Someone suggested that my Five Eyes Flag would work as a flag for the English language. While this isn’t quite right—any flag for the English language would have to include Ireland, probably South Africa, and arguably many other places (Belize, India, etc.)—it got me thinking what languages could use a flag of their own.
It would have to be a language (officially) spoken in more than one, but not more than a handful of countries. French, Spanish & Arabic are too widely spoken, and there are already a boatload of bad flags for the German language. So I decided to try designing a flag for the Chinese language.
Chinese is the official language of five polities, symbols from whose flags appear on this flag, atop a color also taken from their flag. In order from left to right, they are Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, The Republic of China (a.k.a. Taiwan), and The People’s Republic of China (a.k.a. just China). The symbols are arranged in an arc that mirrors the geographic locations of the five in east Asia, from Singapore in the south, to Taiwan off the east coast of mainland China.
Also, note that I said polities and not countries: Macau and Hong Kong are technically not countries but Special Administrative Regions of China, and Taiwan is not widely recognized as a country. There’s lots to be offended about by this flag; not only the animosity between China and Taiwan but the fact, pointed out to me by a friend, that the flag of Taiwan is actually the flag of the KMT, the dominant political party there.
I hereby release this flag into the public domain so it may stoke the flames of many internet flame wars. Enjoy!
Don’t underestimate the importance of good curves. I stumbled across this Buddhist “Dream Flag” a while back, and while it’s a great design, the final execution of the curves immediately stood out as needing improvement. And it was the perfect excuse to use Raph Levien’s Spiro curves in Inkscape to try to get a better-than-Bézier curve. Here’s my revised version:
Here’s a comparison (using ImageMagick’s compare tool) between my version and the original:
And just for reference, here’s the original:
Good curves are important, and it’s much easier to get controlled, smooth, symmetric curves with spiros than with Béziers. With a spiro, you only really need a new control point at every point where the curvature changes, and you’ll get pretty close. And you can use a control point to force a curve through a certain position without having to adjust the curvature of adjacent points by fiddling with Bézier control points.
The green grass on the California flag is looking a bit disingenuous these days, as we’re in the middle of the worst drought in our history. Plus it’s likely this year will be one of the most intense fire seasons ever.
With this in mind, I made the Drought Flag of California:
I’ve been fiddling with repeating patterns again, (something I did back when the Internet and I were both young).
I duplicated the pattern on the wall of Paige’s bedroom in the television show The Americans. The show is filled with weird late 1970s and early ’80s design.
Oddly enough, it was easy to find information about the kitchen pattern in The Americans, which is a contemporary design supposedly called “Drama Boheme” by Graham & Brown, although I couldn’t find it on Graham & Brown’s website.
And I wrote a tiny little background-testing tool, repeatrix, where you can drag-and-drop any image or URL and get a zoomable preview of it as a background pattern.
But the real thing I want to share is the pattern below. It was designed by my aunt, Elizabeth Delphey, in the late 1970’s, for a designer named Jeanne Gantz. Gantz didn’t want this particular color scheme, but the printer had already printed thousands of sheets of wrapping paper in this pattern, so everyone in our family ended up with more wrapping paper than we knew what to do with. All of us instantly recognize it, as it showed up on birthday presents and under the Christmas tree for years. There’s even still a little bit left, so I scanned it, cleaned it up, and present it here to live forever on the internet:
Try it out in the repeatrix.
Colin Woodard’s “Up in Arms” breaks down North America into eleven “nations” or regions with distinct attitudes towards violence, gun control, and capital punishment, tracing those differences back to the historical origins of the first groups to settle there. Plus it comes with a nifty map.
Neil Freeman’s Electoral College Reform map is now on sale. I’m still wondering what happens to the boundaries of his fifty new states when the population centers drift.
And this 1879 railway map of the Chicago to San Francisco Burlington Railroad is pretty neat too.
Bruno Maag doesn’t pull his punches in this interview about Aktiv, his Helvetica-killer:
…Max Miedinger [Helvetica’s designer] didn’t have a clue about type design. He was the salesman at [foundry] Haas’sche Schriftgießerei for Christ’s sake.
Eric Joyner paints retro-looking toy robots and donuts exclusively, like Too Many Choices II from 2008: