Copyright vs a Series of Images

I’ve designed a couple series of images relating to symbols of the fifty U.S. states. First, I have a series of about forty new state flag proposals. Second, I have a series of tartans representing each of the states.

My understanding is that works of arts - both text and graphic - are automatically protected under copyright law. Yet book publishers file for some sort of official or enhanced copyright status. I believe it gives them a little extra legal clout if someone tries to steal their stuff.

Can/should I similarly file for an official copyright regarding a series of images?

Thanks.

Short answer is yes.
See Circular 1 and 2 here:
https://www.copyright.gov/circs/

Highly suggest you do a batch submission to save money.

Long answer involves upon what your proposal illustrations are based. You can only copyright the new work you did on pre-existing work, not the entire work itself. At some point that may not be cost effective. State flags are public domain already. Tartans are specific unto themselves and proprietary in some instances. Finding a new pattern not similar to an existing may fall under the realm of impossible, making them derivative.
< Not a lawyer.

Thanks.

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