Coming up Sunday: Adventures in Vexillology

This Sunday, in light of the closing ceremony of the Olympics and the attendant parade of nations, my friend Brandon and I will each be ranking our 10 favourite national flags on our respective blogs.

Here’s the thing: Brandon, who is a web designer, will be ranking the flags aesthetically, from a design perspective. I will be basing my rankings on the use of historical and political symbolism. There will no doubt be significant differences between our rankings. The only question is: Will there be any overlap?

Of course, I won’t reveal any of my picks until Sunday (I presume Brandon has taken similar steps to prevent leaks and discourage whistleblowers), but here are the factors I’ll be considering when choosing my top 10 flags:

Use of unique symbolism

Does the flag reflect the country’s unique circumstances? Can you learn something about the country’s history, politics or geography from the flag?

Is there really nothing else to see in the South Pacific other than the southern cross in the sky?  Ooh, your flag has an eagle on it? How original!

Originality in symbolism of colours

Of course, every country’s flag is intended to be full of meaning. But it seems like the symbolism of many flag’s colours tends to be pretty similar. I give high marks to flags whose colours have meanings that deviate from the standard interpretations.

Oh, oh, let me guess! The blue stands for the sky! The green stands for the land! And could it be that the red is for the blood your soldiers have shed?

Potency of political symbolism

Once again, all flags have some symbolic meaning, but many have rather banal and obvious symbols. Sure, a stylised representation of some topographical feature in your country is nice, but I prefer something that has multiple layers of meaning and that makes a statement about your country’s view of itself and its place in the world.

So these are my criteria. If you have a blog, and think you have some other perspective on how national flags should be ranked, then by all means, join this fool’s errand, and send us a link to your estimation of the vexillological victors.


One response to “Coming up Sunday: Adventures in Vexillology

  1. It’s disturbing how excited I am by this idea… I might rip it off for my European history course this fall, when we spend a week on nationalism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s