield. There are two U.S. flags that flank the sides of the shield symbolizing Utah's membership in the United States and the mutual defense and protection afforded by this association. Two clusters of white sego lilies, the state flower of Utah, represent the state's aspirations for peace.
In 1953, the Utah state legislature enacted the Great Seal Rule, which legally established the design, use, and custody of the state seal of Utah. Apart from design elements provided for in the Utah Code Annotated, 1953, the Great Seal Rule specifies that the state seal of Utah is to be 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) in diameter and that the lieutenant governor is to be its official custodian. It also establishes the required use of the seal on all official documents and instruments to be signed by the governor, and specifies that the lieutenant governor is the only authorized agent permitted to affix the seal to documents.