I have recently developed a fascination for flags and flag design, because I am descending further and further into the void of all things nerdy. So I have spent many evenings idly scrolling through lists of flags and making judgments on each one. Some I loved and some I hated. Yet I couldn’t help but wish that there were some sort of official standard for what makes a flag good or bad.

There is. There is an actual organization called the North American Vexillological Association. And aside from its existence being absolutely hilarious, it has a surprisingly useful set of guidelines for how to design flags. Here they are (https://portlandflag.org/good-flag-bad-flag/):

1: Keep it Simple Stupid (That last part isn’t official)

2: Use Meaningful Symbolism

3: Use 2-3 Basic Colors

4: No Lettering or Seals

5: Be Distinctive or Be Related (Based on which you want)

They seem like some pretty basic and intuitive rules, but you have no idea the monstrosities that some places have for flags. Especially the United States State flags, almost all of them are just terrible. For Example:


Oregon, are you even trying? You’re breaking at least 3 of the rules man! Surely the other ones have to be better!


Stop putting your names on your flags! It looks atrocious! And stop it with the complex seals, the details are impossible to make out and just look atrocious. Let’s take a look at some good flag designs.


Hong Kong, your flag is beautiful. Downright gorgeous.


The UK flag, on top of being iconic and aesthetically pleasing, has an amazing history. It is surprisingly well done combination of the 4 countries that make up the…country… of UK. Well, it leaves out Whales but who cares. The UK clearly didn’t. (Seriously it’s bizarre to me that they just leave out one of the countries and this isn’t some huge thing)

“But Ross”, you might be saying “Those are country flags, of course they would be better than state flags!”

Okay fine, since you’re such a confident little skeptic. Here are some of the Japanese Prefecture Flags. A Japanese prefecture is basically a state, I have no idea if it works the same way a US state does, but its how Japan is divided up.


THEY’RE SO COOL. I fangirl hard over these flags man, they’re just so amazing. It is worth noting that the prefecture flags use a lot of purple which some flag nerds don’t like. But I do! They’re glorious.

So yeah, there is good and bad flag design at all levels of government. Country, state, city, you name it. There is good and bad.

And now this post will come to an abrupt end. This has been a rant with Ross “The Sauce” Marotta, thank you.