You might remember me talking about the US Flag in my “How to Treat an American Flag” article a I posted earlier this year. Or you might’ve read my longer and more serious article of why the Confederate Flag should be removed as well as debunked the most common claims of keeping it around. However, this is a post about flags, because after all they’re quite important emblems of certain groups and entities whether they be countries, states, provinces, cities, or what not. Thus, in many ways they tend to be symbols. A well designed flag will inspire pride than one made otherwise. There’s also a study of flag design called Vexillology and people in this field believe that a well-designed flag should fit these criteria (from the Portland Flag Association).
- Keep It Simple. The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory…
- Use Meaningful Symbolism. The flag’s images, colors, or patterns should relate to what it symbolizes…
- 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…
- No Lettering or Seals. Never use writing on any kind or an organization’s seal…
- Be Distinctive or Be Related. Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections…
Now I can go on and on about all the great flags out there. But you’d be bored to tears sh I’ll show you a collection of designs that made people wonder, what the hell they were thinking? Because when you have great flags inspiring patriotism and pride, there are others that lead people to keep them as far away from the public spotlight as possible. So for your reading pleasure, here are some not so great flags from around the world. By the way, if I insult anyone’s flag, I deeply apologize.
1. Venice, Italy
Granted, this was derived from the old flag of the Venice Republic. But still, while the winged lion with a book is actually cool, it’s surrounded by too many border designs. Also, on the borders are 7 tiny little flags or coats of arms. I can’t tell. I’d more or less expect such design to be on a box for a D&D game.
2. Chimbu, Papua New Guinea
Now I think the stars and the bird are fine. But with the crossed branches over a circle? I think the province is kind of overdoing it. A plain green sash would’ve been fine. Really.
3. Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Canada
This is a tiny island territory off the coast of Newfoundland. The three flags on the left are supposed to represent the Basques, Bretons, and Normans. However, the boat seems to be drawn straight from a Saturday morning cartoon. Or an educational cartoon about Christopher Columbus from the 1970s.
4. Louisiana, United States
For one, the comma is missing between, “union and “justice.” However, while the image appears initially wholesome of a mother pelican feeding her babies, it gets quite disturbing when you realize that she’s feeding them with her own blood. Yikes! Seriously, what’s the matter with you, Louisiana? And those drops of blood were only added in 2006. Really.
5. Ishikawa, Japan
Apparently, Japanese Kanji doesn’t translate well into certain fonts. From looking at this, Americans might get the impression that Ishikawa is an obscure Japanese auto corporation instead of a civic entity that it really is.
6. Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada
Now this is for a homeland in northern Labrador in Canada. The symbol is supposed to be derived in Inukshuk origin. However, to many it resembles an abstract art rendition of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. Must give a lot of Inuk children nightmares.
7. Glarus, Switzerland
Now this consists of a frowning monk with a halo, a staff resembling an antenna, and a book all in yellow. Guess this guy’s frowning due to his inability to bring the word of God to the extraterrestrials.
8. Marijampole, Lithuania
I know the guy is supposed to be sowing seeds, but I can’t help but look at this and get the impression of the Quaker Oats guy throwing out Rice Krispies. Also, the border does little to give this flag any dignity whatsoever.
9. Connacht, Ireland
Guess the inspiration for this one was a major disagreement between whether the a black eagle or an arm with sword would be more badass. The factions settled on a compromise and got this. Yeah, should’ve went with one or the other.
For one, Buddhism has a flag? Secondly, this resembles a TV test pattern that’s usually accompanied by a high pitched beep at 4 a.m. But I’m sure the designer didn’t know that.
11. Benin Empire
Now this was the flag for the Pre-Colonial Benin Empire situated in modern Nigeria which lasted from 1440-1897. From looking at this flag I guess their motto was, “Get in my personal space and I’ll cut your bloody head off!” Yeah, decapitation is just a wonderful flag motif.
12. Guam, United States
Think of it as a cross between a cheap souvenir T-shirt from the Bahamas and a Georgia O’Keefe painting. Now imagine if such combination was drawn by a third grader. Sorry, Guam, but your flag is just ugly.
13. Fryslan, the Netherlands
For some reason, I can’t help looking at this flag and imagine it being a pattern on somebody’s underwear. I just don’t know why.
14. Isle of Man, Great Britain
It’s said that the three-legged triskelion was a symbol in Mycenae and Lycia back in Ancient Greece. However, I think it’s rather creepy as hell if you ask me. Three detached legs with no body doesn’t look right to me for some reason.
15. Antwerp, Belgium
Either this is a closeup image from MS Paint or a NASCAR flag on acid. Any way you put it, it’s quite horrendous if you get my drift.
Now the hoe and the book convey the best interests Mozambique wants for its people. But an AK-47? Could you imagine anything worse than that on a flag for an African nation? Seriously, why?
While the colors schemes are fine, I’m not sure about the weapons. Yes, shields and spears are part of that country’s traditional African culture, but still. Having weapons on your flag kind of sends the wrong message. And given the highly negative stereotypes about Africa, Swaziland ought to know better.
18. Northern Marianas Islands, United States
Well, there’s at least someone in the Northern Marianas Island who knows how to use a computer. Unfortunately, the inhabitants didn’t realize that designing a flag from clip art isn’t a great idea.
19. U. S. Virgin Islands, United States
Now I have to admit, this flag would look great as a design for a license plate. But as an actual flag? Not so much. Also, I’m sure that eagle emblem came straight out of clip art.
20. Lombardy, Italy
No, this isn’t a flag from Comic Con or for a video game competition. It’s from a region in Italy that probably invented jacks or the paperweight. If neither, then I’m not sure why they’d design their flag that way.
Yes, Antarctica has a flag. It has no inhabitants, no government, and no culture. But it has a flag with its landmass on it. Should’ve went with a penguin instead.
Hmmm….a flag with a picture of a lion holding a picture of a shipwreck mid-plunge. Granted, it was discovered this way by a ship en route to Virginia. Kind of suggests that self-governance isn’t Bermuda’s strong suit. As for me, Bermuda should’ve used a flag depicting a pair of Bermuda shorts.
23. Alo Island, Wallis and Futuna, France
Basically this is for a French territory in the South Pacific. It also commemorates the murder of Catholic missionary Father Chanel who was savagely clubbed and axed to death by natives in the 19th century. To be fair, I can see why the natives didn’t care for colonialism and the cultural loss it entails. However, I’m not sure that a savage murder of a priest should really be a historic event a South Pacific island should take pride in. Even if the priest was a complete asshole. Also the style resembles MS Paint.
24. Cardiff, Wales, Great Britain
Hmmm….dragon dancing around a leek. Guess the badass dragon flag of Wales was already taken. Still, dragon flag dancing with a flowering wild onion? Is there anything more stupid for a flag emblem?
25. Brown County, Nebraska, United States
As Bad Flags would say: ” this flag seems to have been designed by a 3rd grader with severe astygmatism using Microsoft Paint circa 1995.” Yeah, I’m sure it has about the kind of artistic merit you’d see in a local commercial.
26. Drnis, Croatia
This flag is supposed to be of the shepherd Saint Roch with a leg wound. Beside him is a dog with a loaf of bread in its mouth. According to legend it’s said that Saint Roch cut his leg from a rock so he could feed the dog. But the dog found bread instead. What the significance of that event is to an obscure town in Croatia I’ll never know. Also, the guy seems to be licking the staff.
27. Oceanside, California, United States
Seems more appropriate for a tourist advertisement than a city flag. Seriously, I could easily see it on their brochures, if not T-shirts.
28. Vina del Mar, Chile
Yes, this is an actual flag. No, it’s not a beach towel design. But I suppose this place probably has its flag on souvenir beach towels as well.
29. Rome, Italy
Seems like Rome tends to be in agreement with the Cleveland Browns as far as color schemes go. Still, if you’re doing a two color flag, at least pick better colors. And no, brown shouldn’t be one of them.
30. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Now this flag is actually quite decent. However, that doesn’t explain the presence of the disembodied arm holding the scales. Seriously, that’s fucked up. Yeah, kind of an example in which one weird detail can mess up everything.
31. Provo, Utah, United States
Seem this flag makes Provo look like some obscure corporation that sells camera equipment, vitamins, or chemicals. Fortunately, their city council saw the light and unanimously approved a new design this year.
32. Siauliai, Lithuania
Now I’m fine with the horned bull an the ferocious bear. But I’m not so sure about the eye pyramid. Might draw in a great many conspiracy theorists, especially those who talk about the Illuminati.
33. Belgrade, Serbia
Hate to break it to you, Belgrade. But your flag gives us the impression that your waterways are full of blood. It’s kind of terrifying to think about that.
34. Irkutsk, Russia
Look, Irkutsk, I know that animal predation is a normal part of nature. But that doesn’t mean that a predator with an animal carcass in its mouth makes a great flag motif. Seriously, why?
35. Ibiza, Spain
Reminds me of a map from a 1990s video game. Particularly one developed with the magic of MS paint. Also, the stripes are too much here.
36. Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Seems like Calgary can’t seem to tell the difference between what makes an appropriate flag motif and what makes an appropriate sports logo. And when I see this, I think of some college football team in Texas for some reason, not a Canadian city.
37. Mississippi, United States
That banner in the corner is said to represent a time in Mississippi when was the state with the most millionaires (which was around 1860). Of course, anyone familiar with US race relations and history can explain why. It’s also used as a symbol for white supremacy through any means necessary, even terrorism or secession from the union just to keep black people in a state of uncompensated involuntary servitude.
38. Virginia, United States
Let’s see. This flag seems to symbolize Virginia’s victory over the Brits in the American Revolution. Of course, I’m not sure why they’d include a woman with an exposed breast killing a crowned guy in a purple outfit. I mean violence and partial nudity aren’t stuff you’d want on a flag.
39. Asku, Kazakhstan
Seems like a more appropriate flag for someone like Jadis, the White Witch or for someone off Game of Thrones. Yeah, that’s the most intimidating snowbird I’ve ever seen.
40. Hanover Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States
This flag is for a neighborhood in Chicago. From Bad Flags: “Hanover Park is home to the world’s strongest man, who can lift a pyramid of eight stick figures above his head.” Also, the logo looks as if it was taken straight out of non-profit organization designed to reach out to economically disadvantaged kids.
41. Herimoncourt, Doubs, Franche-Comte, France
So I guess the badass bat logo was already taken by Batman, no less. Still, the place should’ve used a better font than Times New Roman. Seriously, a creepier font might do a better job attracting tourists.
If I was a member of this Shitte paramilitary organization in Lebanon, I’d be embarrassed to have a flag like this. Now I can understand the hand holding an AK-47. But I don’t think what’s left of the arm resembles anything of a minaret or a rocket to me. To be discreet here, you might want to call a focus group.
43. Greene County, Ohio, United States
“Dammit, Orville, watch out for that clock tower.” Seriously, this flag looks like it was designed from the computer program my mom uses to make birthday cards. That clock tower is totally clip art for sure.
44. Greene County, Virginia, United States
I swear this flag’s insignia was probably designed by the same person who did the Mr. Yuck sticker. Well, at least the border anyway. Still, it was probably designed on the back of a cocktail napkin anyway.
45. Irribarren, Venezuela
There’s a better way to mix royalty, grayscale, caution symbols, and shark attacks. But this isn’t it. Not sure what’s that thing in the bottom middle. Wonder who could design a mess like this?
46. Yap, Micronesia
That’s supposed to resemble a canoe with a sail unfurled, carrying a large Rai. However, to me it looks like a circle with a jet pilot helmet they use in the military.
Now Jainism is an ancient religion in India which has its own monks, teachers, scriptures, and souls. However, while the color scheme and some of the symbols are nice, there’s just one little point of contention. Let’s just say two decades of putzes wearing armbands in Germany can taint this flag’s 1,000 year legacy forever. Sorry that Nazism and WWII have to ruin everything for you, Jains.
48. Baie-James, Quebec, Canada
Since when does a city in Canada think that having Hedwig electrocuted would make a great design for a flag? Really, that just makes Harry Potter cry. Also, the set up looks like it’s straight from a tourist ad or brochure.
49. Kvalsund, Norway
Seems like the fish up there are very into 3 way make out sessions. Still, who would’ve thought that Norwegians were tri-sexual pescatarians? Yeah, that’s pretty messed up.
Seems the national symbol for this country is a giant flaming tennis ball in the sky. Oh, it’s said to represent a yurt. Doesn’t look like one to me. More like an appropriate logo for Serena Williams.
51. Libya (1977-2011)
I’m sure the government of Libya wanted something fancier. But Moamar Gaddafi insisted that the country’s flag match his palace drapes. Seriously, Libya has an amazing history and all they could come up with was a green sheet! Oh, wait, I’ve heard they might’ve changed it a few years ago.
52. Jekabpils, Latvia
Wonder what that lynx is doing under this tree. Probably going about its business. By the way, do they even have lynxes in Latvia? I think they do. But I’ve always seen them as a primarily North American feline though.
53. Masoy, Finmark, Norway
I understand the hammer and sickle were already taken. But seriously, a halapik? As Bad Flags says: ” It’s an ingenious creation meant to bring total destruction to the wicked baby seal at the business end. As both a bludgenoning tool to smash the seal’s sull and and hacking tool, to drag away the freshly killed cottony soft carcass, you kill two birds (or one innocent infant seal) with one blow.” Seriously, a baby seal bludgeoning and ripping tool. Real nice. Maybe they should redesign it with something less medieval weaponish and less controversial. Let’s not glorify baby seal killing shall we?
54. Matruh, Egypt
It’s supposed to be a goat, which might be cool to some. But I’m not sure it’s a flag worthy creature. Also, seems to be running way from a yellow brick wall.
55. Mauensee, Lucerne, Switzerland
Now I’ve heard of flying fish. But I’m kind of sure they don’t have feathers. Is it supposed to be an angel fish? If not, then why the hell does this fish have feathered wings?
56. Mont-Laureir, Quebec, Canada
Hate to say this but this looks more like a logo for a 1980s computer company nobody has heard about since. Seriously, I think I saw such similar imagery on hospital buildings or corporate headquarters.
57. Penza Oblast, Russia
Seems like this obscure area in Russia seems to be a fan of resting bitchface Jesus about to overturn changing tables in the Temple of Jerusalem. Not a great example of Russian Orthodox iconography.
58. Inglewood, California, United States
Now this centennial flag doesn’t really resemble something you’d fly at city hall. Rather, it resembles some agricultural company logo celebrating its anniversary. Seriously, photoshop? Why?
59. Poperinge, Belgium
I guess this place is really into artichokes. Or are those hops or Brussels sprouts? Perhaps they’re turtles or cockroaches. Wouldn’t see why any place would want to put such designs on its flag.
60. Sicily, Italy
Now what’s freakier than a flag with 3 disembodied legs? Well, a flag with 3 disembodied leg triskelion and a face on it. Add 3 stalks of wheat and a pair of wings coming out as well. Now that’s what I called freaky. Yeah, wonder what the Sicily’s flag designer was on when he came up with that idea.
61. Southland, New Zealand
This doesn’t look like a flag motif at all. The setup seems to resemble the kind of motivational posters you’d see in a school library. More like, “Enjoy the adventure of reading” type of message there.
62. Ulan Bator, Mongolia
Now this is supposed to be an anthropomorphic Garuda bird, a mythological creature in Buddhism. However, to me, this is one really ugly flying monkey. He also seems a bit tubby, no offense.
63. St. Moritz, Switerland
Now this is supposed to be Saint Mauritius, a Roman soldier from the 3rd century who refused to kill Christians at the behest of Emperor Maximilian. Thus, he and his legion were martyred. Still, as Bad Flags put it: “It looks like a tribute to the first Swedish knight with a pageboy haircut to walk on the moon.” Yeah, pretty cartoonish if you ask me.
64. Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg, Hungary
Well, aside from the airmail envelope border, there seems to be a lot of crap on this flag. Guess one place wanted a flag that symbolized the most stuff. Still, it’s quite a bit overboard to say the least.
65. Long Beach, Mississippi, United States
To be fair, this Gulf Coast city has been through a lot of crap like Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwaer Horizon oil spill. However, it’s known for growing radishes. Yet, what they have here resembles purple carrots. Oh, wait they actually grew radishes like that? Now I feel bad. Still, from that insignia, they seem to be desperate for tourists.
66. Wallonia, Belgium
Now Walloons have a deep reverence for the French Chanticleer rooster, which is from a children’s fable. It’s said to appear in a movie called Rock-a-Doodle. Yeah, not something you’d want on a flag. You can see why many emblems tend to have eagles on them. Eagles are cool. Chickens not so much.
67. Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia
Jesus Christ, a bear with an halberd. Only a matter of time until he learns to use an AK-47 which is a Russian built. Also, it’s newly bipedal with oppose able thumbs. Yeah, Russian outdoors people might want to stay away from bears bearing medieval weaponry.
This was the state flag of Georgia from the 1950s to 2001. Its reason to have a Confederate flag on its emblem stems from the racist white legislators trying to send a message against desegregation. Luckily, it was replaced with a less racist design in 2001.
69. Orange County, California, United States
Seems like a more appropriate logo for a company that grows oranges. And I sure as hell wouldn’t think California as an appropriate place to grow them this time of year. Especially since the state’s in drought. Nevertheless, Orange County is a rich person’s area that sometimes tends to hoard water for themselves and their golf courses. What a waste.
70. Chiapas, Mexico
From Bad Flags: “The center seal tells the story of two lion lovers. The first lion, Eduardo, lives in the palace. The other lion, Timoteo, is stuck on the other side of a rushing river from his love. A deep chasm keeps apart their love. One day, as Eduardo uses his castle as a scratching post, Timoteo gets an idea. If he scratched that palm tree enough, he may be able to break it down and bridge the gap and run to his lover’s open paws. Unfortunately, the tree is just a little short, and Timoteo plunges to his untimely death.” Now that’s a horrible story. Still, please let it be a joke. Seriously, why would a place in Mexico want a flag depicting such events is beyond me.
71. Perm, Russia
Pretty sure I won’t trust a bear on a book. This is especially the case when the book is most likely the Bible in question. Of course, it’s pretty obvious that’s the book in question on this flag.
72. Greenburgh, New York, United States
Motto is either “Who wants chili?” or “Eye of newt and tongue of shrew, feast your eyes on this witches’ brew.” Uh, let’s hope it’s just chili.
73. Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front
This is a revolutionary movement at the Horn of Africa seeking to unite Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djbouti under the gun and torch. Yeah, doesn’t seem democratic to me either. Seriously, with an AK-47 what do you expect me to think of these guys? Possible terrorists?
74. Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Now the place name translates to “Land of Fire.” However, it’s actually a pretty cold place and one of the southernmost inhabited areas in the world. Still, doesn’t make me understand why part of the flag is tangerine and includes a seagull. Yeah, a bird that can be found practically anywhere even in a parking lot in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Also, looks like it was designed by a 7 year old.
75. North Caucasian Emirate, Russia (1918-1921)
Now this consists of 3 stars making an eye and a nose along with a smiley face mouth. Might have something to do with the whimsical religion of Islam. Of course, the region it represents didn’t last.
76. Tamil Eelam
This is a flag a of a proposed Tamil state located in what’s currently north and east Sri Lanka. Of course, while the image is badass, it also seems more like an emblem for some armed insurgent organization. Yeah, I think the crossed guns have to go.
77. New Jersey, United States
Now New Jersey’s flag looks quite decent with the exception of the color. And the horses’ head. Doesn’t help that it’s been the setting of two award winning HBO crime shows like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.
78. Pocatello, Idaho, United States
Okay, this is a flag of a city in Idaho. However, it looks more like an emblem designed for a local auto dealership with shitty commercials. I heard they changed it in 2008. Let’s hope it’s not something that’s looks straight out of some printing program.
79. Tampa Bay, Florida, United States
Now that’s a very tacky flag. I mean not only does it have a seal in the middle but that colors are so distracting. Of course, it kind of embodies the spirit of the city. If not, then Florida.
80. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
This was actually voted among the 5 worst flags of the North American Vexillogical Association. Still, it’s been the city’s flag since the 1950s and seems to have way too much on it. Perhaps a flag depicting cheap beer would’ve been more appropriate. Still, you have wonder what kind of art schools the city has to produce a horrible flag like this.