NEWS

FOCUS: Good And Bad In Flag Design

There are good and bad flags. Hopefully, our new Fijian flag will not only be good but simple enough for people to embrace and love. Ted Kaye, technical adviser to
26 May 2015 10:00
FOCUS: Good And Bad In Flag Design

There are good and bad flags.

Hopefully, our new Fijian flag will not only be good but simple enough for people to embrace and love.

Ted Kaye, technical adviser to the National Flag Committee, has thoroughly briefed the committee on the features of a bad and good flag.

The committee will decide the final design after receiving more than 2000 entries in the national flag competition. Our new flag could follow the design concept of Canada, Japan, Greece and Germany. These national flags impressed the committee because they follow the principles outlined by Mr Kaye.

 

SIMPLICITY

Mr Kaye said:

“Flags flap. They drape. They must be seen from a distance and from their opposite side. Under these circumstances, only simple designs make effective flags.

“Furthermore complicated flags cost more to make. Which often can limit how widely they are used. Most poor designs have the elements of a great flag in them – simplify them by focusing on a single symbol, a few colours, large shapes, and no lettering. Avoid the temptation to include a symbol for everybody.

“Ideally the design will be reversible or at least recognisable from either side. Don’t put a different design on the back.”

 

SYMBOLISM

“Symbolism can be in the form of the “charge” or main graphic element, in the colours used, or sometimes even in the shapes or layout of the parts of the flag,” Mr Haye said.

“Usually a single primary symbol is best – avoid those that are less likely to be representative or unique. Colours often carry meanings: red for blood or sacrifice, white for purity, blue for water or sky.

“Diagonal stripes are often used by former colonies as an alternative to the generally horizontal and vertical stripes of European countries.”

 

MAXIMUM THREE BASIC COLOURS

“The basic flag colours are red, blue, green, black, yellow and white. Use two to three. They can range from dark to light. Occasionally, other colours are also used, such as purple, gray and orange, but they seldom needed in good design.

 

NO LETTERING OR SEALS

Words defeat the purpose; why not just write USA on a flag. A flag is a graphic symbol. Lettering is nearly impossible to read from a distance., hard to sew, and difficult to reduce to lape-pin size.

Words are not reversible – this forces double – or triple size. Words are not reversible – this forces double – or triple-thickness fabric. Don’t confuse a flag with a banner.

 

BE DISTINCTIVE

Most difficult principle. Sometimes the good designs are already taken. The best way to start the design process can be looking to one’s roots or flags by country, tribe or religion.

The concept of flag design appears to have stayed the same for centuries.

Here’s what the National Flag Committee of the Confederate States of America, said in 1861:

A flag should be simple, readily made, and capable of being made up in bunting; it should different from the flag of any other country, place or people; it should be significant; it should be readily distinguishable at a distance; the colours should be well contrasted and durable; and lastly, and not the least important point, it should be effective and handsome.”

 

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 




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