Friday, December 10, 2010

Flag Friday XIX

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: "A classic.  Simple, to the point."  He gives it an "A", 87/100.

Michael5000: Japan's flag is so simple, and such an elegant solution to the problem of making a recognizable symbol on a rectangle of fabric, that it's kind of astounding that nobody else got to it first.  I've read that the Japanese are rather conflicted about actually using their flag, with many having aversions to overt displays of nationalism.  That's fair.  But just as a flag, though?  Awesome.

Grade: A

the Vatican

Parsons: Bothered by a "bad shape," "hideous colours," and "graven images," he dismisses the Papal flag with a "D", 40/100.

Michael5000: Heavens, what is the Vatican doing here in the J's?  Parson files it under "H," for "Holy See," and I think I started to move it towards "V" but didn't follow through.  Whatever.  It's square and riddled with frimframery, and looks more like the flag of a city than of a real country.  But then...

Mercifully, it looks like some of the detail gets simplified down in real life:

Grade: D+


Parsons: Feeling that it's "eyewatering," he assigns a "B", 70/100.

Michael5000: Of the family of similar flags among the Arab states, I think I like Jordan's best.  I haven't always been a fan of seven-sided stars, but in this case it helps the Jordanians stand out a bit among their like-bannered neighbors.

Grade: B+


Parsons: Parsons sees "bad colours" and a "corporate logo," and thinks it's "too busy," so he gives it a "D+", 45/100.

Michael5000: I've said it before and I'll say it again:
When you deviate from simple color fields, it is easy to get your flag design into real trouble. Look at Uganda, Dominica, Macedonia, or South Africa for great examples of ways to make a hash of it. Kazakhstan succeeded where so many others have failed by keeping the primary flag design element, color, under control. A fairly complex central design and the inward-side filigree characteristic of the "Stan" flags are rendered spare and elegant by their rendering in just two mature and memorable but unconventional colors. One of the best new flags in recent history. 
Grade: A


Parsons: Disliking the "weapons," finding it "eye-watering," and judging it "too busy," Parson gives a "C", 55/100.

Michael5000: Kenya's flag rocks the pan-African colors, with a simple representation of indiginous Massai spears and shield in the foreground.  And if that's the way the Kenyans want to play it, that's their call.  If this flag had been suggested by a non-Kenyan, though, it would seem like an offensive casting of Africans as colorful tribal people chained to the pre-industrial past.  Personally, I'd like to see something more progressive from an African regional power.

Grade: B-


Libby said...

Poor Mr. Parsons, I feel he must have been suffering from some sort of condition that caused his eyes to water overly much. How unpleasant.

dhkendall said...

"Graven images" on the Holy See flag. How ... ironic.