Friday, May 13, 2011

Lower the Flag

We ran it up the flag pole... but it just didn't fly.

Neither Michael5000 nor Cartophiliac have been able to generate enough interest in this topic to hold our interest in maintaining a blog just about flags... March Madness was fun, but what are we going to do the rest of the year?

Therefore we are closing up shop. We may leave the blog up for a little while but it will eventually be deleted.

Meanwhile, Michael5000 will likely continue with his occasional Flag Friday ranking of the nation's flags, so continue to read The Life and Times of Michael5000 for your flag fix.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flag Friday XXVII

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: "It's probably lucky for Nicaragua that the vile choice of colours in this flag prevents me from seeing what's written on it."  He dislikes the "Writing," the "Bad Colours," the "Bad Shape" (?), and the "Graven Images," and gives it a "D", 40/100.

Michael5000: I've seen the Nicaraguan flag criticized somewhere for not only including the country's name, but it's address -- the text that Parsons could see reads "Republica de Nicaragua - America Central."  I tend to think of the flag of consisting of a blue-white-blue tricolor ("vile choice of colours"?) with a hoop of gold text surrounding a central triangle.  It's when you get into the triangle that things get fussy, pictorial, and strange, with a radiant "cap of freedom" hovering over a mountain range and under a volcano.  Trippy, and pretty much a total fail on the Betsy Ross front.

Grade: C-


Parsons: "Good Shape."   A "B-", 65/100.

Michael5000: I always likes it when a flag pops up that combines very simple elements in an unusual way, and Niger's circle-in-a-tricolor scheme is a great example.  It's only too bad that the colors are so close to those of India, which has a circle-like figure within its own tricolor.  Officially, Niger's flag has a 6:7 ratio, which is just about as bad a shape as you can get without giving up the rectangle.  Since no one, including the government of Niger (as opposed to the Nigerian government, which is interestingly something completely different) actually uses the almost-square layout, though, we can reasonably ignore it.

Grade: B+


Parsons: Calling it a "Bad Tricolour," Parsons nevertheless gives it a "B," 70/100.

Michael5000: Using common colors in a distinctive scheme that is immediately distinguishable from any other world flag, this is an excellent tricolor.  It's not incredibly exciting, but it embodies the important flaggy virtues.  Technically it's got the 1:2 ratio that we discovered last year is characteristic of former British colonies, but the online evidence suggests that it usually reverts to the 3:5 de facto standard.

Grade: A-

North Korea

Parsons: "The star is very well placed with regard to the shape of the whole flag," writes Parsons, "but the overall design is just somehow lacking in zest." Yet its "Good Shape" must count for something, because he gives it an "A-", 80/100.

Michael5000:  It's hard to find much to like about the DPRK, but their flag is pretty good.  Of course, I'm a sucker for white striplets.  The star-in-circle logo says "Texaco" to me, but I agree that having it offset inward is a nice touch.  And this is a rare occasion that I think 1:2 is a good choice of ratio.

Grade: A-


Parsons: Without comment, it gets a "B", 74/100.

Michael5000: The flag of Norway is more or less the opposite of the flag of Iceland.  And both of them are awesome.

Grade: A