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The Bear Flag Museum

The Bear Flag Monument in Sonoma, CaliforniaYou don’t have to be a Californian to find the Bear Flag Museum fascinating. You don’t have to live in California either, you can go there now!

Created by Bill Trinkle, a long-time member of NAVA, it is a “virtual museum of all things related to the California Bear Flag.” He covers history and chronologies, law, trivia, photographs, tests, cartoons, pins, art, old flags, drawings, and people involved with the flag.

Go explore now, and bookmark

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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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Can you make it a different color?

Produced by the advertising agency Clayborn Creative Consulting, this tongue-in-cheek flash animation illustrates the creative frustrations that come with trying to please the customer. This frustration is furthermore reinforced by the comments to the blog that provides the link. Some people still didn’t get the humor, and they are reading about it at an advertising blog.


The flash animation was produced over a year ago, but it will be around for a long time I think.

Hat Tip to Randy Smith via North American Vexillological Association (NAVA).

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Mini-Poll on Flags

Our most recent NAVA newsletter included a link to an interesting poll. The Mayor of St. Louis, Francis Slay, maintains a website and blog, interacting with the public on issues of interest to the city. Last month, Mayor Slay ran a mini-poll about flags, asking fourteen questions concerning the American flag, the Missouri flag, and the city of St. Louis flag.

I have included a few of the on-going results here, but I encourage you to follow the link for the rest of the information. It is an eye-opener.


These numbers are somewhat disappointing for a flag company, but it reflects the reality of the American public. Almost half of the respondents never fly the U.S. flag. The good news is fifty-three percent do fly the flag, at least occasionally.

Obviously, this is a number I would like to see increased, but without what caused it the last time.

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Friday’s Flag Challenge

I’ve been thinking about something fun to do on Fridays to get the creative juices flowing. I’ve come up with an idea that might fit the bill.

I decided to hold a small contest involving flags by using the collage feature in Picasa. I created a pile of flag pictures and your challenge is to identify all the flags.

Since this is the first one, I wanted it hard, but doable. This first picture contains 16 flags, and your job is to identify them by state (I’ll give you the American flag on this one). I have included the full size image for this game, so click on the thumbnail and start making your list.

I’ll post the answers on Monday, giving you plenty of time to explore. You can look at pictures of the flags on the Product Page  for help.

So until Monday … GO!


Here is your first challenge. 16 flags! Have fun!


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Vexillology? Just What is That?

Just what is vexillology, anyway? It is the study of flags—all kinds of flags—from all over the world. One can even become known as a vexillologist, but not by attending any college or university for a degree.

NAVA FlagThere is a group for those interested in flags: NAVA (North American Vexillological Association). Yes, that’s a mouthful of words but well worth the effort to say. NAVA is a volunteer, non-profit organization whose goal is to further the study of all flags.

This is from the front page of their website.

Do flags interest you? Are you curious about their design, history, and symbolism? Do you wonder why these bits of cloth have such a profound effect on people and nations? If your answer is “Yes,” then please join us.

Why do I bring this up? Because vexillologist are passionate about flags, and willing to share their knowledge. So if you want to learn about flags too, NAVA is a great place to start.

Deborah and I consider ourselves vexillologists-in-training—reading, writing, and learning more about the flags around us and presenting the information to you. Daily we explore new vistas and research deeper to bring you news and facts from around the world that promotes the love of flags. Sometimes it is the little known fact in the back story that is more interesting than the obvious. Whatever it is, we are committed to bringing you the finest in what we do.