Flag Design Principles

The study of flags and flag design is called vexillology. The North American Vexillological Association outlines a set of good flag design principles in the charming booklet Good Flag, Bad Flag.

Read a description of good flag design principles and see examples of good and bad flags in the North American Vexillological Association’s Good Flag, Bad Flag booklet.

The principles emphasize simplicity and meaningful symbolism. Flags that follow these principles are highly effective.

Some well-designed city flags​​

Flags that deviate from these principles tend to be forgettable or just plain lousy.​

Some poorly-designed city flags​​​

The Raleigh flag of 1899 was designed with good intentions. The design committee sought to convey Raleigh’s identity as the City of Oaks and acknowledge the eponymic Sir Walter Raleigh. Unfortunately, the flag of 1899 doesn’t follow good design principles. It’s complex, uses too many colors, has unreadable letters and numbering, and is generally indistinct and uninspiring.​

The proposed new Raleigh flag design preserves the intent of the 1899 flag while following good flag design principles. It’s a banner worthy of the city’s pride.