Flag Design

The Guiding Principles of Flag Design—NAVA and UK’s Flag Institute Collaborate on Flag Design

The North American Vexillological Association–Association nord-américaine de vexillologie promotes standards of good flag design in North America. Those standards are reflected in the “The Guiding Principles of Flag Design,” the report of the Joint Commission on Vexillographic Principles, which was created as part of a Joint Agreement signed on May 16, 2014 by the Association and The Flag Institute (United Kingdom).

Download the report.

The Principles are based on the following understandings. First, the Institute and Association as Members of the Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques accept the definition of vexillology in FIAV Constitution article 2, which is “the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge.” Second, the Institute and Association recognize that vexillolography, which is the art and practice of designing flags, is allied with vexillology, but is not synonymous with that discipline. The Institute and Association further recognize that while vexillography may embrace aesthetic values, vexillology does not. The Institute and Association agree that to a vexillologist there are no bad flags, only flags to be studied; accordingly, the Principles will not be regarded as vexillological principles.

In May 2014, The Flag Institute and the Association agreed to work together to adopt common vexillographic principles. To draft the Principles, the Institute and Association each appointed two commissioners, and these four commissioners then recommended a fifth commissioner. After approval by the presiding officers of the Institute (Charles Ashburner FFI, chief executive) and the Association (Hugh Brady FF, president), the commission elected a chairman and consisted of the following: Graham M.P. Bartram FFI, chairman; Edward B. Kaye; Jason Saber; Charles A. Spain WSF; and Philip S. Tibbets.

The Commission’s report, submitted 1 October 2014, has been accepted by the two presiding officers and adopted by both the Institute and the Association. Accordingly, the Principles are official policy statements of both The Flag Institute and the North American Vexillological Association–Association nord-américaine de vexillologie. They may be modified or expanded in the future by the establishment of a new commission, on terms mutually agreeable to the Institute and the Association.

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Previously-published materials are available in the NAVA Digital Library.