Great Flags that Don’t Abide by the Flag Design Principles

A few months ago, graphic designer Roman Mars touched on the 5 flag design principles. These principles originated from a book written by flag expert, Ted Kaye. If you have not done so, check out our full post on his flag design principles before reviewing the list below. However, like most rules or guidelines, there are always exceptions. Here is Roman’s list of great flags that don’t abide by the flag design principles.

South Africa

Image of the South Africa Flag.

The South African flag violates rule #3, which is use 2-3 standard colors. The South African flag incorporates six colors into a complex flag design. In doing so, the designer was able to create one of the most colorful flag designs.

Maryland

Image of the Maryland state flag.

The Maryland state flag violates rule #1, which is to keep it simple. However, Roman describes the flag as a “beautiful mess”. The Maryland state flag is one of the most unique state flags and one of only 4 state flags that don’t use the color blue.

California

Image of the California state flag.

The California state flag breaks rule #4, which is no lettering or seals. As a designer, the use of lettering or seals means that your symbolism has failed. Despite this major design flaw, the California state flag has become one of the most famous state flags.

Wales

Image of the flag of Wales.

The Wales flag violates rule #1, which is to keep it simple. Roman believes that this flag contains way too many details. However, the flag does only use a few colors and is very distinctive.

Bhutan

Image of the Bhutan flag.

The Bhutan flag made our list of most unique national flags, despite breaking rule #1 of the flag design principles. Similar to the flag of Wales, this flag contains too many details and loses its distinctiveness when viewed from afar.

Moscow

Image of the Moscow city flag.

Moscow is one of the world’s most powerful cities, and their city flag attempts to display this with a warrior on a horse slaying a dragon. However, the flag violates many flag design principles, most notably rule #1.

Credit: TED Ideas

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