New Flag For Top Forum?

Our new Fijian flag could star at an international forum in Sydney in September before it is hoisted on October 10. Fiji will be invited to send a representative to
25 May 2015 10:45
New Flag For Top Forum?

Our new Fijian flag could star at an international forum in Sydney in September before it is hoisted on October 10.

Fiji will be invited to send a representative to speak about it at the International Congress of Vexillologists (flag experts).

International flag expert Ted Kaye said in Suva yesterday: “ We hope a representative from Fiji will be there to talk about the new flag.”

The Sydney congress will be of interest to Australia, New Zealand and Tuvalu whose flags still carry the Union Jack, a relic from their British colonial past. There are no indications they will follow Fiji.

Mr Kaye is the technical adviser to the national flag committee and has offered his services free “as a gift to Fiji.”

Before he left Fiji yesterday to return home to Portland, Oregon, United States, after spending a week with the national flag committee, he disclosed his advice to the committee.

He gave five suggestions after examining the collective wisdom of 20 experts, who have written about flag designs.

– Keep it simple. The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory

– Use meaningful symbolism. The flag’s images, colours, or patterns should relate to what it symbolises.

– Use two to three basic colours. Limit the number of colours on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from standard colour set.

– No lettering or seals. Never use writing of any kind or an organisation’s seal.

– Be distinctive or be related. Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections.

Mr Kaye said in some ways, the current Fijian flag was not distinctive from common British ancient pattern.

“The only true distinctiveness of the flag is the Fiji Blue,” he said.

“ That makes it different from all other British ancient flags.”

The shield in the coat of arms was “very difficult to see at a distance, it’s an unnecessary complication.”

“The coat of arms belongs on pieces of paper. They are made to be seen closeup not be seen flying on a piece of fabric in the breeze,” he said.

He said when he met the committee, members knew the principles of good flag design, and he just helped confirm them.

He said they went through the process of hearing these principles and identified the best national flags. They are stunning and distinctive.

The committee identified the national flags of Japan, Canada, Greece and Germany as best examples of the five principles.

The committee, he said, unanimously voted for the Fiji Blue to be retained.

He said symbols came in different forms, colours or images, or divided horizontal lines, representing the sea or horizon.

“Many of the symbols we are describing belong to coat of arms. They include canoe, coconut, dove, turtle. From a distance they are difficult to see.

“They are used for different purposes. Coat of arms are there to mark the Government signs or documents. They are not appropriate for something fluttering in the distance because you can’t see it.”

He said the flag represented a country.

“Flags must be seen from a distance and from their opposite side. Under these circumstances, only simple designs make effective flags,” he said.

He said he had observed flag changes in Canada and South Africa. He said people were accustomed to the old flags. After the change the people began to love the new flags.

“That is my hope for Fiji,” he said.

Mr Kaye said he was invited by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the invitation came from the Attorney-General’s office two weeks ago. Mr Kaye, 60, is a retired chief financial officer of technology and is married with two children. Flags are “a scholarly interest of mine”.

“I started collecting flags when I lived in South America and travelled in the South Pacific to Tahiti,” he said.

He has a collection of 360 flags.

He has been involved in state flags but this would be the first time he would be doing work for a national flag. He praised the committee and the support staff for their hard work in a very short time. He said the committee handled the political challenges. His job was to offer technical advice.

The final design should represent the theme: Fiji forward, Fiji as one people, he said.

It also represented the view of the committee.

“Fiji has the opportunity to adopt a flag that is simple and has the wow factor.”

Forty-seven of the more than 2000 entries for the national flag competition have been shortlisted by the committee. The flag should be finalised by July and it takes at least two months to ensure that the right fabric is chosen, and that all Fijian missions and other international bodies like the Commonwealth have the flag before it is officially hoisted during Independence Day celebrations on October 10.



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