Radio producer Roman Mars recently gave a TED Talk about the design of city flags and the impact beautiful and ugly flags can have. City flags were the subject of an episode of Mars’ radio show 99% Invisible titled “Vexillionaire“–which Mars recreates a version of on the TED stage.
The episode uses Chicago’s city flag as an example of great design, and his home city of San Francisco’s city flag, among others, as an example of exactly what not to do in flag design. Mars also presents the five elements of good flag design as laid out by the North American Vexillological Association. They are:
1. Keep it simple
2. Use meaningful symbolism
3. Use two to three basic colors
4. No lettering or seals of any kind.
5. Be distinctive
The flag of the city of Chicago, image via Wikipedia
The flag of the city of San Francisco, image via Wikipedia