Personal website of Brian Cham:

Vexillologist (flag expert; finalist for flag of Long Beach, California, finalist for flag of Reno, Nevada, designed flags for fictional nations in NeuroSpasta RPG; Earth flag featured in newsletter of NAVA (largest flag organisation in the world); NAVA member)

Cryptographer (code breaker)

Software developer

Cinephile (film enthusiast)

Designer

Meta

Proposed flag of Massachusetts

Flags

This design is part of my 2009 flag proposal series (the flag designs from my old site with the most hits and ratings).

The current design

Current flag of Massachusetts

The current flag of Massachusetts is a typical American-style seal-on-a-bedsheet design, and as a result it is convoluted, unmemorable and uninspiring. In 2020, the flag has come under scrutiny from many groups because the sword above the Native American figure can be seen as an endorsement of colonial violence. In July, the state senate voted unanimously to look into redesigning the state seal and flag. Therefore, here is my proposal.

My proposal

Proposed flag of Massachusetts

Proposed flag of Earth

Flags

Updates

4 July 2020: This flag was showcased in the newsletter of the North American Vexillological Association, the largest flag organisation in the world!

The current situation

We need an official flag of Earth. We live in an unprecedented times where all the people of the world are connected together and aware of global issues, but are at risk of being divided. The planet itself under threat from destructive forces. Ecosystems around the world are dying, collapsing and on fire. We have a flag for every single place, except for the place that is most important of all. We have a flag for every single homeland, except for the land that is home to every human being. We have a flag for every single cause, except for the single largest cause in the history of our whole species. We have no consistent symbol for our entire home, yet we clearly need to express that right now.

When we want to represent global co-operation, what flag do we use? When we protest the planet’s environmental issues, what flag do we fly? When we celebrate events like Earth Day, what flag emoji do we use in our message?

There are a few options but they do not cut it. The most famous global flag is the flag of the United Nations but that represents the organisation and not the whole planet. Some people use a photograph of the planet Earth but that is not appropriate for a flag. There are other proposals but they are messy or unintuitive. We need a good, simple, catchy flag to represent our planet.

Therefore, here is my proposal.

My proposal

Proposed flag of Earth

Proposed flags of Australia

Flags

SUMMARY

Here are all the Australian flag designs I made over the years. Like my New Zealand flag proposals, I put in a lot of effort researching and designing these proposals. This time, James Fitzmaurice was only indirectly involved. Australia has not had an official flag competition or referendum yet but I’ll be ready once it happens!

Proposed flags of Australia by Brian Cham.

Proposed flags of Australia by Brian Cham.

INTRODUCTION

As with all design, the how and the why is more important than the what. I used the same process as my New Zealand flag designs so I’ll just summarise that here.

After that, the article lists each of my proposals.

Proposed flag of Taiwan / 台灣擬議國旗

Flags

The current situation / 目前的情況

Flag of the Republic of China

Flag of the Republic of China / 中華民國國旗

Flag of the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party)

Flag of the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) / 國民黨的旗幟

The current flag of Taiwan is a historical relic inherited from the Republic of China, which ruled mainland China over seventy years ago. Now it is confined to the island of Taiwan and the country is simply known as Taiwan to everybody. Moreover, it is based on the flag of a single political party, the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party). This may have made sense when Taiwan was a one-party state, but not when Taiwan is now a multi-party democracy in which the Kuomintang is just one of many political parties.

台灣目前的國旗是從中華民國繼承的歷史文物,中華民國統治了七十多年前。 現在它被限制在台灣島上,這個國家被大家簡單地稱為台灣。 而且,它是基於單一政黨國民黨(中國國民黨)的旗幟。 當台灣是一個一黨制國家時,這可能是有道理的,但是當台灣現在是一個國民黨只是許多政黨之一的多黨制民主制時,這是沒有道理的

In recent years, Taiwan has shifted towards a strong, local, independent identity, especially the younger generations. For example, a poll by National Chengchi University shows that the majority of the population now identify as “Taiwanese” rather than “Chinese”, and this is constantly rising. Also, in July 2020, the Taiwanese passport was officially redesigned to emphasise the name “Taiwan” instead of “Republic of China”. There have been many such changes from the 2000s onwards.

近年來,台灣已朝著強大的,本地的,獨立的身份轉變,尤其是年輕一代。 例如,國立政治大學的一項民意測驗顯示,現在大多數人口都是“台灣人”而不是“中國人”,而且這一比例還在不斷上升。 此外,2020年7月,台灣護照正式進行了重新設計,以強調“台灣”而不是“中華民國”的名稱。 從2000年代開始,發生了許多這樣的變化。

In light of these developments and more, some have called for a flag for the island of Taiwan itself and some have even proposed designs. However, those designs have significant flaws and none are popular. Therefore, here is my proposal.

鑑於這些事態發展以及更多事態發展,有些人呼籲為台灣島本身設置旗幟,有些人甚至提出了設計方案。 但是,這些設計存在重大缺陷,而且沒有一個受歡迎。因此,這是我的建議。

Note: My choice of designs do not necessarily reflect my political opinions.

注意:我對設計的選擇不一定反映我的政治觀點。

My proposal / 我的提案

Proposed flag of Taiwan / 台灣擬議國旗

Proposed flag of United Ireland

Flags

The current situation

Four Provinces flag

Four Provinces flag

The island of Ireland is currently split between the Republic of Ireland in the south and Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) in the north. Each side has their own flag, but there is no single design to represent the whole of Ireland. This is a problem when there are many all-Ireland organisations and sporting-teams; some of these compete internationally but cannot use an official all-Ireland flag because no such design exists. Instead, each one uses their own ad hoc compromise design. A well-known example is the Four Provinces flag (displayed above) that just combines the individual flags of each of Ireland’s four provinces so as to represent the entire island in a disunited, clumsy and complex way.

Compare this situation with the Korean peninsula: Although it is split between North Korea and South Korea, there is a single official flag to represent the whole of Korea for joint organisations and sporting teams.

There is another big reason why an all-Ireland flag is needed. In the future, Northern Ireland may vote to leave the United Kingdom and unite with the rest of Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement stipulates that a referendum for Irish unification can be held if public support is high enough; this has not happened yet but it remains a future possibility. As The Economist notes, this possibility is actually becoming likelier by the day. If the cause for Irish unification escalates or even succeeds, it will need a symbol that is acceptable to both sides.

Therefore, here is my proposal.

Note: My choice of designs do not reflect my political opinions.

My proposal

Proposed flag of United Ireland

Proposed flag of United Ireland

Proposed flag of Hong Kong

Flags

Video summary

 

The current design

Current flag of Hong Kong

Current flag of Hong Kong

The current flag of Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region of China) consists of a bauhinia flower and five stars on a red field. Although this design was created by a local and contains a native flower, it was adopted under strict oversight by the Chinese government. The dominance of the colour red and the five stars, all borrowed from the Chinese flag, are a result of this. The relationship between Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China has come under growing scrutiny, so many Hongkongers feel that their flag reminds them more of China’s power than Hong Kong’s identity and no longer represents them. Therefore, here is my proposal.

My proposal

Proposed flag of Hong Kong

Proposed flag of Hong Kong

Proposed flag of New Caledonia / Drapeau proposé de la Nouvelle-Calédonie

Flags

Video summary / Résumé vidéo

The current situation / La situation présente

Flags of New Caledonia / Drapeaux de Nouvelle Calédonie

New Caledonia’s strange and controversial flag situation: The flag of FLNKS party (left) and the flag of France (right) are co-official… but there is no single flag for the whole of New Caledonia itself.
Situation étrange et controversée en Nouvelle-Calédonie: le drapeau du parti FLNKS (à gauche) et le drapeau de la France (à droite) sont co-officiels … mais il n’existe pas de drapeau unique pour la Nouvelle-Calédonie.

New Caledonia’s flag situation is bizarre by world standards. Instead of a single flag, it currently has two co-official flags, neither of which represents the whole of New Caledonia. One is the flag of France itself. The other is the flag of FLNKS, the political coalition that represents the Kanak indigenous people. This compromise was condemned as clumsy, divisive, controversial and unrepresentative. The situation was even spurned by important leaders at the time like the President of the Government of New Caledonia, the representative of New Caledonia to the National Assembly and the mayor of Nouméa. Critics pointed to the principles of the Nouméa Accord (the 1998 agreement between the French government and FLNKS) which expresses the wish for a “common destiny” for all communities. Many New Caledonians have demanded a single new flag that would express a common identity for all of New Caledonia. There have been existing proposals, but these designs are quite complex. Therefore, here is my proposal.

La situation du drapeau de la Nouvelle-Calédonie est bizarre par rapport aux normes mondiales. Au lieu d’un seul drapeau, il possède actuellement deux drapeaux co-officiels, qui ne représentent ni l’un ni l’autre toute la Nouvelle-Calédonie. L’un est le drapeau de la France elle-même. L’autre est le drapeau du FLNKS, la coalition politique qui représente le peuple autochtone kanak. Ce compromis a été condamné comme maladroit, source de discorde, controversé et non représentatif. La situation a même été rejetée par des dirigeants importants tels que le président du gouvernement de la Nouvelle-Calédonie, le représentant de la Nouvelle-Calédonie à l’Assemblée nationale et le maire de Nouméa. Les critiques ont évoqué les principes de l’accord de Nouméa (l’accord de 1998 entre le gouvernement français et le FLNKS), qui exprime le souhait d’un «destin commun» pour toutes les communautés. De nombreux Néo-Calédoniens ont réclamé un nouveau drapeau unique exprimant une identité commune pour toute la Nouvelle-Calédonie. Il y a eu des propositions existantes, mais ces modèles sont assez complexes. Par conséquent, voici ma proposition.

Note: My choice of designs do not reflect my political opinions.

Remarque: mon choix de modèles ne reflète pas mes opinions politiques.

My proposal / Ma proposition

Proposed flag of New Caledonia / Drapeau proposé de la Nouvelle-Calédonie

Proposed flag of New Caledonia / Drapeau proposé de la Nouvelle-Calédonie

Proposed flags of New Zealand

Flags

SUMMARY

Here are all the New Zealand flag designs made by myself and James Fitzmaurice over the years. We spent a long time learning, researching, refining and designing our proposals but we were dismayed that none were even considered for the official 2016 flag referendum. Recall that this referendum had judges with no design qualifications or experience, produced design options that were very unpopular with the public, and completely bombed with no meaningful consequences — What a waste of an exceptional opportunity!

We think our designs are far superior to the referendum’s official selection in aesthetics, symbolism and justification – a product of raging narcissism or qualified judgement? For the first time, we have collected all of our designs in one place so you can decide!

Proposed flags of New Zealand by Brian Cham and James Fitzmaurice.

Proposed flags of New Zealand by Brian Cham and James Fitzmaurice.

INTRODUCTION

As with all design, the how and the why is more important than the what. This article begins by describing our extensive design process. Firstly, it describes our overall methodology and guiding principle. Secondly, it lists all of the common flag design traps that we tried to avoid. Thirdly, it explores New Zealand’s national symbolism and how to effectively express it in a flag design. Afterwards, this article covers each flag design with commentary, larger graphics and construction sheets.

Proposed flag of Michigan

Flags

The current design

flag of michigan, usa

Current flag of Michigan

The current flag of Michigan is a typical American-style seal-on-blue-bedsheet design; as a result it is convoluted, unmemorable and uninspiring. It scored 3.46/10 in NAVA’s survey, making it the 14th worst rated flag in North America. In 2018, a state senator introduced a bill to replace it with a new design. Although nothing came of that, below is what I would have proposed:

My proposal

02 proposed flag of michigan [recoded]

Proposed flag of Michigan

Proposed flag of Fiji

Flags

The current design

Flag of Fiji

The current flag of Fiji

The current flag of Fiji is almost unchanged from its colonial predecessor, a defaced British Blue Ensign. Since becoming a republic, the prime minister Frank Bainimarama called for a new flag design to reflect a new, genuine, confident Fijian identity without inheriting old colonial symbols. The Fijian government called for submissions throughout 2015 and 2016 but this plan fell through. This was the proposal designed by myself, James Fitzmaurice and Rachael Radhika-Hart.

Our proposal

Proposed flag of Fiji by Brian Cham, James Fitzmaurice and Rachael Radhika-Hart.

Proposed flag of Fiji by Brian Cham, James Fitzmaurice and Rachael Radhika-Hart.