Creating Local & Community Flags

In recent years counties and communities throughout the UK have flocked to create, select and adopt a flag that captures their local identity, and the Flag Institute is here to help at every stage in the process. Check out successful designs registered free of charge in the Flag Institute’s definitive UK Flag Registry; find in-depth design tips in the Guiding Principles of Flag Design (2014), produced jointly by the Flag Institute and its friends in the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA); and obtain essential information and advice – including guidance on how to run a Flag-Institute approved design competition – from the Communities Vexillologist, Philip Tibbetts.

In the meantime here are a few quick do’s and don’ts’:

1: Keep it simple

The flag should be simple enough that a child can draw it from memory.

2: Use meaningful symbolism

The flag’s elements, colours, or patterns should relate to what it symbolises.

3: Use two to three basic colours

Limit the number of colours on the flag to three, which contrast well and come from the standard colour set: red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple, black and white. Yellow and white work well on any of the other colours and vice versa.

4: No lettering or seals

Avoid the use of writing of any kind or of an organisation’s badge, seal or coat of arms. It is better to use elements from an appropriate coat of arms as symbols on the flag.

5: Be distinctive or be related

Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections.

6: How will it fly in the wind?

Remember, the design must be distinctive when flying on a high pole in a strong wind, and when hanging in windless conditions too. Also remember that it will almost always have ripples caused by the wind.