What is the Most Patriotic Color?

…asked Time Magazine in its “Answers Issue”, Sept. 8–15, 2014.

After downloading images of 196 national flag from Flagpedia.net, Time added up the number of pixels of each color, simplified them, and grouped them into categories of white, black, red, blue, green, and yellow using a simple algorithm.

Time thus determined the frequency of colors by area in national flags.  Although perhaps flawed in detail, overall it is a sound analysis.

For an interactive browser, visit http://time.com/patriotic-flag-colors/.

(This item was published in our bimonthly newsletter, The Vexilloid Tabloid, Issue 48.)

Red: 31%, Blue: 21%, White: 18%, Green: 15%, Yellow: 10%, Black: 5%. Source: time.com/answerspatriotic
Red: 31%, Blue: 21%, White: 18%, Green: 15%, Yellow: 10%, Black: 5%. Source: time.com/answerspatriotic

How did Portland get such a nice flag?

99logoOur very own Ted Kaye sat down with popular design podcaster Roman Mars to talk flag design and tell the story of the Portland flag: how a good design was botched by bureaucrats, and many years later — with some activist vexillology on the part of its designer Douglas Lynch and the PFA — ultimately restored.  For this work, Lynch received the Vexillonnaire Award from the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA) in 2003 — and Portland received what has become one of the most loved municipal flags in the country.

Check out Roman Mars’ podcast 99% Invisible, Episode 140: Vexillonaire (also cross-posted on Slate Magazine’s design blog The Eye as Portland’s Quest for a Better City Flag).  And to learn more about vexillonnaires, jump to the last page (p. 16) of NAVA News Issue 179.

John Hood 1934-2011

John Hood and Mayor Vera Katz with the first redesigned Portland Flag, 2002
Everyone who drove on S.E. 39th Avenue opposite Laurelhurst Park knew the Flag House. Portlanders enjoyed the changing daily display of three flags—all flown for some special reason—by John Hood. There, with his long-time companion Vivian Jackson, he built a collection of over 600 full-size flags and enthusiastically shared them with passersby based on a database of flag-flying days he’d built over several years.

John, who died at age 77 after a battle with cancer, was a charter member of the Portland Flag Association, a group which had grown out of the organizing committee for the 1994 annual meeting of the North American Vexillological Association. After his friend Harry Oswald moved to Texas, John took over the “central coordinator” role for the PFA, and created and published its occasional newsletter, The Vexilloid Tabloid. In it he chronicled PFA meetings, challenged members with flag quizzes, and documented local and national flag doings. He famously wrote, “If you wish to compliment the editor, contact John Hood. If you wish to complain, call your mother.”

He was the first and most gracious host of the now-bimonthly meetings of the PFA, catered with bountiful sweets baked by Vivian. In his living room in 2002, the group hatched a successful effort to redesign the 1969 flag of the City of Portland. After PFA members arranged political support, testified before city council, and watched the redesign ordinance pass unanimously, Mayor Vera Katz asked them to replace the council chamber’s old flag. John attached the newly-adopted flag to the pole, becoming the first person to raise Portland’s current flag.

John was raised in Idaho, served in the Navy, and had a career with the telephone company in San Francisco. A generous soul, John especially supported up-and-coming vexillologists, recently giving his entire collection of flag periodicals from around the world to young members of the PFA.

His colleagues will miss his jovial spirit, expansive knowledge of flags, and commitment to inclusion and conviviality.

Ted Kaye

Notes on the September 2011 meeting

We had another lively discussion, this time in the somewhat hard to find Tupelo Alley “Eco-Lounge”. We had decent attendance, though we particularly missed John Hood, who was unable to attend due to health issues. Here are a few highlights, each with an illustration!

Scott Mainwaring and Ted Kaye gave a brief report on their experiences at the Washington Flag Congress (which was both the 44th annual NAVA meeting and the 24th biennial International Congress of Vexillology convened by FIAV, Fédération Internationale des Associations Vexillologiques in the language of international diplomacy, French, or International Federation of Vexillological Associations, in English). Scott and Ted are shown here holding the flag designed for the congress (now part of the Kaye collection). Scott wondered aloud if our own Portland Flag Association, being in fact a vexillological association, might qualify for membership in FIAV; Ted seems to like that idea. More at the next meeting. Continue reading “Notes on the September 2011 meeting”

Rainbow flag foolishness in Antelope Valley (Cal.)

Apparently the organizers of the Antelope Valley Fair in the California desert inadvertently chose to festoon their venue with LGBT rainbow flags. A local blog documents the official and community reaction:

ordinary-gentlemen.com/burtlikko/2011/08/19/that-flag-means-what-now/

Underscores the need for more widespread flag education, this does.

Half the Oregon flag on a stamp

Forever stamp featuring Oregon state flag
Oregon’s entry in the “Flags of Our Nation” stamp series, released August 12, 2011.

There was a ceremony in Salem today to announce a new USPS stamp featuring the Oregon state flag. (Actually, only one side of the state flag — the obverse — leaving what some would argue is the better side hidden.)

See: Elida S. Perez, “Oregon state flag is featured in latest Forever stamp”, Salem Statesman Journal, 8/11/11