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"Good" Flag, "Bad" Flag

"Good" Flag, "Bad" Flag, compiled by Ted Kaye from the expert wisdom of over 20 vexillologists/vexillographers, has become a classic resource for those wishing to design or re-design a flag.  The booklet lays out five basic principles for good flag design, and then shows examples of flags that follow them and flags that disregard them, all illustrated in color.


You can use these five basic principles to create an outstanding flag for your organization, city, tribe, company, family, neighborhood, or even your country!


"Good" Flag, "Bad" Flag is not meant to be an in-depth look at flag design, but a quick reference and primer for anyone interested in vexillography or who wants to create a flag.

Introduced in 2001 and published in print in 2006, "Good" Flag, "Bad" Flag has been translated into ten languages.  National, state/province, city, and community flag-designing initiatives around the world have used it.  A simple, straight-forward guide, the 16-page full-color booklet, 5.5" x 8.5", allows organizations or individuals to encourage good flag designs for all wishing to try their hand at it.

The Five Principles are:

  1. Keep It Simple.  The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory.
  2. Use Meaningful Symbolism.  The flag's images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes.
  3. Use 2 or 3 Basic Colors.  Limit the number of colors on the flag to three which contrast well and come from the standard color set.
  4. No Lettering or Seals.  Never use writing of any kind or an organization's seal.
  5. Be Distinctive or Be Related.  Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but depart from these five principles only with caution and purpose.

For Ted Kaye's recollections of compiling and updating "Good" Flag, "Bad" Flag, see Vexillum 10 (June 2020), pp. 19–20.

For those interested in a printed copy, Amazon sells them for $2.99.  It is also available in NAVA's shop.  Wholesale purchases are available from NAVA.  Contact to order.