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Finding the right ratio of flag to pole

Larry Hendrick prepared this information in January 2007. It’s very useful and worth repeating, because so many places are flying flags that are too small for the flagpole. The flags in the photograph are standing tall at the Texas Travel Information Center in Amarillo, my adopted hometown.

[photopress:Six_Flags_over_Texas.JPG,thumb,right]Driving around, I see a lot of poles flying the wrong sized flag. You’ve probably noticed, too. Some tall poles have very small flags, and vice versa. So how do you determine the correct size flag to put on your pole?

First let me say, that with all it contains, the US Flag Code does not address this aspect of flag flying. Second, there are a lot of opinions on this subject. Some have even devised elaborate formulas and charts showing their recommended flag to flag pole ratio.

Here’s my rule of thumb. You fly a flag that looks right; that has the right proportions. Your eye can tell just by looking, if the flag is large enough, but, you still ask, where do you start?

At 20%. Yep! If the hoist of your flag (or the height of the flag) is 20% of the height of the pole, you are in good shape. And since the numbers aren’t always exact, some judgment is required.

Here is a chart:

Flag to Pole Sizes

Pole Height Hoist Size Flag Size>
15′ 3′ 3′ X 5′
25′ 5′ 5′ X 8′
35′ 7′ 6′ X 10′
50′ 10′ 10′ X 15′

As you can see, some dimensions hit perfectly while others don’t. This is where your judgment comes in. On the 35′ pole, the 20% figure is 7′. Since this would require an odd size flag, moving to a 6′ or 8′ flag is easier and cheaper. Why did I list the 6′ flag? I think the 6′ flag would look better on a 35′ pole than the 8′. Could you fly the 8′ flag? Yes, if you think the larger flag looks better.

That’s all this is … just my opinion. That and a little common sense.

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