World Flags, Deconstructed and Critiqued

I am now officially addicted to the Travelpod geography quiz that I blogged about a few weeks back. (Today I’m trying to conquer Africa. Interestingly enough, I’ve already conquered the world.) By far the hardest version of the game is Flags, wherein you’re shown a flag from one of the 192-194 (depending how you count them) countries, numerous independent states and territories/dependencies, and you not only have to name the country and find it on a map, but know where it’s capital is located. Tough stuff in seven seconds!

To brush up on my flags — many of which have changed design or become non-existant since my pre-college days — I went in search of a complete list. And what did I come across? A hysterical design critique that breaks down the good, bad, and the ugly of each nation’s flag, finally assigning it a letter grade. Flags are lauded for such characteristics as simplicity and color choice, or lambasted for the inclusion of weapons, graven images, or even “colonial nonsense.” Gambia must have a great PR firm, because it came out on top with a 90 (somehow, the critics see 90 as an A+), while the Northern Marianas failed with a measly 2 for a design that appears to be “constructed from clip art.”

(Side note: The author behind the site also created a fantastically entertaining Engrish generator.)

For a more professional — and even more hilarious — take on flag design, check out the website of Frederik Samuel, who skewers not just the designs but the “clients” behind them. I’ll be sure to hire him to design my flag when I become empress of my own island nation.

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