How to Design a Flag

Written by mason howard
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How to Design a Flag
On the Canadian flag, the maple leaf is a striking and memorable symbol. (flag. flag of Canada. Canadian flag image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com)

A flag not only identifies and represents, it is a symbol used to show honour and to celebrate the goals, history and pride of a community, team or organisation. According to vexillologists---flag scholars---who have illuminated the historic and symbolic significance of flags, several underlying principles are considered essential to a successful flag design. When designing a flag, strive to make your flag uncomplicated, unique and visually striking. A well-designed flag has longevity and the ability to be readily identified with the group for which it stands.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil or pen
  • Markers
  • Computer/Graphic design software (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine a colour scheme that best represents your group. For example, on the United States flag white stands for purity and innocence; red stands for valour; and blue represents the president. Keep it simple and try to stick with two or three colours. Ukraine's flag consists only of two horizontal bands of colour---with no symbols---yet is still full of meaning. Blue, the top colour, represents blue skies and yellow, the lower colour, represents wheat fields.

  2. 2

    Determine if a symbol will be used on the flag. Again, keep it simple. A basic, graphic symbol with only one colour will be more striking. A busy or multicoloured symbol may be visually confusing. Pick a symbol that represents something unique about your group or something that signifies your group's philosophies. The Canadian flag, for example, incorporates the shape of a maple leaf, celebrating Canada's distinct geography. Consider what is successful about highly memorable flag symbols, such as the skull and crossbones of the pirate's flag. Avoid using words since flags are typically meant to be graphic representations.

  3. 3

    Research flags of many nations and organisations. This will help you get design ideas and ensure that you don't create a flag that is a replica of another group's flag.

  4. 4

    Make some rough sketches of flag ideas on graph paper or use graphic design software. Draw several rectangles. Make the rectangles with a ratio of 1-to-1, 1-to-1/2 or 1-to-2. Using markers, try stripes, squares and different symbols and shapes. Think about how the symbol looks in conjunction with the overall flag colour or colours. It should stand out and be distinct. Continue reconfiguring until you have several options from which to choose. Consider asking several people to design different flags then come together as a group to determine the best option.

Tips and warnings

  • Many websites offer free, online flag designing.

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