Monday, November 28, 2011

New Flag for Western Australia

The flag of Western Australia suffers from the same issues as all the other Australian state flags, literally, almost the exact same problems:

That swan is kind of neat though, so it will be retained, but the rest of the universal Aussi flag template is gone.  The swan is a Black Swan, the state bird of Western Australia and a common symbol for them, showing up on their seal as well.  If you've read my post on the flag of New South Wales, you'll understand my affinity for the Australian Aborigine flag, so my first idea to improve Western Australia's was a little lazy:

I think this one looks good, but if I rely too much on the pattern and color scheme, I'm not really fixing these flags, just shifting the theme of them.  So with that in mind, here was my second attempt:

This one is a uses blue for the vast coastline of the state, yellow for the incredible mineral wealth, and retains the swan as a central figure, thus using common flag concepts with one that is unique to Western Australia.  It is also a tad off center (top-to-bottom wise) so as to make it look like the swan is floating on the water.  My only concern with this one was that the swan seemed a bit too small, so I made it larger, filling the space a bit more, but still maintaining a simple figure:

Voila, a new flag for Western Australia.  Two down, four to go (five if I can think up a good one for the ACT).

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Flag for New South Wales

The first of the Australian states, it seems only fitting to begin this series by trying to fix the flag of New South Wales.  Here's what we have to work with:

If viewed on its own, this flag isn't that bad.  The Union Jack ties in the British heritage, as does the lion and cross of St. George.  In fact the only thing on this flag that is vaguely Australian are the four stars on the field, stars which are also used on the national flag.  The main problem with this flag is that it is almost identical to the flags of the other five states, the only difference being the contents of the seal, so rather than try and tweak this design, I've decided to scrap it and start fresh.

As the state is named New South Wales, I figured I'd start with the flag of Wales (though I've always wondered whether it means a new Wales in the south, or only named after Southern Wales):

This flag is awesome, mostly because of the dragon.  Since they use the Welsh name, I thought the folks in Sydney, Newcastle, and Wollongong might like to borrow some Welsh symbols.  This was my attempt at an antipodean version:

This quick flip of the colors and dragon orientation is a simple fix, but it packs a lot of meaning into a simple (well, calling that dragon simple is probably a stretch) design.  However, I wasn't satisfied and decided to change the color scheme as well.  The colors of the Australian national flag are red, white, and blue, but that combo didn't really work, so I went to another set of Australian colors, those used on the flag of the Aboriginal community:

This is an excellent flag and the colors provide a great contrast while conveying a deeper meaning.  Here is the final product:

With this flag you get the symbolism of the Aboriginal flag and the Welsh flag, while at the same time utilizing a very unique design, perhaps rivaled only by Bhutan in coolness.  I've removed almost all the interior detail of the dragon, excepting the eye and wing outline, and while it wouldn't be too easy to draw, it would be instantly recognizable.  This flag also has the added bonus of no longer being interchangeable with the flags of every other Australian state and most other British colonies.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Australian state flags

Ok, been awhile, but I'm back to start a new series.  For the next few weeks, we'll be looking at, and trying to improve, the state flags of Australia.  In the past, I've complained about monotony in both Canadian provincial and American state flags, but compared to the Aussie ones, those are a rainbow of diversity.  Every state flag Down Under flows a simple formula, the Union Jack in the top-left corner and a seal on the right, all on a dark blue background.

In a sad way, the flags of the Australian territories have far more interesting and unique flags than their state counterparts.  Here are a couple of the best examples of this:

This is the flag of the Northern Territory, home to Ayers Rock/Uluru and the only part of mainland Australia that isn't a state (maybe the capital area too, but that's a different situation).  They've taken three colors that contrast well and used them to recreate two very prominent symbols, the Southern Cross (a constellation also found on the national flag) and the Sturt's Desert Rose (the territorial flower which also has historical connections).  A very nice flag which is very different than any of the state flags, even though it uses similar symbols.  Another great example of an Australian flag done right is Norfolk Island:

A small island in the Pacific, populated largely by descendants of the HMS Bounty's mutineers.  Although the tree in the center may be a bit too detailed, the Norfolk pine is a familiar symbol of the island, and the fact that they only use two colors for the flag works well.  Like the Northern Territory, Norfolk Island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia, but isn't a state.

In the coming weeks, I'll be going through the states of Australia, and maybe some of the other territories, and trying to help them stand out, or at the very least be distinguishable from one another.  First up will be New South Wales.  I'd be on the look out for me playing up the "Wales" part of that, mostly because I have difficulty resisting the urge to put a dragon on a flag.