The International Flag of Planet Earth

For his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications project at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden, Oskar Pernefeldt has produced a very slick set of marketing materials for an “official proposal” for “the International Flag of Planet Earth“.  On May 18th, Jacob Kastrenakes posted on The Verge a writeup entitled, with needless belligerency, This is the flag we’ll plant when we conquer an alien planet This went viral, sending Pernefeldt’s flag concept zipping internationally around the planet Earth, in cyber space if not outer space.

Seven interlocking circles form a flower.
Seven interlocking circles form a flower.

Is this school project the first Internet-savvy “product launch” for a new flag?  As a point of comparison, it will be interesting over the coming months to see how the countries of Fiji and New Zealand will use graphic design and social media platforms to market the new flags now being worked on.

A row-house resident defies his conformist American neighbors by declaring his allegiance to the planet!
A row-house resident defies his conformist American neighbors by declaring his allegiance to the planet!

This project was far from a solo effort.  Pernefeldt thanks 15 individuals (including FIAV president Michel Lupant, and a heraldic artist from the Swedish national archives, Henrik Dahlström) and the following diverse set of six companies for their assistance:

  • bsmart – a photography, 3D/CGI, and image retouch company based in Stockholm and Cape Town
  • Johnér Images – a stock photography “natural imagery” firm
  • Flaggfabriken Kronan – a Swedish flag maker and retailer
  • LG Electronics – the South Korean consumer electronics giant
  • Namnband – a Swedish company specializing in garment labeling equipment
  • NASA – the US space agency (but why not the European Space Agency?)
A Mars explorer drives out into a shallow valley, inexplicably, to plant a plastic looking banner/flag.
A Mars explorer drives out into a shallow valley, inexplicably, to plant a plastic looking banner/flag.

All in all, a very impressive student project on futuristic vexillography.  It would have been even stronger had it addressed the materials requirements for spaceworthy flags, and for flags that could actually fly in the thin Martian atmosphere.  And it does not try to position itself within the existing design space for earth flags, including John McConnell’s famous Earth Flag.  But for an undergraduate art project, really not bad at all — and perhaps something Fiji, New Zealand, and other new flag promotion projects can learn from.

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Author: SDM

Ethnography * Technology * Design

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