23 Jan 2013

Twin flags

Many flags are similar between themselves; others are almost identical. Between the national flags, it can be an issue: UN tried to convince Romania or Chad to change their almost identical flags, but both denied. But these attempts can have results: Liechtenstein added a crown to its flag to avoid the confusion with Haitian flag. Here are some unsolved examples:

Part I: Luxembourg and Netherlands


The colors of Luxembourg flag are based on the arms of Grand-Duke of Luxembourg, the head of state. Netherlands adopted those colors during the Batavian Republic, inspired by French revolutionary colors and as rejection to orange-white-blue Prince's Flag. In this specific case, the similarity is even worse because they are very near countries, although don't sharing borders.

But this issue is very near to solution: in 2007, the Luxembourg government approved the use of the banner of arms of Grand-Duchy (also used as naval ensign) as civil flag inside Luxembourger territory along with national flag, and someday it can totally supersede Luxembourg tricolor. It's the banner of arms:

This flag is much cooler, and much more relevant to the country, the reasons it has gained popular approval last years.

Part II: Andorra, Chad, Moldova and Romania


Andorra and Moldova at least use to put a coat of arms on it, but it doesn't work that well. Romania used to put their coat of arms, too, but it's a little in disuse. This issue is even more dramatic because Moldova and Romania share borders, so it's harder to know where you're passing to other side of border.

Andorra colors is a French tricolor with white and red changed by Spanish yellow and red, because Andorra is between France and Spain, and the co-princes of Andorra are the president of France and the bishop of Urgell (a Spanish Catholic diocese). It's my proposal to Andorra:

The yellow and red nine stripes (the senyera) is the arms of Catalonia, the Spanish autonomous community nearest Andorra, and where the See of Urgell is located. It's present in Andorra coat of arms (more above). The blue with the two fleurs-de-lis represent French condominium over Andorra. The number of fleur-de-lis represents the curious case of Andorra and its two co-princes.

The current design of Chad flag is inspired by pan-African colors, but with blue instead of green to avoid confusion with Mali (turning it identical to Romania...). My proposal is based on its coat of arms. See:

Moldova flag origin is exactly the flag of neighbor Romania with Moldovan coat of arms. My proposal is based on its coat of arms — a similar, but more complex flag, was yet proposed. My rendition:

I think this flag is easier to be changed. A flag based on Armed Forces flag or the flag of ancient Principality of Moldova are other options, in my opinion.

To Romania, a horizontal tricolor, used before the current vertical flag, can be an option. See:

It's OK, but I can come with a design by myself:

It represents a legend that states that the tricolor is a union of blue and red from Moldavia and blue and yellow from Transylvania. However I think Romania would be last to change its flag.

Part III: Indonesia and Monaco


Both countries has excellent alternatives from their pasts and presents, so I don't know why they insist to keep the issue.

For Indonesia, there's the flag of Majapahit Empire, currently used as naval ensign and naval jack, consisting of nine red and white stripes:

For Monaco, there's other very reasonable flag: the banner of arms of House of Grimaldi (Monaco royal family), used many times unofficially, specially in 17th century, but still present in rare occasions (also unofficially):

This flag is so Monegasque in origin and use that I can't see why it's not used officially.

Part IV: American seals-on-bedsheet

Many USA state flags use a seal or a coat of arms on a blue background (see), what make them almost unrecognizable in distance. You can see my proposals to USA states on my blog, and by many other authors at Vexillology Wiki. I highly recommend the visit!

Your comment is very important to the blog. Leave a comment, please.
It's an early gift in commemoration to the first birthday of the blog, in February 19th.

16 Jan 2013

Ceará (Brazil) [II]

To read the original post, click here.

Last year, I ran a series about Brazilian state flags (the epilogue of series can be seen here). After that, unsatisfied with my early proposal to Rio Grande do Norte, I made a new one. I decided that I'd redo my Ceará flag in a next opportunity, and this is the time. First, look at current state flag and, after that, my early proposal:

You can see a complete rationale about problems in current flag in original post, the biggest of them, obviously, is the excessive similarity with Brazil national flag. I like my early proposal because it represents Ceará state in all its nuances. But the result is maybe too complicated to be used as a flag (I still think it could do a good banner of arms), so I decided to returned to simplicity.

My first decision was make the reference to Brazil flag present in current flag, but in a more subtle way: keeping the lozenge layout, but changing the colors. It'll be charged with the jangada (that kind of raft you can see on both flags above). So I come with two proposals:

The yellow background represents the beaches, symbols of that sunny state, while blue is for the sea (alternatively, they can represent, respectively, the semi-arid interior and the dikes), where navigates the jangada. The first proposal uses a yellow raft, keeping the flag with only two colors, what's a great deal in manufacturing aspect. But the second, with a white one, shakes my heart with more intensity (notice that a jangada has, naturally, a white candle). What do you prefer?

Please, send your comment. It's important to the blog.
Soon you'll see my proposal to Fortaleza, capital city of Ceará. Wait!

10 Jan 2013


Fiji is going to approve a new Constitution, and it was confirmed that the national flag will be changed. First, let's see current Fiji flag:

The flag of Fiji was chose in a contest in 1970. The winner proposal was very simple: a light blue flag (representing Pacific Ocean), with national coat of arms and United Jack on canton. It was confirmed that the Union Jack will be removed, so I tried not to be much monarchist. And I tried to represent Fiji itself in place of current government. This was the result:

Although I think Fiji flag is aesthetically poor, I tried to take some resemblance, because it's a popular flag. The white dove is a symbol of peace. It's present on Fiji current coat of arms and in a previous, precolonial, flag. The green palm tree comes from coat of arms, too, and from national rugby team logo. Blue continues to symbolize the Pacific Ocean, but also sky and stability. Green is for land and hope. The dove, that traditionally should be turned to left, is turned to right like if facing Fiji's future.

Every comment is welcome.
This is a blog about flags, not Politics!

9 Jan 2013

São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil)

I would have difficult to find a better flag to Brazil or my state, but for my city, surprisingly, it was very fast. First, let's how the current flag looks like:

The first, obvious, try, was remove the coat of arms in the center:

I'm certain the combination of Order of Christ's cross (a Portuguese Templar branch) and the Nordic cross would be a pretty unique flag, but I think I could do something better.

The São Paulo coat of arms depicts a flag with the Order of Christ's cross, similar to flag above, in reference to Portuguese colonization and the city foundation by Jesuit priests. But, usually, the cross is incorrectly depicted in city coat of arms (see this image of a true bus). As Cananeia, a city not so far São Paulo, uses a (almost) correct Order of Christ's cross, São Paulo should use that wrong depiction as an exclusive mark. This is my final design, with that depiction:

I like mainly the grey shade, proper to a city of about 11 million inhabitants. It can be easily adapted to other uses, as department logos. Looks the following example, with a green color to the "Municipal Secretary of the Green and the Environment":

I liked, but I'm biased about my city, so your opinion is important!

Please, comment; it's easy and you don't need a Google account.
I think January will be a month of many posts; wait!

7 Jan 2013

Manaus (Amazonas, Brazil)

OK, I'll start these series with one of the flags I liked most: Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state and biggest city of Brazilian Amazon. First, let's look at Manaus flag:

I've said before how this coat of arms is wrong: shield with wrong shape, the crest isn't an usual element in Brazilian municipal heraldry, no mural crown, landmark never is an excellent idea, etc. By the way, the Portuguese flag in second canton, that should represent the colonials, is anachronistic: Portugal only adopted it in 1911 (Brazil is an independent country since 1822).

So I needed to decide what I'd use to represent Manaus in the flag. My first thought was the Municipal Theater, a splendid heritage from the times Manaus was one of the richest cities of the Americas (early 20th century). I think we could change something easier of being drawn. In the end, I was between the Victoria amazonica and the Meeting of Waters; I chose the last. It's the result:

It's a good opportunity to explain what's the Meeting of Waters. It's the place where Rio Negro (biggest Amazon river tributary and biggest dark water river in the world) meets Rio Solimões (the name Amazon river receives from the Brazilian borders to there), creating an amazing landmark because, as the two rivers has different densities, temperatures, etc., they flow together for kilometers before mixing their waters.

In the flag, the flag part represent the Rio Negro (literally, "Black River") and the orange represents the Rio Solimões (of muddy look). The green represents the Amazon forest that gives many treasures to the city. A very geometrical and colorful design. I like it.

Your comment is welcome. Please, leave a comment.
Probably, the next flag is Fiji. Wait!

1 Jan 2013

Brazilian Capital Cities Flag

2013 just started (by the way, Happy New Year to everybody!), and I'll present the new blog series: flags for the Brazilian states' capital cities, after 2012 Brazilian state flags. For now, let's take a look at the current flags:

Aracaju has a complex coat of arms, and it's too reminiscent of state flag. Belém and Belo Horizonte are two bad flag (although Belém is worse than BH). Boa Vista is excellent: simple, effective, and reminiscent of state flag just right. Brasília flag (actually the Federal District one) is simply beautiful; Cuiabá is apparently inspired in Brasília, but the writings is your sin, needing only small changes.

Campo Grande, Curitiba and Goiânia follows a contemporary Brazilian fashion that doesn't make me happy: they are practically indistinguishable with the many other cities that adopts this pattern. Florianópolis and Fortaleza, in other hand, uses better patterns but its quality is eclipsed by the complex coat of arms.

João Pessoa and Macapá has two excellent coat of arms, proving that a good flag can still be made with traditional shapes and figures. You can see my proposals to Maceió here, and Natal here. The kind of coat of arms present in Manaus flag, with a rococo baroque appeal, seems to me out-of-fashion for centuries, anti-heraldic (presence of full scenes), and chronologically wrong: Portugal only adopted that flag a century after Brazilian independence.

Palmas intelligently bases it coat of arms in beautiful state flag, with an amazing result. Porto Velho flag is also very original and interesting. In other hand, Porto Alegre, Rio Branco and Vitória follows the same pattern of Belo Horizonte, and obtains the same poor result, not so different of São Luís, Rio de Janeiro and Teresina.

Recife flag idea is good, but the over-complexity undertakes the result. Salvador has an excellent heraldic flag, if you think that city's name can be translated as "Savior". Lastly, São Paulo, my home city, with a curious mix of the Order of Christ's cross and the Scandinavian cross flags, but compromised by the coat of arms.

If I counted correctly, there are seven flags that I'll keep integrally (Boa Vista, Brasília, João Pessoa, Macapá, Palmas, Porto Velho and Salvado — if you notice, the five newest capitals are here), two flags I already posted (Maceió and Natal), seven flag I had finished during my vacations, and more eleven flag that I still need to do. So there's more 18 flags to be published!

It's a good opportunity to subscribe the blog, and therefore doesn't lose any future post of the series. You can choice between the Google feeds (becoming a blog member) or subscribe directly from your e-mail (Google account doesn't required in this case).
As it'll last many months, I'll mix the Brazilian capital cities with many other designs, including a birthday special I'm yet preparing.