“Good Flag, Bad Flag”

Good afternoon everyone! It’s Sarah here, back after a few weeks of schedule clashes. I’m getting ready to graduate in two weeks, so life is pretty hectic!

On today’s agenda is the pamphlet Good Flag, Bad Flag by Ted Kaye. It goes into detail about how to design a great flag. In this post, I’ll be emphasizing his five basic principles of flag design:

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

My commentary: Children can’t usually draw bald eagles holding a golden rod in their beak and grasping a snake with one talon and a document in the other, from memory.

2. Use meaningful symbolism: The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.

3. Use 2-3 basic colors: Limit the number of colors on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard color set.

My commentary: There is one flag that appropriately uses the entire (pastel) rainbow as their flag: the gay pride flag. The whole point of the colors is to symbolize LGBT pride, therefore following Principle #2.

4. No lettering or seals: Never use writing of any kind of an organization’s seal.

My commentary: Nobody wants to take time out of their busy day to decode a seal or read a flag covered in writing.

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

I found those tips helpful and wise! From personal experience, I tend to look past flags that are too busy, have lots of writing on them, or use every color in the rainbow. Unfortunately, the people creating these flags are defeating their purpose, which is to draw attention, by diverting attention from the flag to something less complex or obscure.

Below is a humorous account by Roman Mars about poor flag design. If you love flags, laughter, and learning new things, I highly suggest checking out his TED talk.

That’s all for this blog post,

Have a blessed day!

-the About Flags! team

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top