What are your thoughts on complexity in flag designs?

There are a lot of varying opinions on how complex flags should be. Some prefer that flags be kept more simple and minimal, and others feel that simple flags come off as bland, corporate, and unflaglike. What do you think?

My take is that complexity on flags can be great given the following:

  • Complexity is used to make a specific a focal point stand out. Flags aren't paintings and shouldn't be littered with complex designs. Instead, the complexity should be focused in the flag's device.
  • Complexity is in shape, not in color. If a flag has 6 different colors in its device, it just ends up feeling cluttered imo.
  • Complex images are unique and symbolic. In general, devices should be symbolic, but imo both it and distinctness is especially important if you're going to draw extra attention to it with a complex design.

One of my favorite flags, the flag of Bhutan, does all of these with its black and white dragon.

Nevertheless, I don't think flags being minimal or following more modern design principles makes them soulless and corporate. Simple designs can look great, and I honestly tend to prefer them. Just because logos tend to use more simplistic designs doesn't mean flags can't either.


I agree with you somewhat. A flag should be easily distinguishable from a distance or else why not just make a tapestry/banner/etc. I’ve seen the argument that flags should be simple so that they can be made and flown by anyone, which makes sense to me.

IMO the American flag is too busy. It takes too long to make an exact amount of stars and stripes w/o manufacturing. Tricolors or Quadcolors are probably the most efficient. Despite this, I do like the Bhutanese flag and the flag of the Seychelles so there’s some room for debate there.

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 avatar

I don't mind the American flag much. It's definitely not one of my favorites, but I like the nod to the 13 original states and 50 current states. The stars make things a bit cluttered but not cluttered enough for me to dislike the flag. Totally not biased as an American.

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