Laos to Norway

 

Laos

Flag of Laos

Bad Colour SchemeDull

Ah, yeah, you see what you’ve done there? You’ve allowed red and blue to touch. Schoolboy error. And it’s kinda boring, sorry.

Score: 2/10

Latvia

Flag of Latvia

DullTwo Tone

Wow, Latvia really went all out on this design, eh? Oh well, at least the colours aren’t offensive, unlike the flag of Lithuania (see below).

Score: 3/10

Lebanon

Flag of Lebanon

Bad Colour SchemeFoliage

There’s not a lot you can really say about this effort from Lebanon, although I’m not really a fan of the colour scheme and the cedar tree in the middle could probably do with being a little more stylised and a little less of a green blob.

Score: 4/10

Lesotho

Flag of Lesotho

Good Colour Scheme

Nothing wrong with this little ol’ effort from little ol’ Lesotho. Wins extra points for having a crazy hat as its central motif. Yes, it’s a hat. They still wear them!

Score: 8/10

Liberia

Flag of Liberia

Good Colour SchemeStrikingPlagiarism

Liberia was the one and only American colony in Africa, so despite the blatant plagiarism, this flag fits the bill quite nicely. While it’s not going to win any awards for originality, it’s still a very decent flag – one I often see hanging off the back of cargo ships.

Score: 7/10

Libya

Flag of Libya

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconicMoon

How things can change! Last year the flag of Libya would have got 0/10, it just being green, simply green. No pattern, no design, no stylised motif, just… green. But now look at this little masterpiece! A colour scheme to die for, the crescent moon (which on this occasion looks fantastic) and star perfectly proportioned, no writing and no weaponry. Excellent. Welcome back, Libya.

Score: 9/10

Liechtenstein

Flag of Liechtenstein

Bad Colour SchemeDull

Yuck. I keep harping on about the basic graphic design mistake of having blue and red touch each other and even the French understand the importance of this never happening on a flag. The crown isn’t so bad, I guess, but a different colour scheme would definitely be a plus.

Score: 2/10

Lithuania

Flag of Lithuania

Bad Colour SchemeTricolourEyesore

BLURGH!! This is horrible! The same colours as my ‘bad colours’ icon! An insipid Tricolour of pinky-red, goblin green and not-quite yellow. No, no, no and no.

Score: 0/10

Luxembourg

Flag of Luxembourg

TricolourPlagiarismDull

Oh look, it’s the flag of the Netherlands, only a slightly different shade of crappy boring.

Score: 1/10

Macedonia

Flag of Macedonia

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconicTwo Tone

POW! Macedonia’s ol’ glory here, reminiscent of the Japan-at-war flag that I’ve already expressed admiration for, shining forth in all directions, bold and exciting. It just does everything right. I love it. Alexander would be proud.

Score: 10/10

Madagascar

Flag of Madagascar

Bad Colour SchemeDull

If it wasn’t for the wretched colour scheme, this would just be boring, as it is, it’s positively offensive. It reminds me of Qix. Anyone remember Qix?

Score: 1/10

Malawi

Flag of Malawi

Bad Colour SchemeEyesoreSun

I quite liked the 2010-2012 flag of Malawi, it had a decent colour scheme (see Libya!), and an otherwise boring tricolour enlivened by a big white explosion of sunshine. Lovely. This, (the pre-2010 flag which will be re-adopted later this year)  however, is not as cool. Maybe if it was just a red sun rising from the red ground against a black sky, I would have less of a problem. But seriously, those touching green and red bands are giving me a migraine.

Score: 2/10

Malaysia

Flag of Malaysia

Good Colour SchemeBad Colour SchemeMoon

This is a flag on the cusp of greatness, a greatness it never quite achieves. A nice nod and wink to the alternating red and white stripes of the British East India Company (NOT the United States of America) is always nice, but I can’t get away from the fact that the star and crescent moon are yellow against a blue background. Plus the moon is too big and the star is too busy. I really can’t make my mind up about this one (it’s the only flag in this entire review that gets both a ‘good colour scheme’ AND a ‘bad colour scheme’ logo), so I’m going to split the difference and give it 5/10.

Score: 5/10

Maldives

Flag of Maldives

Bad Colour SchemeEyesoreMoon

Eww… what’s with the pinky-red wrapped around the verdant green? It’s making my monitor hurt! Come on, Maldives, pick up your game.

Score: 1/10

Mali

Flag of Mali

TricolourDullPlagiarism

Yet another of the eminently interchangeable tricolours of Africa.

Score: 3/10

Malta

Flag of Malta

IconicDull

The interesting thing about the civil flag of Malta is that’s not a Maltese Cross in the top left, it’s a wonderfully understated George Cross, awarded to the entire nation of Malta for their courage and valour during World War II. Although the rest of the flag is as dull as dull can be (hmm… half red and half white… I’ve seen that somewhere before…), I’m giving Malta a thumbs-up for giving those dastardly Nazis what-for.

BTW, their civil ensign does feature a Maltese Cross.

Score: 9/10

Marshall Islands

Flag of The Marshall Islands

Good Colour SchemeStrikingWTF?

You know what? I quite like this. It looks like a NASA mission badge from 1973. And its got this marvellous sense of perceptive. Or maybe I’m dreaming and it looks like the carton your tube of toothpaste came in.

Score: 7/10

Mauritania

Flag of Mauritania

Bad Colour SchemeDull

A boring, conservative flag from a boring, conservative country. Plus at that angle, the crescent moon could quite easily be mistaken for a yellow toe-nail clipping. Or a grinning Cyclops. Eek!

Score: 1/10

Mauritius

Flag of Mauritius

Bad Colour Scheme

Mauritius is a colourful country, so it makes sense for it to have a colourful flag, but these particular colours? In this particular style? It’s a big no from me. If you want to see these colours (and more!) done right, see South Africa.

Score: 3/10

Mexico

Flag of Mexico

Good Colour SchemeBirdCrestComplicated

Mexico here celebrating its Italian(?) heritage with a little Green/White/Red number. I’ve marked it up for featuring an eagle, on a cactus, eating a snake. I’ve marked it down for the sheer complexity of the design. Flags should feature bold symbols that are easy for everyone to draw, not just Michelangelo.

Score: 5/10

Micronesia

Flag of Micronesia

DullToo Many Stars

Four white stars representing the four states of Micronesia (Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei & Kosrae) set against a light blue background. Looks like the logo of the least cool gang in school.

Score: 1/10

Moldova

Flag of Moldova

Bad Colour SchemePlagiarismCrestBird

Romania, Chad, Moldova, Andorra: for heaven’s sake you guys, YOU’VE ALL GOT THE SAME FLAG!!! Sort it out, lads.

Score: 1/10

Monaco

Flag of Indonesia

Dull

As boring as it gets, but gets one point for NOT being the flag of Indonesia. Although — top flag geek fact — the flags of Monaco and Indonesia are slightly different. Monaco’s has a squarer 1:1.25 proportion whilst Indonesia is more of a widescreen 1:1.5. TRUE!

Score: 1/10

Mongolia

Flag of Mongolia

Bad Colour SchemeWTF?

Sure, the colour scheme here leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s sufficiently mental to adequately represent Mongolia and I quite like the yellow logo. It reminds me of Angry Birds.

Score: 5/10

Montenegro

Flag of Montenegro

Good Colour SchemeStrikingBird

Montenegro may be one of the newest members of the UN, but it goes straight to the top of the class with this lovely old-school red and gold number. A stylised double-headed eagle clutching a sceptre and orb, a lion on a shield, topped off with a dainty little crown. Complex enough to fit all that in, but simple enough to be recognisable at a distance. Gets a bonus point for the lovely gold frame.

Score: 9/10

Morocco

Flag of Morocco

Good Colour SchemeStrikingTwo Tone

Yes it looks like the flag for the Magic Circle (does the Magic Circle have a flag?), but the red background and simple green pentagram conspire to form a standard that brims with the promise of mystery, adventure, excitement and magic in a far-away land. In that it perfectly personifies Morocco, so I give this flag a massive thumbs up.

Score: 9/10

Mozambique

Flag of Mozambique

WeaponaryWTF?

Gets all possible marks removed for featuring an AK47. Fail.

Score: 0/10

Namibia

Flag of Namibia

Good Colour SchemeSun

I really like the way the colours stream up across this flag, but I think it could probably do without the rather meek looking sun top left.

Score: 7/10

Nauru

Flag of Nauru

WTF?

I know it looks upside down, but there’s plucky old Nauru, just a couple of degrees under the equator!! So it’s a map, right? And I guess since Nauru is shaped like a potato, a white star is eminently preferable. But is ‘we’re just south of the equator!’ really the message you want to convey to the world? Or does this flag cleverly represent Nauru’s current economic woes – the yellow band symbolising ‘solvency’…?

Score: 2/10

Nepal

Flag of Nepal

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconicWTF?

Ah, why did nobody else think of cutting their flag into a different shape? How typically Nepalese. Brilliant. Instantly recognisable. Win.

Score: 8/10

Netherlands

Flag of The Netherlands

TricolourPlagiarismDull

This sleeping French flag… is… making… me… sleeeeeeepy zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Score: 1/10

New Zealand

Flag of New Zealand

Good Colour SchemePlagiarism

Three for the Union Jack, nowt for having the same frikkin’ flag as Australia (although note while their stars are red, the Kiwis are smart enough not to have them touch the blue background without a white buffer zone).

Come on you Kiwis, a silver fern on a black background would get 10/10. Trust me!!

Score: 3/10

Nicaragua

Flag of Nicaragua

PlagiarismCrestTextWTF?

Seriously, Nicaragua, the flag of Argentina AGAIN? Hey, I know… why don’t you come up with a completely new design? Then you wouldn’t need to put your name and address on the damn thing.

And what the holy flying monkeys is going on in that triangle? What the hell is that THING shining bright in the air above a lake and the mountains under… horror of horrors… a RAINBOW? Who the hell puts a rainbow on their flag?? Next thing you know it’ll be unicorns dancing in the moonlight of an alien world…

Score: 1/10

Niger

Flag of Niger

Bad Colour SchemeDull

As boring as it is weird. I mean, it looks more Asian than African. And what’s with the central disc being the same colour as the upper third? Bah!

Score: 1/10

Nigeria

Flag of Nigeria

TricolourDull

What’s the only thing more boring than a tricolour? A tricolour with only two colours!! While not unsightly, this is still as dull as it gets. Although I’m going to give three points just for the stupidly MASSIVE Nigerian flag I saw in Calabar which was pretty damn awesome.

Score: 3/10

North Korea

Flag of North Korea

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconic

Although the government of North Korea is quite frankly the worst in the world, and I dearly hope that in my lifetime Korea will be re-unified and this flag will be a thing of the past, I have to admit that this is a rather attractive standard. A bold and decisive use of the classic red, white and blue. This thing knows it’s a flag and dresses accordingly.

Score: 8/10

Northern Ireland

Flag of Northern Ireland

WTF?

The usual flag we see for Northern Ireland (and the one that’s been banned for years, possibly by the taste police) is this aggressively ugly monstrosity that sullies the otherwise attractive cross of St. George with a red hand in the middle of it, as though saying STOP! (in the name of love). I know it’s the red hand of Ulster, but for a region with so much literal blood on its hands, this is not a good look.

Score: 0/10

Northern Ireland (Alternative)

Flag of Saint Patrick

Good Colour SchemeStriking

In a country that is so divided by religion, symbols are important, which is why I can’t figure out why the flag of Northern Ireland isn’t just the flag of St. Patrick. The Republic of Ireland isn’t using it, it’s aesthetically pleasing, authentically Irish AND it’s already an integral part of the Union Jack. Surely this could keep both sides happy? Then again, I’m not holding my breath.

Score: 9/10

Norway

Flag of Norway

Good Colour Scheme

The fourth of our Scandy Five and an inversion of the flag of Iceland. I do like it a lot, but I can’t help but feel that Iceland got the (slightly) better deal.

Score: 6/10

Find Papa Smurf’s hat!!

Smurf Hat!As strange as it may sound, the designers of the flags of the world must have got together at some point and decided to cleverly incorporate Papa Smurf’s Hat into the designs of FIVE of the world’s 193 flags (presumably as some kind of Geo-Vexillological Easter Egg Hunt). Your challenge is to find all five! The fourth hat is hidden somewhere on this page. Good luck!!

 

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4 thoughts on “Laos to Norway”

  1. I’m from Northern Ireland Graham and I love your work – videos, site, story etc. You’re also clued up on politics and culture which is a breath of fresh air. It’s nice to see you including these two flags to represent Northern Ireland. I use the top one, but equally have no problem with the bottom one. Safe travels. Jonny

    1. I just love the fact that it’s levitating. And shining! Is it a star? Is it a bird? NO! It’s a FLOPPY HAT LIKE WHAT PAPA SMURF WEARS!! Genius.

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