OGF:Making realistic flags

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This page is intended to help users design flags that look realistic.

To create realistic flags, bear in mind that flag design is a bit different from other types of design. The trick is to remember that flags have to be easily and quickly recognizable when they're flapping about on a pole in the distance, perhaps in less-than-ideal visibility conditions.

Originality
Create original flags, instead of copying real ones. Flagtutorial01a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial01b.png
Don't just paste an emblem on a well-known flag. Make something more unique. Flagtutorial20a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial20b.png
Contrast
Almost all real flags use light and dark colors to create contrast. Flags which are all light or all dark are very rare. The reason for this is because flags are designed be seen from a great distance. At a distance, colors without contrast tend to blend together and are hard to recognize. Flagtutorial02a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial02b.png
Similarly, avoid using close shades of the same color, or colors that are very similar to each other. Flagtutorial04a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial04b.png
If you need to use colors of similar brightness, you can create contrast by adding a barrier between them. This is feasible only with very simple designs. Flagtutorial03a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial03b.png
Simplicity
Real flags tend to use a limited set of colors, because it makes the flag easy to produce and easy to recognize. For many designs, 2 or 3 colors is ideal. Cut unnecessary colors whenever you can. Flagtutorial05a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial05b.png
For a bolder, more impactful flag, try cutting unnecessary features. Usually simpler designs are more powerful. Flagtutorial06a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial06b.png
For a bolder, more impactful flag, try making the important features large. Flagtutorial07a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial07b.png
For a bolder, more impactful flag, try removing maps, seals and text. Flagtutorial08a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial08b.png
Instead of overlapping features, make space between them so they are easier to view. Overlapping features can be difficult to see from a great distance. Flagtutorial09a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial09b.png
Realism
Real flags almost never use shadows, textures, gradients or 3-D effects. Flagtutorial10a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial10b.png
If a color appears in multiple parts of a flag, it is normally the same shade everywhere. Flagtutorial16a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial16b.png
Use artwork that reflects the style you are trying to achieve. A rough drawing may be appropriate if the flag is trying to depict "primitive art" like a cave painting, but in a more polished context more professional artwork would be more realistic. For example, there's a huge amount of heraldic artwork freely available at Wikimedia Commons and elsewhere. Flagtutorial11a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial11b.png
If your flag is meant to be old, then it should use old colors, old artwork and old design styles. Flagtutorial12a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial12b.png
Even if your flag is meant to be ultra-modern, it should use appropriate artwork styles. Flagtutorial13a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial13b.png
Make sure all elements are aligned, centered, and evenly spaced, where appropriate. Flagtutorial14a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial14b.png
Animals, people, ships, vehicles, etc, which are in profile should normally face the flagpole. This is because if the flag is hanging vertically then they are facing upwards, and if the flag is being carried in motion (like in a parade, on a car, on horseback, into battle, etc) then the figure on the flag is facing/moving forward. Flagtutorial15a.png Flagtutorialarrow.png Flagtutorial15b.png

Give credit

Any image you use when making a flag (even if you modify it significantly) should be given credit when you upload the flag here. Use the "Summary" box when you upload the image to include a link to the original artwork. All images must be free to use (public domain or Creative Commons license).

Have fun and ask questions

Happy flagmaking! If you have questions or comments, or are looking for more specific advice, feel free to share on the Discussion page. If you don't want to design a flag yourself, there are flag people here who would be happy to do it for you — if you're interested, just ask.

How to display your flag to the wiki

After making your country's flag, you'll probably want to add it to the wiki so it shows up correctly next to your country's name in various lists. It's very easy. Here's how:

  • 1. Create a template using your country's short name. For example, type into your browser: http://opengeofiction.net/wiki/index.php/Template:Mycountryname (← but replace "Mycountryname" with the name of your country).
  • 2. Wiki will say "there is currently no text in this page" so you need to create the page. Click 'Create' in the upper right, near the search bar.
  • 3. In the text area, type [[File:MyCountryFlagImage.png|28px|border]] [[Mycountryname]]<noinclude>[[Category:Templates flags]]</noinclude>

where "MyCountryFlagImage.png" is the name of whatever flag image file you uploaded to your country page. Make sure there is a space between the two sets of double brackets, and make sure you replace "Mycountryname" with the name of your country.

  • 4. Then go into the lists and change your country from [[Mycountryname]] to {{Mycountryname}}. Voilà!

External links