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Flag Flags and Furl On
July 25, 2014 10:38 AM   Subscribe

The North American Vexillogical Association [previously] guides you through the 5 Basic Principles of Flag Design, citing examples of good and bad flags. Badflags, however, focused on the latter -- "the most vexing examples in vexillology."
posted by not_on_display (90 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fun with Flags:
posted by Fizz at 10:41 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I disagree, a bear holding a halberd is an AWESOME flag design and I hereby want a vote on which murderous weapon-wielding animal should grace the great seal of New York State.
posted by The Whelk at 10:42 AM on July 25 [24 favorites]


Yeah, I was gonna say that some of those "bad flags" are actually kind of cool.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


...which murderous weapon-wielding animal should grace the great seal of New York State.

Pigeon with a harpoon gun.
posted by Iridic at 10:46 AM on July 25 [7 favorites]


Côtes d’Armor (France)
Rather than the logo style frequently used by French departments and regions, Côtes d’Armor uses a stylized seagull in the shape of its coastline
While I agree that this is a simply terrific graphical design, I'm baffled that they describe this as unlike a logo style. Looks like the wrapper for a new soda from Coca Cola, Inc.

"Enjoy Free-Be, for the exciting new taste that liberates your tongue!"
posted by IAmBroom at 10:47 AM on July 25


5. Be Distinctive or Be Related

Ohio's flag is the only non-rectangular flag I'm aware of (triangular). Hard to mistake it at any distance!
posted by IAmBroom at 10:48 AM on July 25


Is this FPP because Minecraft now will incorporate banners? Interesting anyhow.

Also, epi-something.
posted by Harald74 at 10:48 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


This is great inspiration for my Metafilter flag project which I keep threatening to start so we can all find each other at meetups.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 10:49 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]




The state flag of California is pretty much the best flag ever and it breaks several of the rules.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:52 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I hate writing on flags. That is a the most important rule to me.

I wish the U.S. flag went back to the 13 stars in a circle. The current 50 stars is way too busy. Other than that it's a pretty legit flag. Nothing tops the UK, though.
posted by spaltavian at 10:53 AM on July 25


Someone needs to tell the "bad flags" people about the City of Portland (OR) flag.


The state flag of California is pretty much the best flag ever and it breaks several of the rules.

Sometimes state flags have aspirations of being limited edition vinyl release indie rock album covers.
posted by dersins at 10:58 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


I'm partial to a bit of discreet fimbriation, myself.
posted by Segundus at 11:01 AM on July 25


I always thought Nepal, thinking outside the box, wins with the only non-quadrilateral flag in the UN.

Libra was also a favorite until 2011, with their ultra-minimalist solid green flag, covertly recruiting millions of drunk students into their ranks every March 17.
posted by justkevin at 11:07 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Ohio's flag is the only non-rectangular flag I'm aware of (triangular). Hard to mistake it at any distance!
posted by IAmBroom at 1:48 PM on July 25 [+] [!]


Hey, don't forget Nepal!
posted by McCoy Pauley at 11:07 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Portland's flag has nothing on Philadelphia.
posted by Eddie Mars at 11:08 AM on July 25


Damn you, justkevin! DAAAAAAAAAMN YOUUUUUUUUU!

Which is to say, "good job not forgetting Nepal".
posted by McCoy Pauley at 11:09 AM on July 25


OK, they are right about this one.

Holy wow. I didn't think anything could top the awfulness of the Pocatello flag, but at least the Pocatello flag appears to have been designed with adult supervision.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:11 AM on July 25


You know, for a city with a reputation for incompetence and excess New Orleans has a surprisingly tasteful flag. Thanks, France!
posted by komara at 11:12 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


(we don't talk about the flag of Louisiana though)
posted by komara at 11:14 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


The Whelk: I hereby want a vote on which murderous weapon-wielding animal should grace the great seal of New York State.

Rat King with a tazer.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:16 AM on July 25 [9 favorites]


I've been asking this for years now, but does anyone remember an article by PJ O'Rourke or EL Menken or someone who declared that the Maryland Flag is the best state flag? I totally remember reading it somewhere in 2003-2005, but haven't been able to re-find it.

The Maryland flag really IS the best one.
posted by frecklefaerie at 11:18 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I would find it difficult to compete for worst flag against the flag of Provo, UT.
posted by maximum sensing at 11:19 AM on July 25 [16 favorites]


Maryland is one of the few that looks like something a knight would have on a shield, and is the best of those by virtue of being quartered.

Connecticut is the best out of the "Just slap the state seal on it" division, by virtue of having a fairly decent state seal. Just a little more effort and they could have gone pro.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:23 AM on July 25


Maryland is a modernist take on an obscure order of knights from the crusades being run over by a fleet of taxis.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:26 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


OMG Provo.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:26 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


I hereby want a vote on which murderous weapon-wielding animal should grace the great seal of New York State

The state animal of New York is the mighty beaver, so the only question is what it should be armed with.

Old school: beaver with a halberd, or beaver in plate mail with greatsword.

Appropriate to the animal: beaver with fuck-you big chainsaw.

Wot I think: cyborg megabeaver with metal death claws and necklace of human skulls and laser eyeball, holding an AK. And screaming.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:27 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Provo's flag looks like something you'd find when snooping in someone's medicine cabinet.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:29 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


Maryland's flag looks like a test pattern that was designed to confuse AI vision algorithms (or adjust your TV set).

Actually, come to think of it, the SMPTE Test Pattern is a better flag than many actual flags....
posted by schmod at 11:30 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Best flag? Chicago.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 11:31 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


I would find it difficult to compete for worst flag against the flag of Provo, UT.

Pocatello, Idaho gets the last ranking from this 2004 survey.

It literally has a Trademark symbol and copyright notice. As if anyone would want to steal that.
posted by subversiveasset at 11:31 AM on July 25


The state flag of California is pretty much the best flag ever and it breaks several of the rules.

The flag of Wales, which has no text, fewer colors, stronger colors, and a simpler design. Plus dragons beat bears every time.
posted by aubilenon at 11:33 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


my Metafilter flag project which I keep threatening to start

Obviously this should be blue on the left, white on the right (to symbolize the ancient tension between the Blue and the Professional White), divided (or is it brought together?) by a thin diagonal greenish yellowish stripe (representing the mods).
posted by echo target at 11:36 AM on July 25


the welsh dragon looks like it's cattily dismissing something
posted by The Whelk at 11:39 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


I learned from the Provo mayor's blog (in addition to the post about the ongoing sock sale at Dillard's) that they are seriously looking at new designs and have even hired a vexillologist to manage the process. Some of the proposals are pretty good.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:40 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


the welsh dragon looks like it's cattily dismissing something

It has had quite enough of your crap, for sure.
posted by aubilenon at 11:41 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


The state flag of California is pretty much the best flag ever and it breaks several of the rules.

Yes agreed but I kind of feel like our bear needs a polearm, now.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:42 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Metafilter's flag would be a blue/green/gray tricolor, surely.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:43 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I think the flag of Buffalo, NY is totally rad (ship! stars! lightning bolts!) until you realize the lightning bolts are supposed to represent the energy generated by Niagara Falls and that is a different city so Buffalo is totally cheating.
posted by none of these will bring disaster at 11:44 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Not just a blue field with a gold [!] ?
posted by aubilenon at 11:44 AM on July 25 [9 favorites]


Some of the proposals are pretty good.

There are others, too.
posted by echo target at 11:47 AM on July 25


Looked through that Mayoral blog, and concluded that if the Internet were to decide, this would be the new flag of Provo.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:48 AM on July 25


There are others, too.

The first one is from Deftone's unreleased July 4th concept album.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:48 AM on July 25


Provo is well known as the gay-friendliest city on earth, along with being the home of several software companies that were big in the early eighties. Hence the flag.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:53 AM on July 25


The flag of Zheleznogorsk is the best flag of all time. OF ALL TIME.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:53 AM on July 25 [15 favorites]


Well, then Provo has no excuse...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:54 AM on July 25


I know it's not a flag, but the coat of arms of Nunavut is stupendous
posted by oulipian at 11:55 AM on July 25 [11 favorites]


I painted the provincial flag of Newfoundland on my shed in said province. This flag follows all the rules. Simple. No graphics. Reminiscent of the Union Jack but at the same time unique. It looked kickass the first year (IMHO) but the paint peeled pretty bad once the snow came. Moral of the story is use primer.
posted by Brodiggitty at 11:56 AM on July 25 [6 favorites]


the coat of arms of Nunavut is stupendous

Oh my goodness: yes it is.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:00 PM on July 25


Canadian heraldry really is very unique, but it deserves its own thread. There was one in 2005 but none of the links work anymore.
posted by Small Dollar at 12:01 PM on July 25


Okay, Russia is just full of awesome flags.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:02 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


the coat of arms of Nunavut is stupendous

Is that bacon in the pan? Because if you swap out the moose for a lambeosaurus, that could be the reddit seal.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:02 PM on July 25


It's not a pan, it's a qulliq, and it's not a moose, it's a caribou. History of the Nunavut coat of arms.
posted by oulipian at 12:04 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Maryland is one of the few that looks like something a knight would have on a shield

That's because that's pretty much exactly what it is. Maryland is the only US state flag based on English heraldry. The yellow and black part was the coat of arms of the Calvert family. It was granted to George Calvert as a reward for his storming a fortification during a battle; it represents a palisade. The red and white is the coat of arms of the the family of Calvert's mother. Since the mother was an heiress, he was entitled to use both coats of arms in his banner.
posted by spaltavian at 12:08 PM on July 25


>at least the Pocatello flag appears to have been designed with adult supervision.

The sensationally awful flag of Guam has long struck me as the winner of a well-meaning design contest open only to fourth-graders.
posted by naturetron at 12:11 PM on July 25


"Milwaukee, for all its charm and Laverne and Shirley lore, is full of citizens who are horrible flag designers. Maybe the worst in the nation." [larger Milwaukee flag image]
posted by desjardins at 12:13 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Huh. The Nunavut flag isn't half bad either.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:18 PM on July 25


There is a mefi flag in Chicago. I'm not sure who designed it, but here's a pic of it with Eamondaly and someone whose name I've forgotten.
posted by desjardins at 12:24 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Ehhh...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:29 PM on July 25


I really like this one from Herimoncourt, France, although the bat certainly needs more weapons.
posted by inertia at 12:31 PM on July 25


If MetaFilter does get a flag, coat of arms, etc., I'd really like the motto to be

Quidem Felis Perlustrori


/As best as my amateur Latin can express it.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:34 PM on July 25


Dude, Rule Four.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:36 PM on July 25




My city's flag breaks most of the rules and is kind of ugly, but it has a MERMAID!
posted by inertia at 12:53 PM on July 25


There is nothing wrong with pinkish-purple or having Katamari-type heads on your flag. I am down with Loulé, Portugal.
posted by jessamyn at 1:16 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Brodiggitty: "I painted the provincial flag of Newfoundland on my shed in said province. "

Not the Tricolour?
posted by Chrysostom at 1:17 PM on July 25


I feel like this discussion needs a reminder that my native Norway has the mother of flags.
posted by Harald74 at 1:23 PM on July 25 [11 favorites]


The Ulan Bator flag is perhaps the most badass I have ever seen.
posted by Hactar at 1:30 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I am disappointed none of those links include Rochester, Minnesota's flag.
posted by ckape at 1:34 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


John Matheson, the man who designed the flag of Canada died late last year. He had a long, distinguished life.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 1:41 PM on July 25


Oklahoma's flag also breaks at least three of the five rules (unsure about where it lands on "distinctive or related") but it turns out to be surprisingly still godawful. What is, I guess, a Native American shield with a design of weird crosses on it (already too complicated) crossed with what is, I guess, a rifle (edit: apparently it's a calumet) and an olive branch in a mess of design that looks from any distance like a hairball the cat coughed up, with the helpful lettering of "OKLAHOMA" beneath it in horrendously dated typeface, all on a field that can only be described as "Olan Mills Backdrop Blue."
posted by Navelgazer at 1:43 PM on July 25


(I should add that the Oklahoma Flag almost makes up for it in meaningful symbolism, however.)
posted by Navelgazer at 1:45 PM on July 25


Pittsburgh's flag is a little busy, but it is the basis for all of the city's pro sports teams using black and gold, which I think is neat.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:47 PM on July 25


Provo: The More You Know
posted by not_on_display at 2:23 PM on July 25 [4 favorites]


I am disappointed none of those links include Rochester, Minnesota's flag.

I've always been fond of White Bear Lake and their very serene polar bear.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:31 PM on July 25


Someone up thread said bad things about Portland's flag. I just want to go on record saying that this person has no taste. Portland has a badass flag.

Also, flag I like.
Flag I hate.
posted by enjoymoreradio at 3:32 PM on July 25


Burns me that the f'in Nazis had a really, really, really good flag.
posted by dhartung at 4:04 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Phoenix's flag looks downright Japanese.
posted by gc at 4:11 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]




I know it's not a flag, but the coat of arms of Nunavut is stupendous

Even so, the Nunavut flag has a certain boldness which I like. That said, the addition of the first new provincial/territorial flag in half a century caused difficulties for some.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:41 PM on July 25


The Russian flags are fantastic, Metroid Baby.

So many anthropomorphised bears, so many objects to hold!

When the flag bear fight comes, my money's on fission bear
posted by eotvos at 7:16 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Meta department in Colombia uses an appropriately green Ask-y colour.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:00 PM on July 25


Every time we drive through Bedford, MA, we ponder again the mysteries of their proudly displayed flag, the oldest in the US.
posted by chortly at 9:16 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


It means "We're slicin' up the roast beef", no?
posted by benito.strauss at 9:52 PM on July 25


"What does Switzerland have going for it, anyway?"
"Well, the flag is a big plus."

(Take note, anyone designing a MetaFilter flag.)
posted by mbrubeck at 10:12 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I like this flag: The official flag of the Republic of Absolutia Zoneria.

Dude. Ick.
posted by dersins at 8:01 AM on July 26 [3 favorites]


The Minneapolis flag should always be raised with this tune playing.
posted by gimonca at 9:34 AM on July 26


The Minneapolis flag should always be raised with this tune yt playing.

Aw, I was sure you were going to say this.
posted by hap_hazard at 11:57 AM on July 26


And I thought it was going to be this.

Minneapolis: Better Songs Than Flags!
posted by benito.strauss at 12:09 PM on July 26


I, for one, would proudly salute the ice cream flag.

Possible designs for a 51-star U.S. flag. I like The Circle.
posted by bryon at 9:59 PM on July 26


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