As has been established, a good flag is an important thing for a state to have. Sadly, not everyone is a great flag designer, and sometimes the people in charge of putting together a flag have no idea what the fuck they are doing. Let’s look at some of the results of these lame ass efforts.
Disclaimer: If you are from one of the places listed below, please don’t take offense. I’m not saying where you’re from is shitty, I’m saying the flag your government chose is shitty. Maybe send an email to them about changing it. You know, civic action at work.
Props to Antwerp for not doing a tricolor with coat of arms thing like most other European cities and regions. Those props are immediately revoked, however, because what Antwerp has done here is far worse. This flag looks like a section of a checkers board that someone with too much free time modified to play a more complicated game. And then the Antwerp city council saw that game and decided it would make a good flag. They were wrong.
Central African Republic, Seychelles
The Central African Republic (in the center of Africa) and the Seychelles (Indian Ocean archipelago) both decided that two or three colors wasn’t enough. Not even four – even Antwerp stopped at four colors. No, these republics have used five colors for their flags. They also decided to be unorthodox with their designs. They both ended up with eyesores.
There’s a pretty good reason most flags stick with just a few colors, I think – it’s probably easier to manufacture such flags. Also, they don’t fuck with your eyes like the CAR and Seychelles’ banners do. “Don’t use five colors on your flag” is a pretty good flag design rule, but it is one that these countries have decided to disregard. The fact that the designs make no damn sense only add to their fuckedness. To be fair to the CAR, though, it currently has far more pressing matters to attend to, like its serious political instability and bouts of ethnic violence.
Cyprus; Kosovo; Sakhalin Oblast, Russia
There’s something inherently lame about putting a picture of your country on your flag – as though you weren’t creative enough to think of anything else. If these lazyass flag designers had had access to Google Earth when they were designing these, their flags would probably have just been screenshots, complete with the Google watermark in the background. The only flag that has some kind of excuse for itself is Sakhalin’s, because Russia and Japan have bickered over the southern Kuril Islands (depicted on the flag) and this is maybe Russia’s way of saying “they’re ours.” Still, it’s quite pathetic.
The problem is compounded by the fact that the islands represented here (Cyprus, left; Sakhalin, right) aren’t on blue ocean-looking backgrounds, while the landlocked country (Kosovo, center) is on a deep blue background. Why? That makes no fucking sense.
Central and South American flags tend to avoid the above mistakes. However, they do have their own special problem: a love of tiny coats of arms and symbols that are way too busy, so you can’t tell what the hell they’re trying to say. Nicaragua’s flag is a good example of such a design. You have to have this flag really close to your face to make out the rainbow-over-some-hills image inside the triangle in its center. And it’s still hard to tell what the red thing is supposed to be. I think it’s a phrygian cap, but it could just as easily be a cardinal’s head or a spot of ketchup.
There’s only one thing wrong with Nagorno-Karabakh’s flag: the fact that it looks like a 20×10 thumbnail of the flag they actually intended to make. Maybe the guy who designed the flag was doing so on a computer and he badly screwed up somehow when he saved the jpg file and the Nagarno-Karabakh leaders were too busy fighting Azerbaijan to notice. I guess the blocky triangle thing on the right must have been an intentional design scheme, but I just can’t get that image out of my head.
Taipei; Reno, Nevada
While there are some inspired city flags flying, they tend to be especially crap, probably because nobody really cares about city flags. Some municipal flags just look like things that the city council commissioned from a marketing company. That would definitely explain Taipei’s flag, which weirdly looks like a corporate logo, with its blocky TAIPEI and fake paint strokes.
It doesn’t explain the piece of crap that Reno, Nevada turned out, however. That wasn’t made by a marketing company; it was made by a 15 year old on the living room computer in MS Paint, all with its Impact font and default shade of blue. Notice that Reno has also broken the no-maps rule by including a map of Nevada with its location therein on their flag. Reno clearly doesn’t give a shit.
For whatever reason, Ohio just had to be different from every other state in the Union. The US states have a few good flags, lots of meh ones and some outright lousy ones, but no other state has a non-rectangular flag. The designer was apparently going for the look of a cavalry flag, which would sometimes have a triangle cut out of the side. Whatever he intended to convey with this thing, though, it just ended up looking like someone cut a US flag into a bunch of pieces and strips and randomly glued them all back together.
The most unsettling thing about Ohio’s flag is that sort of looks like a bird’s face, a bird with huge eyes that constantly has its beak open. I hate looking at this thing, seriously. It almost scares me.
Of all the flags I’ve seen, Tampa’s is the absolute worst. It breaks every rule and ignores every warning listed above, some of them several times over. Let’s try to measure its shittiness:
1) Like Antwerp, CAR and Seychelles, it has too many colors.
2) Like those countries’ flags, the too many colors are arranged in a fucked-up nonsensical way.
3) Like Nicaragua, it includes a tiny seal with details that are hard to distinguish.
4) Like Ohio, it’s cut into a weird, unwieldy shape.
All that Tampa has to do now is include a low-res map of Florida and they’ll have the worst flag ever award in the bag.
Actually, never mind. Tampa’s flag looks fine when it’s compared to this shit. The Milwaukee city council apparently wanted to represent everything about Milwaukee on its flag in picture form, much like the ancient Egyptians and their tomb paintings. Thus they’ve put on the city skyline on Lake Michigan, a ship, a gear representing the city’s industrial base, the head of an Indian who was probably kicked out of Milwaukee in the 19th century and forced to go west, a stalk of wheat, a year, a smaller flag inside the gear, and finally MILWAUKEE in the ugliest font they could find. Somehow they couldn’t find any space for a tall can of cheap beer, which is what Milwaukee is really known for.
The most disturbing thing about this flag is what happened when, in 2001, the city government held a flag design contest to replace this ridiculous mess. The result? “None met with the approval” of the Milwaukee Arts Board, meaning either that they were all worse than the current flag or that the Milwaukee Arts Board is composed entirely of lemurs.