Creating Local & Community Flags

The Flag Institute is currently being consulted by a number of civic organisations throughout the United Kingdom, who are in the process of selecting and adopting their own flags.

As a result, of this unprecedented level of interest and in response to a number of requests, we have now produced a guide on how to create a community flag, including details of how to organise a competition to generate designs. The guide can be downloaded from here, free of charge: Creating Local & Community Flags.

Please note that the guide is in the process of a major update, so we would suggest contacting the Communities Vexillologist for the latest advice in the meantime.

But if you just want a few “do’s and don’ts” then here they are:

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 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.

Further reading

If you want to see how other registered flags look, you can view the United Kingdom Flag Registry, from the Flag Institute. You can also read more in-depth design advice in the Guiding Principles of Flag Design document from the Flag Institute and, our equivalent across the Pond, the North American Vexillological Association