NEW UNION FLAG BRIEF Create a concept for what the new flag for the United Kingdom would look like if Scotland votes for independence in the upcoming referendum. This could be a revolutionary idea; creating a new flag from scratch, or an evolutionary idea; taking what we already have and altering it. DELIVERABLES 1xFlag Concept Supporting Material TONE OF VOICE Serious, Symbolic, Traditional, Modern, Clear, Nationalistic. CONCEPT The New Union Flag is a conceptual idea which has arisen from the distinct possibility of Scotland gaining independence in the 2014 referendum. The exercise is to establish what visual elements a New Union Flag would hold as well as its possible meanings and interpretations. I will create something which looks modern, but sticks to the rules of traditional flag design. It will have to also be symbolic of the UK as a new nation, but with a lot of history. Every remaining country should be included in the design.
NEW UNION FLAG RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT AND CONSIDERATIONS. When researching and developing the flag the main focus was on colour, layout and dimensions. Having looked at hundreds of flags I decided to go with the 1:2 dimension so the width is always twice the height. This decision was made so that the flag is always scalable and the proportions of the design are easy to manage. My concept involves taking the three colours of England, Wales and Northern Ireland; Red, Green and White. This makes the tricolour in the centre of the New Union Flag, the blue represents the ocean as well as a host of other symbolism explained on the â€˜Coloursâ€™ Board. One important decision was in which order to place the colours of the tricolour in. This lead me to research a host of other nations which use similar colours. In several of these countries the bottom red bar signifies blood spilt during revolution, this is not the case with the New Union Flag, Red is the top layer on all three of its nations so it sits at the top of my tricolour. Similarly white sits at the bottom of the New Union Flag because it is the background colour on all three national flags, leaving green in the centre. Unintentionally the red, green, white colour sequence is also unique amongst other world flags - just.
NORTHERN IRELAND 3:5
EQUATORIAL GUINEA 2:3
NEW UNION FLAG 1:2
NEW UNION FLAG DEVELOPMENT Each of these flags had a range of variants exploring colour and layout thoroughly. The addition of yellow and black to some of these flags comes from the St Davids Cross of Wales, replacing The Red Dragon. Another variation displayed here explores the constellations found in the northern hemisphere, a reflection of the flags of Australia and New Zealand who use the Cross of the South constellation in their flag. The constellations I have used here are named Queen, King and Lion, reflecting our some of our national identities. The â€˜Death Starâ€™ shape that is used in several of these designs places our position on a globe, with the equator marked in several variants. One set of flags focus solely on replacing the Scottish flag on the current design with the St Davids Cross. These leave a regal looking patch of gold in the centre of the English and Northern Irish flags. The black background is also taken from the St Davids Cross. I pushed this variant aside as it looked more and more like a cold war era soviet party flag.
NEW UNION FLAG VEXILLOLOGY For me the most important part of any flag is its colour. The shape of any flag is dictated by history, culture or rules of flag design so quite often it is the colour of the flag which allows you to distinguish it from others. This is most apparent in Europe where the tricolour is widely used. To the right is a rundown of what each colour represents in this new union flag. Another one of the most important things for a flag is for it to be scalable. Flags are made to be visible from a distance, traditionally as markers on the battlefield. Today they have many more uses, to denote language, a destination, a place or origin and of course a nation. Still they need to work at a range of sizes from the very small to the massive and still be identifiable.
RED Taken from the St George Cross, Welsh Dragon and Northern Irish Saltire (diagonal cross). It symbolises hardiness, resolution and valour.
GREEN From the Welsh Flag. Green is symbolic of Earth, Agriculture and Countryside.
WHITE The background to all three remaining national flags. In vexillology It stands for peace, purity and truth.
BLUE Representing the Oceans that surround the British Isles and keep us together, as well as the oceans historical significance in the birth of the modern UK. The colour symbolises freedom, justice and prosperity.
NEW UNION FLAG FLAG IN CONTEXT Placing the flag in scenes that can contextualise the design is one of the most important parts of this brief. This tests that the flag would work in the real world. I have selected three contexts in which we commonly see flags used British society; war, sport and down The Mall. The Mall is one of the most important ones, as getting a flag to work on The Mall was described as the ‘ultimate test’ by TBM. This is the hardest part of going forwards with what is described as a ‘revolutionary’ design. These are often recognisable as ‘British scenes’ precisely becuase of the flag that is present in them. Taking that away leaves the viewer with the impression that this could be any European country. Despite this the flag does not look out of place in any way, its is strong enough to dominate the images it is place in and change our perceptions of where that scene is rather than look particularly awkward.
NEW UNION FLAG EVALUATION This has been a very interesting brief and one that I would have never though of doing if it had not been set by TBM. What was particularly interesting was how hard the task was despite it seeming easy to begin with. There is a huge list of rules and standards that flags follow, on top of culture and national identity that dictates what a countries flag should look like. The difficult part was distilling those rules and making something that would actually work. I think my proposal for the New Union Flag is just about as precise as I can get to designing something which reaches all of these criteria. The design is modern, but follows the traditional rules of flag design. It looks quite European, but the blue boarder gives it the distinction that a British flag should have... It is similar but not the same. Additionally, each bar from the framed tricolour represents one remaining country in the UK so for the first time all three are acknowledged equally in the national flag. Finally the flag is unique, no other world flag is configured with a tricolour placed in a border, however whilst it is unique it still looks very much like a national flag of a sovereign state becuase it used simple shapes and colours. The only negative comment I have to point out about the flag is that it does look like the flag of a republic, not a constitutional monarchy like the UK. This is why so many flags in Europe use the Tricolour configuration, following the French revolutionary design. This is not a
particularly large problem becuase this is not what the tricolour stands for in places like The Netherlands and Russia, which have both used it whilst under monarchial rule. For me the use of the tricolour was important because it steps away from using crosses. The UK has a secular society so this is a chance to design a secular national identity. In addition the British monarchy holds no real power today, in my opinion they shouldnâ€™t be held in such high regard as to dictate the design of a new flag. Overall this has been a successful brief. The final step is to get the flag printed at a large scale for presentation. TBM responded positively to the flag during the first crit. It would be great to know what they thought of the final design.