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 a "B", 71/100.
Michael5000: One of the best African-look flags, which is a little confusing since it is a South American flag. And, it's a good 'un. The white stripelets, as usual, are really snappy here. The star seems like it gets a little overscaled for its position in the red stripe, but that's niggling.
Parsons: With "graven images" and "weapons" and being "too busy," it gets a "C", 55/100.
Michael5000: I don't share Parsons' concern with weapons here, since Swazi history and identity is pretty inextricably wrapped up with the use of that spear and shield with surprising effectiveness against the mechanized troops of colonial invaders. It is, lamentably, a bit busy and pictorial for my taste. Points for distinctiveness, though, as it's a pattern of colors that we don't see anywhere else.
Parsons: "Too garish," says Parsons. "(Not what we expected from the Swedes!)" With "bad colours," it gets a "B-", 69/100.
Michael5000: One of the classics, and a personal favorite for its unique and lively colors.
Parsons: With a "good shape" and being "simple," it gets an "A", 85/100.
Michael5000: A country with as much excess capital as has Switzerland could certainly afford the full rectangle that constitutes the shape of a flag. (There is a Swiss naval ensign -- no, really -- that is a regular 2:3 flag, and it looks pretty great.) You might expect that the unorthodox shape of the Swiss flag suggests old-school roots, but you'd be wrong. Although the white cross has been representative of Switzerland for centuries upon centuries, the idea of sticking it on a red square only came along in 1889, and this replaced a red, green, and gold flag-shaped tricolor. So there's really no excuse.
Mitigating factors: simplicity, distinctiveness. However, these are equally present in the full-length naval (they probably have patrol boats on those big lakes?) version.
Parsons: With "good colours," it gets a "B+", 76/100.
Michael5000: I should really check bad among the other flags of the region and skew my judgement of Syria's to conform, but instead I will just opine away and leave subsequent scholars the joy of finding my inconsistencies. And the truth is, I find these red, white, and black flags with green trim not only cussedly hard to distinguish one from the other, but kind of boring in general. Sorry, Syria.