17 Dec 2014

La Graciosa (Canary Islands, Spain)

Among the Canary inhabitated islands, La Graciosa is the only without a flag. Trying to solve this, local inhabitant Jesús Manuel Páez started an online poll asking people's opinion about his design.

Here, you can my rendition of his design:


This flag is based in previous ideas, as can be read here. The two blue stripes represents the sky and the sea. The middle stripe forms the silhouette of La Graciosa and neighbor islets.

I'm not so sure about the design, as the silhouette is not very obvious, to say the least. José Manuel Erbez Rodríguez created the following proposal, a much more ellegant design on same theme:


Without pretensions of beating Erbez's design, I decided to make my own contribution:


Yellow for sand, blue for the light sea. The cauldron is punning to the Playa de la Cocina (cocina = kitchen, cuisine), one of most important beaches in Canary Islands, and commonly found in regional heraldry. The two stars represent the two settlements in the island: Caleta de Sebo and Casas de Pedro Barba.

As I couldn't find similar design, and some Canarian flags are really simple, this design could also be used:


Comments and suggestions are welcome.
I'll be traveling next weeks, so hiatuses can occur.

9 Dec 2014

Windsor (MA, USA)

Windsor, Massachusetts unveiled its flag last December, 7th. A complete report can be read here.

The chosen design, by a local artist called Susan Edwards, is the following:

It was requested that the design included "elements of the town's topography, natural resources and snow", according to the report. Many aspects of the work are clearly against vexillography principles: use of words, very complex shapes, etc.

Taking Susan Edwards' idea, but with a better layout, I obtained the following result:

My proposal is more stylized, with less colors and simpler shapes. Another positive point is that it discards any letters or numbers, that doesn't go well in the wind. Anyway, it still follows the guidelines given by the report.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.
It's always good to remember the principles under a good flag. You can read Ted Kaye's book online on NAVA's website.

4 Dec 2014

Caithness (Scotland, United Kingdom)

Caithness is near to become the first mainland Scottish historic county (Orkney and Shetland already did it) to adopt its own flag. Today's post is for raise the awareness about this possibility.

Although it's not so common a post about the theme, I have made, along the years, many flags for Scottish localities. My favorite proposal for Caithness, that Meiriongwril has "resurrected" in Flags Forum, is a simple banner of arms:


A sailing ship has been a symbol of Caithness since the times of Norse mormaers. The raven is took from the "raven banner" conjecturally flown in Viking ships.

For a most laboured flag, I looked for the coat of arms of the Earl of Caithness:


This kind of ship in first and fourth quarters is more similar to most of the presentations of Mormaership of Caithness' coat of arms. Using the same background, and putting the previous flag on first quarter, we obtain the following result:


Whatsoever, doing this post was funny.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.
You can read more the chances of Caithness gaining a flag here.

25 Nov 2014

Cambridgeshire (England, United Kingdom)

One of my designs was selected as finalist to the contest for a new Cambridgeshire flag! Today, I'll talk about its creation process and why I think it's an ideal flag for the county.

The contest's rules permitted me to submit two entries. My first, that wasn't selected, is the following:

The blue stripe represents the river Cam and, together with the red stripe placed like a bridge, is a pun on Cambridge name. The three Saxon crowns on red is took from the coat of arms of the Diocese of Ely, and the three crowns on blue are the coat of arms of East Anglia. The yellow background represents the county's fenlands, and keep the recommendation of using a maximum of three colors.

My second design, that I made in a fast but determined way, is a derivative of the first, but with a better realization. That was selected as a finalist:

The symbolism of the former was kept, but with many improvements: the crowns are now three, in a more direct counting; the river gained some life, with the waves, and was colored in a shade near "Cambridge blue", the color of the traditional University of Cambridge. It represents county's landscape, history and prides in a very ellegant way.

Comments are welcome.
You can vote in your favorite design in the end of this page.

17 Nov 2014

Hong Kong

An anonymous commenter recently asked about my view on a hypothetic flag for an independent Hong Kong.

Firstly, let's face the flag issue... This is the current flag of Hong Kong:

In my opinion, it's a very good flag. But the red background and the five stars are clearly taken from People's Republic of China national flag. Before 1997, when Hong Kong was still a British colony, it used the following flag:

A number of photographs show a flag used by pro-autonomy or pro-independence protesters consisting of the British-age coat of arms, in blue background, with "Hong Kong" witten in Chinese ("香港"):


A former proposed flag of same movement is the following:


The fact that some groups are now avoiding directly British symbolism (the Union Jack) is a point I took to design my proposal below, admittedly inspired by Qing flag:


The blue background represents the British past and the port of Hong Kong. The dragon (and the red details) shows the Chinese culture of the region, and its golden color stands for the financial importance of Hong Kong for the world; notice it appears in the last three flags I showed. The white disk, apart from the rising sun, represents the nickname of "pearl of the Orient" given by the British and present in the coat of arms they attributed to there.

It's, obviously, only one of many paradigms one could take to create such flag.

Comments are welcome.
Notice I tried to be the most politically-neutral I could.

12 Nov 2014

Montevideo (Montevideo, Uruguay)

I've been reading the list of sister cities of my hometown, São Paulo, Brazil, and I noticed some of them don't have official flags. One of them is Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay and one of the best cities in Lati America to live.

The city, however, has a coat of arms, that appears in the second quarter of the Uruguay's. A previous version contained olive crowns, British colours in the floor, etc. in reference to the decisive participation of the city in the siege of Buenos Aires. The current version, simpler, is the following:


The shield contains a view of the Montevideo hill (cerro) with the respective fortress, now named General Artigas, with a view of the River Plate (Río de la Plata). The shield also reads "Con libertad, ni offendo ni temo", a famous quote by general Artigas that means "With freedom, I neither offend nor fear".

My interpretation of the coat of arms into a flag is the following:


My personal touch was making the river white, a refence to the Río de la Plata, whose name means, literally, "silver's river". The shade of blue is the same of Uruguayan flag.

Comments are welcome.
Sorry for the delay posting this flag. I was busy this week.

4 Nov 2014

Bangladesh

Today, I'll give my proposal to a possible new flag to Bangladesh. It's a very simple and meaningful flag, but I think the colors lack contrast, as you can see in the image below:

The red disk represents the sun and the blood shed for the independence. The green background represents the lush nature of the country. The golden yellow was present in the former flag of the country, so I decided that it could be a good color to divide the red and the green.

I also added some elements from the country's "emblem": the water lily, the national flower, and the wavy stripes, representing the many rivers of the country, that are also much important to Bangladesh's economy.

Comments are welcome.
Suggestions for new posts, etc. will be gladly received.

28 Oct 2014

Portugal: regions

According to 1976 Portuguese Constitution, the country should be divided in administrative regions. It never happened in continental Portugal until then, but Azores and Madeira, in Atlantic Ocean, have their own autonomous regions.

Those regions don't have flags, so I'll give some proposals. The number of proposed regions in continental Portugal is variable, but I'll consider the seven below for this post:

  1. Entre Douro e Minho
  2. Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro
  3. Beira Litoral
  4. Beira Interior
  5. Estremadura e Ribatejo
  6. Alentejo
  7. Algarve

Seven is more flags than the average by post, so I like some of the flags below more or less.

The first flag I created was to Beira Interior. It's based in the flag flown by the Lusitanian leader Viriatus, that resisted to Roman conquest until his death, in 149 B.C. It's claimed that the flag consisted of a white cloth with a green two-legged dragon. Later, the green dragon became a Portuguese royal symbol.


Other region with a easy flag is Algarve. For long, the title of king of Algarve was subsidiary to that of king of Portugal. Some medieval heralds have attributed arms to the titular kingdom, consisting on a quartered shield with the heads of Saracen and European kings. the other of the heads and the field colors varying.

Firstly, a design with a more contemporary representation, and the armillary sphere from the current flag of Portugal:


Other variation I considered was a banner of arms, with a more Medieval depiction:


The flag of Entre Douro e Minho ("between Douro and Minho rivers") is punning: Douro sounds like "d'ouro" ("of gold"), and a possible etymology of Minho is "red" or "vermillion". The position of the stripes represents, more or less, the disposition of those rivers.


Following, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro ("behind the mountains and higher Douro"). I used the same symbolism for Douro, and the green mountains represents the name of Trás-os-Montes and some of its geographical features. I later noticed that the green mountains forms a "M" of Montes ("Mountains"). A curious note is that I have some ancestors from this region of Portugal.


For Alentejo ("beyond the Tejo river"), I designed a flag featuring the yellow of its large camps and the blue of its sky. The darker blue stripe represents the Guadiana river, that divides Portugal and Spain, and where the biggest dam of Western Europe is located.


For Estremadura e Ribatejo ("bounds of Douro and above the Tejo"), a white stripe representing the estuary of Tejo river, with black and white representing Lisbon and purple and white representing Setúbal.


For last, the hardest flag to be design, to Beira Litoral. You can see it below:


The blue cross on white represents the medieval County of Portugal, that would later gives origin to the kingdom of same name. Black and white are the colors of the traditional costumes of the University of Coimbra, one of the them oldest surviving European universities.

Comments are welcome.
The chosen map does not necessarily means I endorse it.

21 Oct 2014

United States of America [President]

The president of the United States of America only gained an all-purposes personal flag in 1902; previously, Army and Navy had their own representation of president's flag for a few decades.

The current design is from 1945, with slight changes after Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union:

However, the first proposal for a president's flag dates from 1817! Its author is Samuel Chester Reid, that also helped creating the rule that a star should be added to each new state while the stripes are fixed in 13. In a reproduction by George Preble:

Or, in a poor reconstruction of how it could look today, by me:

That flag was divided in four quarters, maybe inspired by British royal standard: on the first, a blue background with as many white stars as the number of states; on the second, the coat of arms in white field; the third, white, with a representation of Lady Liberty; on fourth, thirteen red and white stripes.

I decided to take inspiration on Reid's proposal to create a less boring presidential flag:

I decided to remove Lady Liberty, because she gets many different depictions e.g. the Statue of Liberty, in New York, and don't fit the rectangle well. The background of the design ins inspired by the current flag, with two quarters with the stars and two with the stripes. In the center of the flag, the coat of arms, like in current one.

I like it. I'm not sure about some hidden stars, though.

Comments are welcome.
Be gentle on comments, please.

15 Oct 2014

Caribbean Netherlands / BES islands (Netherlands)

The Caribbean Netherlands, also known as BES islands - because of the name of constituent Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba - emerged from the dissolution of Netherlands Antilles in 2011, together with now autonomous Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

Since then, the Netherlands Antilles lost its status as recognized Olympic committtee, the athletes competing in 2011 Pan-American Games and 2012 Olympic Games under PASO and IOC flags, respectively. It's not improbable that Curaçao ans Sin Maarten will gain any time their own separate Olympic committees, but SEB islands may not have same lucky and, currently, they can only compete under Aruba or Netherlands flags.

My first proposal was one of the first flags that I designed seriously, probably before the existance of this blog, so you can see some faults. Here's it, unedited:


This flag was inspired by the logo of the National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands (below), with Olympic rings and colors associated with Dutch sports:


I recently re-thought about the theme. My solution, much simpler than the previous, is the following:


It's a very simple idea: the Dutch flag, with wavy stripes (representing the insular aspect of the region), and the Olympic rings. Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius all have red, white and blue in their flags.

For non-sportive contexts, you can see this:


It's very simple, but, in some visibility conditions, can be too similar to Dutch national flag.

Comments are welcome.
RCN logo used under fair use.

7 Oct 2014

Goa (India)

I've recently knew that Goa hosted the last Lusophony Games earlier this year. The host team, however, competed as "India", even though, at least in some sports, like football, local athletes were the rule.

This way, they competed under Indian flag. Goa seems to have an unofficial flag, although I haven't found documental sources to it, that looks like this:


I really don't know what this building is supposed to be. Any information is gladly welcome!

As I never saw that flag in use, I decided to make a flag specially for sports and other Lusophone events, that showed the Portuguese influence but without a Portuguese look. The result is the following:


The background pattern represents the coat of arms of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese national hero that found the route to India through the Indian Ocean. It names the most important city of Goa. The cock was the mascot of the 2014 Lusophony Games and, as explained in this link, is very important to local culture.

Comments are welcome.
If you have additional informations about the Goa "unofficial" flag, please leave a comment.

23 Sep 2014

Isle of Arran (Scotland, United Kingdom)

Some islands and regions of Scotland seems to be gaining their own unofficial flags in last years. Looking at them, I noticed that the Isle of Arran, the biggest on the Firth of Clyde, is flagless.

The isle has a long and interesting history, much of which I wanted to represent in the flag, following:


A black saltire on white was the arms of the 5th Lord Maxwell, regent of the island (practically, a monarch) for five years in early 16th century. The saltire was turned in a Nordic cross, as the island was ruled by the Kingdom of Norway during the Viking Age. On the canton, a black lymphad with red flags, heraldic augmentation gained by the earls (now, dukes) of Hamilton when they became earls of Arran.

As far as I know, the black Nordic cross on white is currently unused by any entity, at least in United Kingdom.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.
No, this post in not intentionally related to Scottish refendum.

17 Sep 2014

Bir-Tawil, Hala'ib Triangle

While Egypt held Sudan in a condominium with United Kingdom, there were distinct political and administrative between the two countries; with Sudanese independence, both countries claims the Halai'b Triangle for themselves (making it a disputed territory), but Bir-Tawil for the others (making it a de jure terra nullius).

Due to the unclear sovereignity over these two areas, I intended to design "neutral" flags, that could be used by the two sides indistinctly. Both flags used pan-Arab colors.

For Bir-Tawil, I made the following design:

Both Egypt and Sudan use red-white-black (in this exact order) horizontal tricolor flags. The white trapezium represents the shape of the area and its location between the two countries. Red represents the Egyptian desert, as the Ancient Egyptians used to distinguish the black, floodable "black land" from the desertic "red land". Black represents Sudan's name etymology, "black man".

The Hala'ib Triangle flag has the geometrical shape that the area its name:

As explained for the previous flag, the black color represents both Sudan and the fertile Egypt. The red stripe in the fly represents the Red Sea. The triangle is obvious.

I think the result was two unique flags, but still very simple.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Please, no politics on the comments.

11 Sep 2014

Alamo City Rugby FC (TX, USA)

Alamo City Rugby Football Club is a rugby union team based in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recently, their "heraldic" badge appeared on the Heraldry Hall of Shame Facebook group, devoted to collect notably bad examples of heraldry.

Here's their supposed badge, as appeared on the group:

There are some issues that makes it un-heraldic: dark grey isn't a color traditionally found in heraldry, and there are many contrast issues (for examples, green on blue and blue on grey). So I decided to make a more heraldic version of it.

From the fourth quarter, the Texas flag was rotated and became an inescutcheon (a shield on the center of a bigger shield or part). The vertically-divided shield (said per pale in heraldic jargon) has two interesting features: each part refers to part of the club's name ("Alamo City" and "Rugby"), and their blue-white contrasts intendedly well with inescutcheon's white-red.

The first part is blue (the main color of the team) and contains the Alamo fortress, that gives the club its name, and an ox's skull, commonly featured in the symbol of the team. I like the result of this part because the Alamo, made of limestone, really has a white color, and the white skull on blue appears to be an unofficial logo of the club.

The second part has a vintage leather rugby ball (that I colored red with white details) between the green shamrocks (often represented in heraldry as trefoils), in a motif that alludes to the first quarter of current design.

I like the way that, without adding or removing elements, it's possible to transform a then totally un-heraldic device in a charming and conventional coat of arms.

Comments and suggestions are gladly  welcome.
I'll probably return with flags next weeks. We had two consecutive "etc." posts.

3 Sep 2014

Mercosur [car plates]

The Mercosur, a regional bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, intends to adopt uniform vehicle registration plates, like European Union already did. Trucks and buses must adopt it from 2016, other vehicles from 2018. On recent news, it's possible to see prototypes for the model, that can be seen here. I think the model rather ugly, so I decided for my own attempt.

The plates on the linked image follow the color scheme of respective countries. I'll, at first, design an unified color scheme, totally inspired in Mercosur's flag. They contain the blocs's flag (in Portuguese for Brazil, otherwise in Spanish), the national flags, the countries names in native language and the local identification (already used in Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela).


I particularly like the layout, and I think it's more similar to the current plates on the countries. I don't think a QR code is needed.

As I early wrote, the basic layout can be adapted to current colors and customs. Below, for example, there are vehicle plates inspired in current Brazilian ones.


I'm particularly happy with the results, because I achieved a clever color scheme with contrasting colors (fundamental to every type of plates).

Comments are welcome.
You can see my post about Mercosur flag here.

26 Aug 2014

Angola

After my post about Luanda, the capital of Angola, an anonymous commenter asked me about a "less politically loaded" flag for the country.

It's the current flag of the country:


The flag is strongly inspired by the flag of MPLA, the ruling party of Angola since its independence. Red used to stand for socialism, but, in current representation, represents courage and the blood shed; black stands for Africa. The central elements, inspired by the Soviet flag, represent the workers of the country.

An interesting starting point can be the flag that Angola almost adopted last decade:


The red color has the same symbolism of current flag. Blue stands for freedom, justice and solidarity; white, for peace, unity and harmony. The central element is a sun drawn in native art style. I think the sun element is too logo-ish to stand in the national flag.

So, my attempt resulted in the following flag:


The white fimbriations are purposedly big, representing the intended peace and harmony between the people and the parties after the end of the civil war. The blue, from the proposed flag, represent principles (freedom, justice, solidarity) that should be seeked; the red is present in the flag of Angola's three main parties (MPLA, UNITA and FNLA), and stands for the courage, heroism and blood; black stands for the African and Angolan people, and is an additional link for Pan-African colors.

My proposal presents only a tiny similarity to current national flag, and I hope it's acceptable both by likers and dislikers of current one. Its boldness and strong symbolism is, of course, something essential to a successful national flag.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.
The surprise I prepared to this week had to be postoponed to reasons out of my control. I'm sorry.