Friday, April 9, 2010

Flag Friday VI

Now! With cheesy logo!

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: He dislikes this flag's "bad colours" and "bad shape," and notes that it "appears to involve a moustache sprouting from a flagpole." He also finds it "too busy." He gives it “D“, 40/100.

Michael5000: I don't have any problem with the colors here; red, black, and white detail on a yellow field make Brunei's flag easily recognizable. The shape is a minor matter, but unusually long flags do rub me the wrong way. And I have to agree, this flag really does appear to involve a moustache sprouting from a flagpole.

The ease-of sewing test is a real problem here, for although there are only four colors the design is extremely finicky. Those Arabic letters would be insanely difficult to sew in. As for the child-with-crayons test -- or "tests," as the concept has become more complicated after the debate about Brazil's flag last time -- Brunei's is neither one that would be simple to draw, nor one that would seem especially fun to draw.

Grade: C+


Parsons: Citing "bad colours," he gives it “C+“, 60/100. It is, he thinks, "possibly [the] worst traditional tricolour."

Michael5000: We've seen it before, and we'll see it all the way through: Dr. Parsons doesn't like the combination of red and green. Obviously, JOSH PARSONS HATES CHRISTMAS!

Me, I like Bulgaria's flag. Without using unusual colors, it nevertheless is able to sneak a pretty distinctive tricolor right in there among all the other European tricolors. Putting the white stripe on top, rather than between the two dark colors, is an unusual but not unattractive design choice.

Grade: B+

Burkina Faso

Parsons: Unhappy with "bad colours" and feeling that it is "eyewatering," he gives it “C+”, 64/100.

Michael5000: Again, red and green are not, by most measures, bad colors. They're certainly not "eyewatering." The gold star in the center is a perfectly attractive, if not terribly original, graphic focus. Burkina's flag is not wildly different from those of its neighbors Mali and Ghana, but nor would there likely to be any confusion among the three.

Grade: B


Parsons: Complains of "graven images" and gives it “C”, 55/100.

Michael5000: Parsons calls Burma "Myanmar" and you may have been taught to do the same. This is reasonable enough, as it is the official name chosen several years back by the ruling government of the country. The government of the country, lamentably, has been an unusually corrupt military junta for these past couple of decades, and my friends and acquaintances in and from the country are unanimous in their preference for "Burma." So Burma it is.

The Burmese flag is distinctive and recognizable, but I agree that the figurative business in the blue field doesn't really work. The food 'n' industry imagery is hard to pick out without fairly close study, and whereas one star is a generic bit of flag imagery, a circle of 14 of them seems like overkill. The whole thing seems more like an old-fashioned logo for a corporation with diverse holdings in agriculture and manufacturing than a real national emblem.

In theory, Burma will hold elections later this year for a parliament that will meet under a new national constitution. Well, we'll see. But if that constitution does go into effect, it will replace the existing Burmese flag with this one:

Whatever else we might think of this new flag, my own feeling is that it sends a strange message to kick off a new era in your country's history with a gesture towards the period when you were a puppet state of the WWII-era Empire of Japan:

But maybe that's just me.

Grade (for the existing Burmese flag): C


Parsons: He calls it "too busy," and awards it a “B-”, 65/100.

Michael5000: But... why is green and red OK in Burundi, then?

I don't know if "busy" is exactly the word for it, but there's something about the mixing of a four-part symmetry with a three-part symmetry that makes it hard for me to warm up to the Burundian flag. It's distinctive and has an appropriately flaggy design; it's just a little awkward.

Grade: B-


UnwiseOwl said...

That is an excellent cheesy logo.
I've always thought that Burundi's flag would be much nicer if it had just the one star, but I'm sure there's a reason for there being 3.

Elizabeth said...

I'm thinking that perhaps Mr. Parsons is actually color-blind, and only knows theoretically where the red and green go, but as he can't see them, he's taking out his frustrated artistry on flag critiques.

Or perhaps he never got that pony he was always asking for.

DrSchnell said...

Also , the stars of David are a little odd for Burundi.... Although Judaism doesn't own the trademark on the design, they might as well...

Elaine said...

I did think the 'apple green and rose pink' color scheme was a bit....well, too SOMEthing. Have to go with the Brunei flag; diagonals are interesting.

Aviatrix said...

Ooh, Elizabeth's theory is good.

I would like Burundi better if I could get it in green and gold.

Aviatrix said...

(There's a story about a tourist in Canada who though the but wanted it in a different colour to match her decor).

Jenners said...

Love the (cheesy) logo!

And you'd be interested (or maybe not) to know that my Little One picked out a Canada flag as a souvenir on our recent vacation (and no...we weren't in Canada) because he thought it was "pretty."

Michael5000 said...

@Elizabeth: I've thought of that, and the commonness of red-green colorblindness is a fair argument against red/green flags. But to someone so afflicted, red/green flags would just look kind of muddy, not "eye-watering."

@DrSchnell: True dat. Interestingly, while browsing through my 1968 almanac earlier today -- I know, I know -- I happened to notice that, at that time, the center of the Burundian flag was not the three stars but a kind of drum/plant combo. I haven't been able to find out anything about where that came from and why the change happened, but then I haven't looked very hard either.

@Jenners: The Canadian flag IS pretty. I like it in red, myself, but other colors might be fine too...

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

The mustache on Brunei's flag is bad, but the disembodies hands are downright creepy!

Elizabeth said...

He is irascibly extrapolating.

Michael5000 said...

You just wanted to say "irascibly extrapolating."

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

That one with the peacock is for the Nation of Islam.