New Zealand flag design: ‘Traditional Blue’ – A considered evolution #Design #Vexillology

New Zealand Flag History:

‘New Zealand adopted our current flag in 1902. It’s derived from the maritime British Blue Ensign. The stars of the Southern Cross were added and, similar to other Commonwealth countries, the Union Jack remains in the first quarter to recognise that New Zealand started as a British colony. The current flag wasn’t our first flag, though. It’s changed before.’

[vsw id=”g1-WhsDA-Iw” source=”youtube” width=”800″ height=”500″ autoplay=”no”]

The current New Zealand Flag:

Current New Zeland Flag

Current New Zeland Flag

[The current NZ Flag flag proportion is 1:2 and the colours are red, blue and white.]

The Land Of The Long White Cloud – ‘Traditional Blue’:

Land Of The Long White Cloud - Traditional Blue

Land Of The Long White Cloud – Traditional Blue

[The ‘Traditional Blue’ flag proportion is 1:2 and the colours are blue, red, white and black.]

Defining New Zealand’s unique story / position in the world:

Land Of The Long White Cloud - Traditional Blue

Land Of The Long White Cloud – Traditional Blue

‘This design subtly references ‘The Land Of The Long White Cloud’, the Southern Cross and the Pacific Ring of Fire, with a nod to New Zealand’s silver fern and our geographic location within the world. The colour palette is iconic and incorporates elements from the 1902 New Zealand flag and the national Māori flag.’ [Source: NZ Government website]

The ‘Traditional Blue’ design below respects New Zealand’s rich history, but also gives the country a strong new identity, through the iconic colour palette / scheme and recognisable symbolism.

A ‘design driven approach’ – #NZFlag symbolism in detail:

I wanted to achieve a respectful evolution of the current #NZflag, focusing / building on Kiwis strong relationship / connection with the natural environment, (The Southern Hemisphere / world), while also ensuring the design includes very strong and meaningful historical, cultural and geographic symbolism / references.

Most of all, I wanted the new flag to define New Zealand’s unique story / identity / position in the world. ‘The Land Of The Long White Cloud’ (Traditional Blue) references The Southern Cross, The stars / anchor that guided Māori and early European voyagers to New Zealand. The Pacific Ocean is represented by the deep Blue. The Pacific Ring Of Fire is represented by the Red colour and is approximately on the same angle that The Ring Of Fire passes through New Zealand. ‘The Land Of The Long White Cloud’ / Silver Fern element is represented by white, which is a simplified version of the Silver Fern, as I wanted to ensure that, 1, it ticked the box that it ‘could be easily drawn by a child from memory’, and 2, that it would rescale when drastically rescaled in size, (thinking of digital adaptation). The resulting design – A simple, unique, abstract flag design, that reflects New Zealand’s creative, innovative spirit.

Ensuring design is inclusive to all New Zealanders through their Environment / Natural World elements:
The reason I came back to the environment, / natural world is not only due to the impact that it has had on every New Zealander, but specifically because each of these environmental / natural world elements within the design are ‘timeless’ and are inclusive to all New Zealanders – no matter of their ethnic background.

The Southern Cross, The Pacific Ocean, The Ring Of Fire, The North and South Islands represented by The Land Of The Long White Cloud / simplified Silver Fern are 100% New Zealand. Each design element has touched the lives / touches the lives / will continue touching the lives with each and every New Zealander past, present and future – truly timeless, truly inclusive.

The ‘Traditional Blue’ flag design is:

– Simple / bold, uncluttered and balanced
– Can be viewed from either side
– Timeless, with strong symbolism unique to New Zealand
– Designed to work in both a historic and modern setting
– Respectful of New Zealand’s history and current flag
– So simple a child could draw it from memory

An inclusive colour palette – Historical, cultural and geographic ref:

An inclusive colour palette - The Current New Flag + The National Maori Flag = 'Traditional Blue'

An inclusive colour palette – The Current New Flag + The National Maori Flag = ‘Traditional Blue’

An inclusive design – Tradition and Unity step-by-step animation:

Traditional Blue - Tradition and Unity

Traditional Blue – Tradition and Unity

Traditional Blue – Tradition and Unity graphic

A step-by-step visual showing how 'Traditional blue' evolved from The Current New Zealand & National Maori flags.

A step-by-step visual showing how ‘Traditional blue’ evolved from The Current New Zealand & National Maori flags.

Designing The Land Of The Long White Cloud – ‘Traditional Blue’ [Animation below on a loop for your information]:

Animation - Designing The Land Of The Long White Cloud - 'Traditional Blue'

Animation – Designing The Land Of The Long White Cloud – ‘Traditional Blue’

Designing The Land Of The Long White Cloud – ‘Traditional Blue’…

1. Blue represents The Tasman Sea and The Pacific Ocean

Blue represents The Tasman Sea and The Pacific Ocean

Blue represents The Tasman Sea and The Pacific Ocean

2. The Stars represent The Southern Cross

The stars represent The Southern Cross

The stars represent The Southern Cross

3. Red represents The Pacific Ring Of Fire

Red represents The Pacific Ring Of Fire

Red represents The Pacific Ring Of Fire

 4. White references…

White references...

White references…

 5. White references a simplified fern and…

White references... A simplified fern and...

White references… A simplified fern and…

 6. White also references, ‘The Land Of The Long White Cloud’

White references... The Land Of The Long White Cloud

White references… The Land Of The Long White Cloud:

[*Please note, both the current New Zealand flag and The National Maori flag colour palettes have been referenced in the ‘Traditional Blue’ design ].

#ThinkDigital – The New Zealand flag v The Australian flag when viewed on a small screen / at a small size

Please watch this online / digital example, which highlights just how difficult it is to tell the and Australian and New Zealand flags apart. (*I appreciate the example below has been scaled down, but the country flags wouldn’t appear much larger on a mobile device.)

Animation - Is that the New Zealand or Australian flag?

Animation – Is that the New Zealand or Australian flag?

A considered evolution with a strong unique NZ identity.

The Land Of The Long White Cloud ‘Traditional Blue’ – Flying in a south-westerly.

The Land Of The Long White Cloud 'Traditional Blue' - Flying in a south-westerly.

The Land Of The Long White Cloud ‘Traditional Blue’ – Flying in a south-westerly.

The Land Of The Long White Cloud ‘Traditional Blue’ – Commemorating ANZAC Day. [Original photo].

The 'Traditional Blue' NZ Flag - Commemorating ANZAC Day. A considered evolution with a strong individual identity.

The ‘Traditional Blue’ NZ Flag – Commemorating ANZAC Day. A considered evolution with a strong individual identity.

The Land Of The Long White Cloud ‘Traditional Blue’ – Supporting The All Blacks. [Original photo].

The 'Traditional Blue' NZ Flag supporting the All Blacks - A considered evolution with a strong identity.

The ‘Traditional Blue’ NZ Flag supporting the All Blacks – A considered evolution with a strong identity.

The Land Of The Long White Cloud ‘Traditional Blue’ – Flying in London, UK. [Original photo].

The 'Traditional Blue' NZ Flag flying in London. A considered evolution with a strong individual identity.

The ‘Traditional Blue’ NZ Flag flying in London. A considered evolution with a strong individual identity.

The Land Of The Long White Cloud 'Traditional Blue' - Flying outside of New Zealand's Parliament [Beehive]

The Land Of The Long White Cloud ‘Traditional Blue’ – Flying outside of New Zealand’s Parliament [Beehive]

The Land Of The Long White Cloud ‘Traditional Blue’ – Flying outside of New Zealand’s Parliament [Beehive] [*Copyright – The three photos above have been reworked in Photoshop and are strictly being used to illustrate how The Land Of The White Cloud – Traditional Blue flag would look in various situations. These are not being sold for any commercial gain.]

New Zealand deserves a unique, inclusive, original, innovative, cool flag!

Land Of The Long White Cloud - Traditional Blue

Land of the long white cloud – A unique, inclusive, original, innovative, cool flag!

Land of the long white cloud, Traditional blue – Post referendum:

Land of the long white cloud - Traditional blue - Post referendum celebration!

To conclude: What do I stand for…

New Zealand - What do I stand for statement

New Zealand – What do I stand for statement

I stand for respecting New Zealand’s rich cultural heritage and traditions, and embracing freedom and equality. I stand for a bright future all Kiwi’s can be truly proud of, together as one. I stand for New Zealand. [Mike Archer]

I hope my proposed New Zealand flag solution is both respectful and engaging – thank you for taking the time to read this blog.

MikeNew Zealand flag design: ‘Traditional Blue’ – A considered evolution #Design #Vexillology

Comments 3

  1. geoff

    Love your design-the Fern design that lost the referendum was a mess-the fern reads very poorly from a distance. My only comment is that perhaps the red curve should have been edged both sides in white. Red against Dark blue does not read as well as against white-would also have echoed the UJ with the white fimbriated red curve.
    Great design

    regards
    from South Africa

    Geoff Caruth

  2. Post
    Author
    Mike

    Thanks very much Geoff, I sincerely appreciate your kind words. I did try an iteration with both sides of the red curve, (Pacific ring of fire), in white – it just didn’t rescale, (to a small size), as well as I would of liked to be honest – particularly when viewed on a mobile. Many thanks again Geoff.

  3. Mike

    Interesting thinking & design. One element that no-one seems to address, tho’, is the Southern Cross. All depictions to date reference a crucifix… Proportionally, what percentage of the time when visible is the S. Cross “vertical” ? Short answer, very small… Crucifix ?? Always… It needs an angle… any angle!!

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