Friday, October 15, 2010

Flag Friday XVI

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, he gives it an "B-", 68/100.

Michael5000: It's refreshing to see a red, gold, and green African flag not getting accused of plagiarism.  This spares me having to retell yet again the story of how the African flags got their stripes.  Longtime readers won't be surprised that I'm not crazy about this one.  Too 2:1ish.

Grade: C+


Parsons: Says it's "original," and gives it a "B-", 65/100.

Michael5000: Now here's a red, gold, and green flag that could just barely be accused of plagiarism, since it can't directly buy into the pan-African thing.  You realized that Guyana isn't in Africa, right?  O.K., O.K., just checking.

Unfortunately nicknamed "The Golden Arrowhead," the Guyanan flag was designed by a Massachusetts consultant.  He didn't include the white and black piping though, which was added later.  Good call.  The black and white make the flag.  It's handsome, crisp, and -- especially regionally -- admirably distinctive and uncluttered.

Grade (for the current flag): A-


Parsons: Praising that it is "simple" and has "good colours," he assigns a "B", 70/100.

Michael5000: The civil flag of Haiti is certainly simple as can be, and I guess red and blue are "good colors."  Trouble is, from what I can tell from perusing the internets, nobody nor their dog uses the civil flag of Haiti.  Like many other countries in its part of the world, Haiti favors a much fussier state flag:

The business in the center, which includes no less than six Haitian flags, which presumably have among them 36 Haitian flags, which have 216 Haitian flags, which have....  duuuuude......   ...but wait, I digress.  The business in the center, which includes some cannons, a scroll, anchors, bayoneted rifles, Haitian flags (duuuude...), and a palm tree, seems to appear in a wide range of sizes relative to the flag as a whole.

There was apparently a minor flap at the 1936 Olympics when Liechtenstein and Haiti realized they were flying the same (civil) flag -- Liechtenstein, with much fewer people and a more recent design, stepped down and stuck a crown on their blue-and-red, which was mighty gracious of them in my book.  The more common state flag of Haiti certainly gets points for being distinctive -- it is immediately recognizable among the world's banners.

It loses some points for being busy, failing both the Betsy Ross test and the kid-with-crayons tests.

Grade (for the state flag): B-


Parsons: Accusing Honduras of both "plagiarism" and of having "too many stars," Parson allows this flag a "B-", 68/100.
Michael5000: Plagiarism?  What the what?  Because it's similar to the flags of neighboring countries El Salvador and Nicaragua?  Well, um, they used to be a single country?  And they made adjustments to the flag they were used to when they separated into the modern independent countries?  So that's not plagiarism?  I mean, geez, how are we going to make any progress in vexillological criticism if you don't check these things out, Dr. Parsons?

The Honduran flag is certainly not jaw-dropping in its special beauty, and it probably looks a bit washed out against the Central American sky.  But I say, three cheers for a Latin American country that uses its civil flag as its state flag, and doesn't feel the need for a persnickety coat of arms on either of them.  Hip hip!

Grade: B+


Parsons: Without comment, it gets a "B-", 68/100.

Michael5000: The Hungarian tricolor rocks.  The colors are firmly associated with all things Hungarian -- check out any bottle of paprika -- and the dominant red and dark green sandwich the white center stripe in a perfect balance of color value.

After the second world war, a Stalinist device was added to the center of the flag.  As things lightened up later in the century, it became a popular gesture of defiance to rip those puppies off -- they were too fussy! oh, and symbolic of a totalitarian nightmare -- and you had lots of flags that looked like this:

There is a movement afoot in the Hungarian government to get some sort of state seal back on the flag.  Bad call!  You've got it good, Hungary.  Stick with the tricolor, the whole tricolor, and nothing but the tricolor.

Grade: A


Jennifer said...

Ooh, if Honduras has too many stars according to Parsons, I look forward to hearing what excoriating criticisms he has for the US flag!

Cartophiliac said...

This tin of Hungarian paprika is in our kitchen: