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How to design a flag

Have you ever thought about designing a flag to represent yourself or your family? Many cities and counties are creating their own flags, and often sponsor contests for this very purpose.

Ted Kaye of NAVA, the North American Vexillological Association, has created a sixteen page document that can be read on the NAVA website, and can be downloaded and printed at your convenience. He advocates five basic principles for a good flag design, and uses real flags as examples of good flag design and bad flag design. Mr. Kaye says,

1. Keep It Simple
The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory…

2. Use Meaningful Symbolism
The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes…

3. Use 2–3 Basic Colors
Limit the number of colors on the flag to three, which contrast well,
and come from the standard color set…

4. No Lettering or Seals
Never use writing of any kind or an organization’s seal…

5. Be Distinctive or Be Related
Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections…

As a further note, Mr. Kaye says, “Don’t allow a committee to design a flag. Instead, empower individuals to design flags, and use a committee to select among them.”

Go now, and link to the site, because he really knows what he’s talking about. Then gather up your supplies and design a flag. Or do it online, if you are creative on the computer. And send it to me, if you’d like. I’ll show it to everyone.

san20leon20flagHere is a flag I designed when I lived in San Leon, Texas. San Leon sprawls across a stubby little peninsula that sticks into Galveston Bay. About 48 inches of rain fall in the year, so San Leon is very green (and downright swampy in spots). Blue water, blue sky, and the sun says it all. In retrospect, I think I would make the sun smaller, and make the line between water and sky a bit broken. San Leon is also inhabited by green, wild Monk Parakeets. Maybe a highly stylized green bird would look good? (Mr. Kaye is probably shaking his head—nix the parakeet.)

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