Shrey Ravi

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My Flag Rankings

There's a lot to say about how important flags are to national identities. Since Napoleonic times, flags have come to be tightly associated with national unity, and while the era of ardent nationalism seems to be at an ebb (at least for now), the importance of good flag design is supremely important.

It irritates me to no end that, despite this importance, dozens of real-world flags suffer from a complete crisis of imagination, a total misplacement of creativity, a wholly non-existent sense of taste. Thus, I set out to rank my favorite flags based on NAVA's (the North American Vexillology Association, the pre-eminent flag design group in North America) pamphlet Good Flag, Bad Flag: How To Design A Great Flag.

NAVA mentions that there are five basic principles of flag design:
  1. Keep It Simple
  2. Use Meaningful Symbolism
  3. Use 2-3 Basic Colors
  4. No Lettering Or Seals
  5. Be Distinctive or Be Related
Right away, we notice that a LOT of flags fail some or even all of the aforementioned principles! I don't need to tell you how much I despise many US state flag designs for simply slapping on a seal and Arial font lettering and calling it a day (ugh...).

So, as a reference, here is my top 15 flag rankings, from best to alright:

1. United Kingdom

2. Barbados

3. Switzerland

4. France

5. South Africa

6. United States

7. Macedonia

8. Sweden (or Scandinavia)

9. Jamaica

10. Democratic Republic of Congo

11. Israel

12. Germany

13. Turkey

14. China

15. Canada

As with all rankings, these are subject to change (please Australia change your flag...). Updated Feb 2020. ◼
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