Globalization has been so fast and out of control that, in the end, no one thought of a global flag, an emblem for all of us, representing the planet as a whole. To be honest, a world flag already exists. It is called the One World Flag (pictured below). It was designed by David Bartholomew in 2006. In his blog, you read that “the One World Flag is an international symbol of diversity, Honoring the Talents, Abilities and Uniqueness in Each of Us, as Strengths that can Benefit All of Us” for whatever that means.
This flag is very inspiring, and perfect for a summer campsite but, in our humble opinion, it has got three little problems: first, being the output from a single person, and not from a congregation of people representing different countries, it is perhaps a bit solipsistic; second, it has been conceived as a free gift to the world, but then the project had to find a way to make a profit in order to finance its ideals. We have nothing against it, of course, we’d like to think it as free for everybody to use. Last but not least…the yin-yiang. What does that mean for an Aboriginal, an Inuit or a Maori? This is in fact a symbol based on a local culture which doesn’t represent everybody’s values. It’s revealing more of the creator’s beliefs than of a worldwide sentiment. Our considerations are limited, of course, to constructive criticism. Following emblems’ etiquette, we highly respect this flag as any other flag of the world.
Nevertheless, the Brandpowder Team, one year ago, started to focus on the subject with a more structured approach, trying to find a universal code that could work for everyone, independently from race, language, culture or religion. After sending a letter to several Governments and other worldwide organizations, asking their point of view (and getting no answer) we rolled up our sleeves. The first step for the worldwide flag project was to put together a worldwide team. Here below we list only those who signed their work, even if many others, due to political reasons, participated anonymously to the task. We wish to thank them all for their effort and sometimes colorful considerations on the subject. Their contribution and ideas have been priceless, and we all had a great time together.
In our office a considerable amount of data on existing flags has been collected. We went through the story of each flag, trying to work out which colors are more present, in order to get a proportion that could represent all Countries. We found out a lot had already been done on this topic. For sorting out color quantities and distribution, for instance, we found particularly helpful the crwflags database. Also wolfram‘s blog has been valuable for extra insight on color statistics, based on Mathematica software. We then shared all the collected information with every contributor to the World Flag project, letting everyone run wild with his or her proposals.
Below: the first chart shows worldwide color’s presence on a flag; the second shows what would it look like if flags were ranked according to population’s density. It’s evident, in this case, the impact of China.
Red has always been the favorite color, representing – also today – more than 30% of total flags’ surface. The rank has gone through minor changes in the past. One hundred years ago, for example, yellow gold was more popular than green, and light blue was more widespread than ultramarine. For our case study, we obviously concentrated only on contemporary flags.
Above: we have been intrigued by an interesting essay by Diane Guyot, who created an algorythm to get the average color from each of the 248 world’s flags. Below: the Union Jack, as it would appear after her mathematical blender.
The challenge was to come out, in the end, with a flag that could represent, in the most accurate manner, the average values, taste and mood of 6 billion people. The first evidence of colors’ proportion on worldwide flags, and their meaning, is pictured here below:
It is worth to mention this interpretation is simply based on an average from all contributors’ point of view, with 39 different countries representing 85% of the total population. Red, the most popular of all colors, represents not only blood, of course, but also courage, love, aggressivity, heat and pride. Blue, likewise, bears with it several symbols: freedom, independence, democracy, aspirations, moral values, ideals and peace. White stands for spiritual values, pureness, neutrality, excellence and abstraction. Green is a symbol of land and hope, but it’s worth to consider that for some countries land is expressed by yellow or black. Black, in some cultures, is linked to roots, tradition and a sense of belonging. In others it is a warning to maintain a distance from borders. In our resarch we discovered that, if all flags of the world could be re-designed from scratch, blue would be the dominant color, followed by red, white and green.
The World Flag, according to a set of agreements voted by all contributors, must not represent a symbol, a figure, an existent or familiar shape, neither had to bear a link to dogma, language, race or political statement. The Flag of the World, which we are happy to introduce here for the first time, is a 10-color emblem based on flags of the world’ color quantity. It represents the five continents plus the five main bodies of water. The black, as tenth color, and always in proportion to worldwide’s colors, is connecting together every field in a pathway which helps readability also in very small sizes. It was not easy to choose among hundreds proposals; in the end the top flag, voted by the vast majority of participants, won by a good length. The design is by a Chinese refugee who didn’t want to reveal his identity. The anonymity of the artist, he wrote us in letter accompanying his work, is the best prerequisite for a world’s creation. For whatever that means.
The World Flag is the result of a worldwide project that involved 39 countries. There is no copyright. Click on the flag to download it. It’s free and can be used for any purpose.
Above: The Brandpowder Team hoisted the World Flag in front of their office.