Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flag Friday XXVI

Flag Friday is a periodic discussion of the world's national flags; the project is explained and indexed here.

These discussions are about graphic design, and perhaps about nationalism and national symbolism in general. They should not be taken as critical of the countries, ideals, cultures, or people that the flags represent.


Parsons: Without comment, the good doctor gives it a "B+", 75/100.

Michael5000: Namibia didn't manage to shake off of South Africa until 1990, so this is one of the more contemporary flags going in Africa.  I like it.  It's got all three primaries and green, which is pretty much an honorary primary, in a memorable and somehow friendly-seeming arrangement.  I guess it's the circle-and-triangles sun that makes it seem upbeat.  I bet some people will call it juvenile, but I think it stays on the dignified side of that line.  And everybody knows I'm a sucker for white stripelets.

Grade: A-


Parsons: Disliking a "Corporate Logo" look but feeling that it has a "good shape" (?), the good doctor gives it a "C+", 60/100.

Michael5000: Parsons must not have realized that we're looking at a map here.  Aren't we?  Yes, I just checked, and that's the map of an island that lies just south of the Equator.  Since I don't share Parsons' dislike of maps on flags, that almost makes me want to like it.  Not going to happen, though.  Putting the dominant visual element in the bottom half of a flag, even though I understand the reason, raises my design hackles.  And it really does have a very Corporate Logo look.  This should be the banner of Nauru Airlines, not Nauru.

Grade: C-


Parsons: With a "Bad Shape" but "Original," it ties with Nauru with a "C+", 60/100.

Michael5000: I have an absolutely terrific picture of some kids I work with, kids who grew up in refugee camps in Nepal, clustered around the Nepalese flag in the Hall of Flags on the Oregon State University campus, amazed to see such a familiar thing in such an unexpected context.  I'm not going to stick it online, for obvious reasons.  But, it's extremely cute.  

Yet even while I was taking the picture, I was wondering if it's really quite.... fair for Nepal to be quite so Bohemian (so to speak) in its flag design.  I mean, is that even properly a flag?  Innit more of a pendant?  Couldn't that design just been attached to a white field to make a still very distinct, but properly flag-shaped, national banner?

Hmm, I guess not.  It was worth a try, though.

Grade (for the real "flag"): C+


Parsons: No comments -- only a "B", 70/100.

Michael5000:   Back when we talked about Luxembourg, in addition making an embarrassing gaffe, I gave that little country's flag -- nearly identical to Netherland's -- a B-.  However, Luxembourg was getting graded down for creating a modern flag so easily confused with the very long-standing flag of a neighbor.  Very long-standing.  Very, very longstanding.  1572 longstanding.  This is, in fact, the original horizontal tricolor.  So where Luxembourg was derivative, the Netherlands is rocking an innovative design, and obviously one that has turned out to have some enduring appeal.  Got to respect that.

Grade: A

New Zealand

Parsons: Dr. Parsons can't be said to be too partial to the home team.  He dislikes the "Colonial Nonsense" of his own country's flag, and gives it only a "C", 55/100.

Michael5000: See Australia.  Mitigated by fewer and nicer stars.

Grade: C+

Monday, April 18, 2011

Patriotic Vexillophilia, c. 1915

"The Allied Flags"
Raphael Tuck & Sons' "Oilette" Postcard No. 8729

Friday, April 15, 2011

Well, Not Everyone is a Maps & Flags Person....

Image randomly encountered on internet, February 2011.

Friday, April 8, 2011

For the Fan that Takes His Vexillophilia Seriously

Via American Flag & Gift

Flag Friday XXV

Flag Friday is a periodic discussion of the world's national flags; the project is explained and indexed here.

These discussions are about graphic design, and perhaps about nationalism and national symbolism in general. They should not be taken as critical of the countries, ideals, cultures, or people that the flags represent.


Parsons: "Yawn..." writes Parsons.  "Nice shape, but nearly as boring as Libya."  Still, it gets a "B", 70/100.

Michael5000: This is pretty much the same flag as that of Indonesia.  Well, Indonesia is in the 2:3 ratio and Monaco is officially 4:5, but in practice Monaco usually gets tweaked to 2:3, so Bob's your uncle. I checked back to make sure I'm giving the two the same grade, and it looks like Parsons did too.

Grade: B-


Parsons: "Too Busy."   A "C+", 60/100.

Michael5000: Oh, I dunno.  The golden business on the inside panel (the "Soyombo") is a little complicated, but it's all in one color, the shapes are pretty big and simple, and it's an important national symbol.  It's no busier than, say, a set of five stars.  I like the coloration, and the red-light blue-red vertical tricolor base is pretty keen.  And it's got good distinctiveness and recognizability.  I'm liking the flag of Mongolia.

Grade: A-


Parsons: Montenegro has been something of an on-again, off-again country for the past eleven centuries.  It was not on the map when Parsons made his sweep, but it's on again as of June 2006.

Michael5000: Whoa, what century is this?  The flag of the newest (I think) country going looks decidedly like one of the flags of the world as depicted on a 1880s cigar box.  Or maybe like the lid of an 1880s cigar box.  Is that really the flag?

Yup, guess it is.  I'm going to give it points for distinctiveness, obviously -- although it's not a radical departure from neighboring Albania -- and, once we get used to Montenegro being on again, recognizability.  Also, the central device uses only a modest three colors, so it is capable of being rendered in applique as opposed to screenprinting -- extremely laboriously, though.  And obviously, there's a real traditional look here.  Let's see...  we'll give it a....

Grade (for the current flag): B


Parsons: "Apart from the colours, this is a nice design," writes Parsons.  "Pentagram is a bit adolescent though."  It has "Bad Colours," it's "eye-watering," but it's "simple," and it gets a "B", 72/100.

Michael5000:   In fairness to the flag and peoples of Morocco, I don't believe that the pentagram had acquired its heavy-metal connotations at the time of their flag design, 1915.  This design, although hard on the red/green colorblind, is surprisingly distinctive -- I can't think of another open star out sides of Israel's off the bat, and that one is six-sided.

Grade: B


Parsons: Dr. Parsons is not a fan.  "Automatic weapons on a flag are especially bad," he says.  Appears to have been designed by a committee all of whom had stupid ideas for pictures of extra things to put on the flag. With "weapons" and "graven images" and being "too busy," it gets a "D-", 37/100.

Michael5000: Well, Mozambique has not had an easy road, and if I'd been part of the Portuguese colonial empire until the 1970s I might be inclined to put an automatic weapon on my flag too.  That being said, it true that it doesn't send a really upbeat message.  Parsons is moreover joined by the parliamentary opposition in Mozambique, who object not only to the bad vibes of the machine gun but also to the national flag consisting  of the symbols of the ruling party.  And yes, the stack of AK-47, hoe, book, and star really is a pretty busy business.

I like the white stripelets, though, and it doesn't look half bad on a flagpole:

Let's give it a:

Grade: B