Saturday, May 14, 2016

Looking at flag design will change how you make PowerPoint slides

There is an interesting pamphlet titled GOOD Flag, BAD FLAG How to Design a Great Flag that was compiled by Ted Kaye for the North American Vexillological Association. It discusses the five principles shown above.

The flag of Milwaukee is so complicated that it is bad - it even contains a tiny civil war regimental flag inside the lower left quadrant of the gear.  Contrast that with the very simple  flag of Chicago.

A good flag (like the one for Amsterdam shown above) can convey its information in a space the size of a commemorative postage stamp. That is because a one-inch high rectangle seen from fifteen inches away looks about the same as a three-foot high flag seen from a hundred feet away.

There is an excellent TED Talk by Roman Mars on Why city flags may be the worst designed thing you’ve never noticed.

The civil war Confederate flags are an example of how it can take three tries to come up with aa acceptable flag. The first version (Stars and Bars) was not as well received as the Battle Flag (for Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia). The second version (Stainless Banner) didn’t work when there was no or light wind - it almost looked like a white truce flag. Their third version (the Blood-Stained Banner) fixed that by adding a vertical red stripe. 

I found my way to this topic from a blog post on How a TED Talk and a public radio host shamed Pocatello into changing its city flag.

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