Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Makes for a Good Flag?

What makes for a good flag?

There is actually an organization that thinks about such things. The North American Vexillological Association is devoted to the scientific and scholarly study of flags. What appears to be their most recent survey of city flags was done in 2004 and can be found here. Their second favorite American city flag is the following:

Image result for flag chicago

Why is this flag considered so effective? Using the five basic principles of flag design as promulgated by NAVA, Chicago's flag works because:

1.  The design is simple. Anyone could draw this on a small sheet of paper within a minute and other people -- at least other Chicagoans -- would be able to recognize it.

2.  It incorporates meaningful symbolism. The three white stripes represent the North, West, and South Sides of the city. The top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River while the other signifies the South Branch and associated canals. The four distinctive six-sided stars honor four major events in the city’s history: Fort Dearborn, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Century of Progress Exposition of 1933–34. On occasion someone proposes a fifth star. IT WOULD DEFINITELY HAPPEN if the Cubs ever win another World Series.

3. It uses just three basic colors. The fewer the better. NAVA's favorite city flag uses only two.

Image result for flag washington dc
Flag of Washington, D.C.
 4. There is no lettering. There are no seals. Such things tend to be difficult to read, do not reduce well, and do not translate on the reverse side.

5.  It's distinctive. Chicago's flag has unique six-pointed stars. While the flag is red, white, and blue, the shade of blue is distinct from that used in the American flag.

If you go to Chicago you will see the city's flag.
It's everywhere, such as

Image result for flag chicago flying
flying besides all municipal buildings,

Image result for flag chicago cops
police wear it on their sleeves,

Image result for flag chicago hats
on apparel,

Image result for flag chicago mugs
and all kinds of other stuff.
Further, folks alter the design to create all kinds of cool things.
Image result for flag chicago tattooImage result for flag chicagoImage result for flag chicagoImage result for flag chicago bicycle

Even if some of it might be unwanted.

Image result for flag chicago marijuana

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