Monday, August 2, 2010

Vexing Vexillological News

In case you do not get your news from the Wikipedia front page, the African nation of Malawi has changed its flag. Some of you may recall Malawi as the former Nyasaland. In which, I would suggest getting a new map. Unlike Georgia or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi made a few major changes, but it was more noticeable than what Iraq did to its flag after the current invasion.

Malawi's flag from 1964 to 2010 was this:

It had a pretty standard color scheme in use among African countries, based on the colors of the Pan-African movement. It also added a sun at the top, in red. I think Malawi's old flag was decent, although I never liked that sun being red. It made the flag too dark overall, and did not stand out enough.

Now Malawi has a new flag, though there is some debate how long it will last:

The color scheme was maintained, which is good, and the usage of the sun as a symbol to help distinguish the flag remains. Overall these were good ideas, and changing the color to white does brighten up the flag significantly.

Still, I think problems remain. The white is too striking a color. Malawi should have gone with yellow or gold instead, creating a flag reminiscent of the now defunct Biafra. Maybe though, that is what they were trying to avoid. I think having so many rays around the sun is distracting and makes it hard for people to replicate the flag. One of the cardinal rules of flag design is to make flags simple enough for children to draw. On this basis, both the flag of the United States and Malawi fail, too many unnecessary little pieces. A white circle set inside another one empty in the middle would have sufficed.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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