November 3, 2012 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Saturday flag links: Colorful EU flags (and more) and the old national food flags. A natural Canadian flag. Proposed Earth flag. A couple Inception flags. The flag of Oceania. Evolution of the US flag and wikipedia’s timeline of national flags. Dannebrog, the oldest state flag still in use (since 1219) and the flag of Christiania. One of the most famous photos of a flag, Soviet troops raising the flag of the Soviet Union atop the German Reichstag. The powerful flag of the NSDAP. A flag designer, the principles of flag design, and flags by design. 204 pixel art flags made for an Olympics video game.

From wikipedia:
Japanese municipal flags.
Some tricolors (both horizontal & vertical).
Pan-Arab colors.
Flag names.
Some interesting Monthly Flag Design Contests on the side bar here.
And the 3 big indexes:
List of flags, FLOW and this.
posted by growabrain (28 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Let us not forget Sheldon Cooper Presents: Fun With Flags.

"Why are you waving that white flag?"
"I surrender... to fun!"
posted by Madamina at 11:30 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I thought the "colourful EU" link would point to this charming proposal by Rem Koolhaas.
posted by WPW at 11:32 AM on November 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:32 AM on November 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

Alternate History Forum has a Flag Thread too.
posted by FJT at 11:34 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

The powerful flag of the NSDAP

I wasn't ready for that.
posted by chavenet at 11:38 AM on November 3, 2012

15 of the World's Strangest Flags (YMMV).
posted by mazola at 11:44 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:45 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh boy, if I'm not careful I'm going to loose a whole day over this post and the links from the links from the links... I think I have an unhealthy relationship with vexillology.

So can we talk about how Canada needs a new mercantile ensign because you can't signal distress by flying the Canadian flag upside down? (well you can, but you can't really see it from a distance)
posted by Dreadnought at 12:02 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Astronomy nitpick: the Earth flag has Pluto on it. Neil deGrasse Tyson will never stand for it.
posted by Philofacts at 12:04 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

The North American Vexillogical Association (NAVA) has done two surveys of their members; the first to identify the best and worst US State / Canadian Province flags, and the second to rank the flags of the major cities. (Unfortunately, their image links are down.) They also have produced a guide, Good Flag, Bad Flag, to help flag designers and anyone else who wants to grade them.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:14 PM on November 3, 2012

"Do you have a flag? No flag, no country. Those are the rules that I just made up."
posted by Suddenly, elf ass at 12:15 PM on November 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

That earth flag leaves something to be desired, I know we're not a nation but name one national flag that features its neighbours, and why show our satellite but not any of the others, there are two satellites larger than Mercury and four larger than the moon, and who besides us is going to notice the asteroid belt in the big picture of our solar system.
posted by furtive at 12:36 PM on November 3, 2012

Yeah. The Earth Flag isn't an awful idea, but seems to be more like our address than anything else.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:50 PM on November 3, 2012

The earth flag looks like an emoticon.

And not in a good way.

Unless we are cynically winking at the rest. Which I guess is sort of the case. ;-)
posted by chavenet at 1:15 PM on November 3, 2012

Proposed Earth flag.

Ffeh. The true Earth Flag will always be Old Freebie.
posted by FJT at 1:30 PM on November 3, 2012

Don’t allow a committee to design a flag. Instead, empower individuals to design flags, and use a committee to select among them.
posted by ovvl at 1:41 PM on November 3, 2012

Waving flag
posted by arcticseal at 2:00 PM on November 3, 2012

It makes the asteroid belt look like a big wall we built to keep the gas giants out.
posted by kiltedtaco at 2:15 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

mazola: "15 of the World's Strangest Flags (YMMV)"

Apart from looking like a linkbait site, the text for most of the 15 flags seems to have been cribbed from the link also posted by dephlogisticated.
posted by brokkr at 2:19 PM on November 3, 2012

Everyone needs to go see dephlogisticated's link, where you will learn which country has a flag that features "a woman crucifying a harp," or "a moustache sprouting from a flagpole."
posted by kiltedtaco at 2:54 PM on November 3, 2012

1) There used to be a screensaver that would fly random flag bitmaps in a folder on your hard drive. I learned many a flag that way.

2) The flag of Rockville, Maryland is very similar to the flag of Friesland.
posted by The Sprout Queen at 3:55 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've seen that link rating flags before and I've always been struck, in addition to the way that it's out of date, by how firmly I disagree with many of the author's picks. I think their methodology is all wrong. Well ok, I think some of their aesthetic judgments are wrong too (Greenland's flag is 'eyewatering'?), but mostly I don't like their stated criteria:

"Graven Images" - Really? Because flag designs are descended from European heraldic norms, and putting 'graven images' on flags is literally the oldest, most traditional thing to do. Plus, flags with pictures on them are sometimes among the very nicest; heraldic norms were about setting rules that made things both distinctive and nice looking, so following heraldic practice often makes for pleasing combinations. Also, putting sheep on your flag is awesome.

"Colonial Nonsense", "Plagiarism" - You know what I think 'colonial nonsense' or 'plagiarism' is? History. It's a flag that has depth and meaning and draws back into the past of the country and reflects past deeds, trials and glories. Flags should connect us to our past, for better or worse, and I feel that the desire to create new and sterile flags is a form of enforced historical amnesia. For example, the flags of South Africa and Australia both get high marks from me because each reflects a historical compromise. In the case of SA, it's a clever and harmonious blend of the old South African flag and the colours of the ANC. The Australian flag, far from being 'un-Australian' as people sometimes say, positively reeks of history, recalling both the Blue Ensign of the early colonial days and the Eureka Flag ("this flag of blue and silver stars") of Australian aspirations for independence. It combines Crown and People and the celestial aspirations of the optimistic state, which is what a flag should do. Granted it would be better if it were changed to include the Aboriginal peoples, but still... also it readily lends itself to mercantile and naval ensigns.

"Hideous Colours" - If Aruba's flag is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

"Too busy" - We often hear that flags must be 'simple'. I think that this is a fundamental misunderstanding. Flags don't have to be 'simple'; they have to work as flags. That means they have to be distinctive at a distance, colourful in parades, and dignified enough to drape on a coffin. 'Simple' sometimes works against these ideas: it's very easy to mix up the flags of Ireland and Italy, for example, when looking for the right embassy in an unfamiliar city. This is also one of the several reasons that the current flag of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador is, in my view, preferable to the alternate tricolour flag, even though that flag has a cool backstory. The Union Flag, on the other hand, gets flack for being 'too busy'. But it's actually a pretty fantastic design because it's easy to recognise even when it's scrunched up, flapping around wildly or a long way off in the distance. Unfortuantely, it doesn't work well as a flag for use at sea, but that's where the tradition of coloured ensigns comes from in the first place.

So yeah, I disagree. And my subjective judgments are obviously much more True and Worthy their subjective judgments. So there.
posted by Dreadnought at 4:51 PM on November 3, 2012 [7 favorites]

My favorite has always been Rem Koolhaas' proposed European flag.
posted by bruceo at 4:58 PM on November 3, 2012

So can we talk about how Canada needs a new mercantile ensign because you can't signal distress by flying the Canadian flag upside down?

No, that's silly, the thing to do on seeing a ship with its ensign upside down is to say 'haha, some muppet's put the flag up the wrong way, look!'. If you're in distress and want to tell people about this with flags, the official way is to use the hoist November Charlie (pictured on the left), or the strange flag also in that link, which is more just a big thing for signalling to aircraft than an actual flag. Or you can fly a square flag having above or below it a ball or anything resembling a ball. Here, have some more stuff about signal flags.
posted by Lebannen at 5:10 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, there are many 'official' ways to signal distress. This is for a good reason: when you're in distress you might not have ready access to any one of the others. But flying the ensign upside down is one of the most popular because it uses something that you almost always already have: the ensign. Here's an example using an ensign which (intentionally) lacks vertical symmetry. With a commonly-seen flag, the effect is instantly recognisible (see, for example, this poster from the movie The Last Castle, an image that was stark enough that it was withdrawn after the 9/11 attacks) and it's particularly useful when a ship or boat is difficult to pick out in a crowded area of sea (such as a fishing boat in the midst of a flotilla).
posted by Dreadnought at 6:01 PM on November 3, 2012

Is that pixel art image in alphabetical order by some language that's not English, or is it just almost right, but actually wrong?
posted by aubilenon at 7:10 PM on November 3, 2012

Europe drinks Pepsi
posted by quoquo at 6:30 AM on November 4, 2012

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