Flag of Taiwan

Bad Colour SchemeSun

Red and blue together tend to clash, and I can’t work out what is trying to be expressed in the design of this flag, all I can think is far too much red with not much going on. Although kudos for featuring a white sun, much preferable to a yellow one.

Score: 3/10


Flag of Tajikistan

Good Colour Scheme

Here’s a country that 99% of people would struggle to identify on a map of the world so they really should have gone for a more funky design (see: Bhutan). However, I’m going to give them a few points for the gold crown in the middle juggling stars. Shame you have to squint to see it when up a flagpole.

Score: 4/10


Flag of Tanzania

Good Colour Scheme

This feels a little too pastel-ly for me, When it comes to flags, I’m more of a vibrant colour kinda guy. The flag of Tanzania is by no means a bad effort, but it doesn’t scream ‘Africa!’ as loud and proud as some of its neighbours.

Score: 5/10


Flag of Thailand

Good Colour Scheme

It looks like a beach towel, which I guess is appropriate for Thailand, but still, it looks like a beach towel.

Score: 4/10


Flag of Togo

Bad Colour SchemeWTF?Eyesore

Eek! A cacophony of some of the worse colour choices imaginable. I mean, green and yellow alternating stripes? Seriously?

Score: 2/10


Flag of Tonga

Good Colour SchemeTwo ToneDull

I don’t quite know what to make of this one, an inverted Swiss flag in the corner of what otherwise looks like an naval ensign. Was Tonga a Swiss protectorate at some point in history? In any case, it’s hardly the most exciting flag in the world.

Score: 3/10

Trinidad and Tobago

Flag of Trinidad and Tobago

Good Colour SchemeStriking

I know it’s a very straight-forward design, but I really like this one: would look good as a paintjob on a racing car.

Score: 8/10


Flag of Tunisia

Good Colour SchemeTwo TonePlagiarism

It’s a nice little compact design they’re got going on there but it’s just a bit too similar to…

Score: 4/10


Flag of Turkey

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconicTwo Tone

Four red flags in a row eh? Popular colour I guess. Here we have the original and best use of the ol’ crescent moon and star on a national flag – Turkey, birthplace of the Ottoman Empire. Simple, elegant, well balanced and aesthetically pleasing. Good stuff!

Score: 9/10


Flag of Turkmenistan

Bad Colour SchemeToo Many StarsMoonEyesoreComplicatedWTF?

What the hell is going on here?? Why is there a strip of carpet running down the left hand side of this flag? And why is the background green? And why is the moon the wrong way round? And… and… and… oh forget it Jake, it’s Turkmenistan.

Score: 1/10


Flag of Tuvalu

Good Colour SchemeToo Many Stars

Keeping it in the family with their southern neighbour Fiji, the delightful (but critically endangered) island nation of Tuvalu has opted for the Union Jack against a sea blue background, which isn’t my favourite colour to use on a flag, but I’m going to let them have this one. The stars may look scattered randomly, thrown across the canvas with gay abandon, but they’re actually a map representing the positions of the 9 islands of Tuvalu.

However, they’re only in the right place if up = west. Since I always like up to be north, I’m going to arbitrarily mark them down for that. But overall, it’s not an unpleasant little flag, and I guess as each island sinks beneath the waves they can ask the UN to remove the corresponding island star until there’s none left. Like a global-warming version of Battleships.

Score: 6/10


Flag of Uganda

Good Colour SchemeStrikingBirdEyesoreWTF?

Blimey! That’s, er, some shirt you’ve got on there, Uganda. Let me just fetch my sunglasses as it’s kinda stinging my eyes a bit. But I’m going to give you a good score, you know why? Because the bird in the middle of your flag is sporting a goddamn MOHAWK. That is so frikkin’ awesome I don’t know where to begin.

Score: 8/10


Flag of Ukraine

Bad Colour SchemeDullDullDull

Is that it? Really? You’re kidding aren’t you?

Back to the drawing board, Ukraine, and put some effort into it next time.

Score: 0/10

United Arab Emirates

Flag of the United Arab Emirates

Good Colour SchemePlagiarismDull

A very conservative flag here from the UAE, there’s little charm and even less originality, so it’s a no from me.

Score: 2/10

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Flag of the United Kingdom

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconic

Best. Flag. Ever. And I’m not just saying that because it’s mine. The Union Flag (affectionately called the Union Jack, something that pedants find wonderfully irritating – technically, it’s only a ‘Jack’ if it’s flown from a Jack Staff) is a design classic: a barnstorming effort that puts 99% of other national flags to shame.

The Union Jack is so overwhelmingly splendiflous that it finds itself incorporated into the national flags of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tuvalu for no other reason other than it looks ace. The clever overlaying of the flags of St. Patrick, St. Andrew and St. George results in an explosion of grooviness that the rest of the world can only look at and sigh “if only our flag looked this good….”.

Can you imagine a Ukrainian James Bond skiing off a cliff then busting open a drab blue and yellow parachute? Or a French Austin Powers driving an E-type Jag daubed with a tricolour paintjob? No, neither can I – in any case, depending what angle you looked at it, it could be the flag for the Netherlands. Or Luxembourg. Or Paraguay. HA!

Unlike a boring old tricolour, The Union Jack is one of the most instantly recognisable symbols in the world and is not even remotely similar to any other nation’s flag.

But being famous and unique only gets you so far in this flagtastic list of standards, pennants and ol’ glories. You’ve also got to look several shades of quite frankly awesome. And in that respect the Union Jack again rises to the challenge, twirls its dastardly moustache and pisses all over the competition.

The colour scheme of the Union Jack is nothing short of genius: cleverly constructed so that red and blue do not touch (even 250 years ago we knew that would look bloody awful) and the way that St. Patrick’s red saltire weaves in and out of the design is a masterstroke. It looked cool in 1801 and still looks cool today.

It therefore breaks my heart to see this vexillogical masterpiece hijacked by the far right in the UK. This is a design for all Brits, symbolic of the coming together of the cultures, peoples and spirit of the British Isles, a tradition that has been going on – for better or for worse – for over 2,000 years.

Thank God then for the 2012 Olympics. The sight of double-gold winning Somali refugee Mo Farah running with THIS FLAG proudly draped over his shoulders was the moment that the good people of Britain finally took back what is rightfully ours from the fucktards of the BNP. Long my we stand by our flag and not feel racist or partial.

There’s a lot of history rolled up in this thing, and of course not all of it is going to be good, but the fact remains that this was the flag that once flew over a quarter of the world; you can’t say it failed to dress for the occasion.

Score: 11/10

United States of America

Flag of the United States of America

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconicToo Many Stars

Credit where credit’s due: the star-spangled banner is an incredible looking flag. With 50 stars and 13 stripes it should look way too busy, but somehow it pulls it off… and pulls it off in style.

The US flag would be iconic even if wasn’t that good, as it features in so much stuff we watch on TV and in film – but for a design that’s been shoved down our (non-American) throats for so long, it still has an aesthetic appeal of its own that is difficult to dispute.

The colours: red, white and blue(!) couldn’t possibly raise any complaints from me. The stars are excellently arranged, and the 13 horizontal stripes (representing the 13 original states of the US) balance out well. I do find it amusing that for a country that obsesses like a crazy cat lady over the number 13 (you never find a 13th floor in an American building: a childish idiosyncrasy that is, unfortunately, spreading its way around the world) that they are happy to have 13 stripes on their flag, but there you go.

The American flag has been integral to the melting-pot mentality of the US, the flag replacing the monarch as something to which all true yanks – whatever their ancestry – can swear allegiance (making children swear allegiance to the president would be cruel – especially if that president was, say, George W Bush). It also makes a nice change to see a bit of Americana that hasn’t been copyrighted by some greedy lawyer. It’ll be due for an update this year as Puerto Rico becomes a state… I wonder how they plan to fit that extra star in. But these things aside, the Stars and Stripes stand on their own two feet and, all in all, this is a barnstorming effort from our cousins across the pond.

Although I would have given it 10/10 if there was still a Union Jack in the corner 😉

Score: 9/10


Flag of Uruguay

Good Colour SchemeSun

A really good one here from Uruguay. It’s got the same Sunny Jim as neighbouring Argentina, but unlike Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, opts not to copy the boring blue-white-blue bit, instead stealing that part from Greece. Yey!

Score: 8/10


Flag of Uzbekistan

Bad Colour SchemeToo Many StarsWTF?

With the crescent moon and stars neatly arranged in the top left corner, it looks like it was designed by an accountant. And what’s with the red fimbriation? Eek!

Score: 2/10


Flag of Vanuatu

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconic

A truly wonderful flag here from Vanuatu, and for my money the best in the entire Pacific region. The logo is simple yet well defined, the colour scheme is beyond criticism and the design manages to be unique without being complicated. Thumbs up Vanuatu!

Score: 9/10

Vatican City

Flag of Vatican City

Bad Colour SchemeCrestComplicated

You don’t need me to tell you that yellow and white aren’t the greatest colour combo. The cross keys with the triple crowns would be a lot more acceptable if they were simplified, stylised and preferably all one colour. But at least Vatican City’s flag is not as silly as the pope’s hat. Or his beliefs!

Score: 2/10


Flag of Venezuela

Bad Colour SchemeToo Many Stars

Same old lousy colour scheme courtesy of Señor Bolivar, but at least Venezuela has equal-sized bands (unlike Colombia) and the rainbow of stars are a nice touch.

Score: 4/10


Flag of Vietnam

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconicTwo Tone

If you’re going to have a single star against a red background and you’re a (nominally) communist country it a fair guess which colours you’re going to chose. Disgracefully simplistic I know, but I like it.

Score: 7/10


Flag of Wales

Good Colour SchemeStrikingIconic

While sadly not incorporated into the Union Jack (adding a dragon would no doubt cause an overload of FRIKKIN’ AWESOME) this stands as yet another slice of British design genius – a bold, stylised dragon with a arrow-shaped tongue, right arm raised, claws out, ready to rip you a new one. Given how indisputably cool dragons are, it’s a shame that only Bhutan and Wales have put them on their flags, but I guess that makes the club all the more exclusive.

Iconic, bold, memorable and playful. Ticks all my happy boxes and has several dollops of awesomeness left over for dessert. Thumbs up up up.

Score: 10/10

Western Sahara

Flag of Western Sahara

Good Colour SchemePlagiarism

Here we have the flag of fellow state-of-limited-recognition, Palestine, with the addition of a crescent moon in the middle. I don’t know if this is to show solidarity or if they just couldn’t be bothered, but either way, they should probably come up with something a bit more unique and a lot more Saharan. But not a camel. I HATE CAMELS!!

Score: 3/10


Flag of Yemen

Good Colour SchemePlagiarismDull

Whoops! This looks a bit familiar! Egypt without the eagle, Syria without the stars, Sudan without the green triangle. Come on Yemen, give us something original.

Score: 1/10


Flag of Zambia

BirdBad Colour SchemeWTF?

If this little trip around the vexillogical wonders of the world has taught you anything, it’s that people love putting images of our feathered friends on their flags. And that’s no bad thing, but I do wonder why this particular bird is flying so far over to the right of Zambia’s flag. Maybe he’s lost. But then there’s this weird flag mounted vertically in the lower corner which I find disquieting, possibly because it looks like it’s about to fall off.

Score: 2/10


Flag of Zimbabwe

BirdBad Colour SchemeEyesoreWTF?

The former South Rhodesia here with a funky little number that’s almost psychedelic in it’s nuttiness. Too many different coloured stripes, a white triangle with black fimbriation and there’s a crazy bird-sphinx thing going on. Or maybe it’s a bird-hat. Either way, it looks like it’s got arms AND wings, which unless you’re Dr. Moreau, just isn’t normal. It scares me. It also obscuring the red star in the same way that the heads of vacuous celebrities obscure the ‘G’ in Vogue magazine. This doesn’t make me happy either.

Let’s hope once “Last Dictator Standing” Mugabe falls off the perch, Zimbabwe gets a new flag – perhaps they could employ the design geniuses who came up with South Africa’s.

Score: 3/10


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Travis

    I really enjoyed your in-depth analysis of all the flags! I’ve always loved flags and it’s rare to see someone else with the same passion in vexillolithingamajig.

    I agreed with most, if not all your ratings and they were pretty justified. Personally, my favourite is Montenegro, but South Sudan, Libya and Sri Lanka are pretty good as well.

  2. GrahamStalker

    Well done!
    I agree with 90% of your analysis.
    I’d just like to say, the Royal Standard of Scotland is pretty excellent as well!

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