Wednesday, 26 September 2012

City of Natal

My friend from the Flags Forum Leonardo Piccioni published on his blog some ideas for a new flag of Natal. Natal is the state capitol of the Brazilian state Rio Grande do Norte. The current flag is below:
The Coat of arms has a meaning. Natal means Christmas, reflecting on the date the city was founded. The star design appropriately depicts the star of Bethlehem, The biblical star that led the magi to the infant Jesus Christ. Leonardo noticed some Brazilian heraldic rules were broken by these arms. Acording to him they are as fallowed: 

  • The mural crown shows nine visible towers, while, by a standard inherited from Portuguese settlers, a city should use a mural crown with five visible towers.
  • Being Natal the capital city of  Rio Grande do Norte, this mural crown should be golden, in recognition of this special status.
  • The coat of arms is placed in a English shield shape, while a Spanish escutcheon should be rather used.
The obvious solution is a banner of the coat of arms but where would the fun be in that?
Leonardo's design simply corrects these errors:
designed by  Leonardo Piccioni

I have taken this further and made a couple of new designs. The first designs feature both a simple version of the arms showing only the shield and a version with the full coat of arms. 
The first one takes the colours of the current flag and forms a green and white vertical field rather than horizontal with the arms at the hoist separating the two colours. 

The next design really is based on the current flag with the arms moved towards the hoist which I think works better when the flag is in use than if they were in the centre. 

The next flag is based on the American stars and bars flag. but with the bars changed to green and white and the banner of the coat of arms in the canton. 

Again I took this one step further with moving the banner of Natal to where the white bar is and placeing the state flag in the canton. Now the state flag I used is not the official state flag but a proposed replacement designed by Leonardo. The reasons I used this are:
  1. In my opinion it is better than the current flag.
  2. It works better in my flag than what the current state flag does.

I also thought when making this why stop at state? Why not put the Brazil flag in?

The problem I have with this is that the Brazil flag is too complicated and the colours don't work, but this can easily be corrected. 
In this design I simplified the Brazil flag by removing the stars and the text. and changed the blue in the field to match that in the canton. I did not change the green as I think it works better with too shades to make the canton stand out from the flag. 

All designs are mine unless stated otherwise. Comments are appreciated. :)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Londonderry Flag

This idea really only came to me from a post on a different blog about a new flag for the city of Liverpool. Being a Liverpool FC fan I thought I would have ago too. Then I thought about what about my own city Londonderry? Londonderry(aka Derry, Dorie(Irish) Lunnonderrie/Derrie(Scots) the walled city and the maiden city) is one of the most ancient and historic places in Ireland. It is Northern Irelands second city and is set to be the first ever UK city of culture in 2013, so it seems right we should have a decent flag. The flag currently flown over the Derry City Council offices (not the Guildhall where council sits which has no flag pole) is this:

This is a very simple flag with two main features, the city coat of arms and the crimson field. I will explain both.

First off the coat of arms. the most ancient part of the arms consist of a black shield with a skeleton sitting on a mossy stone with a castle in the background. No one really knowns the origin of these.  

  • A suggestion has been made that the castle is related to an early 14th century castle in nearby Greencastle belonging to the Anglo-Norman Earl of Ulster Richard de Burgh.
  • The most popular theory about the skeleton is that it is that of a Norman De Burgh knight who was starved to death in the castle dungeons in 1332 on the orders of his cousin the above mentioned Earl of Ulster. Another explanation put forward was that it depicted Cahir O'Doherty (Sir Charles O'Dogherty), who was put to death after Derry was invested by the English army in 1608. 
In 1979, Londonderry City Council, (before the council changed its name,) commissioned a report into the city's arms and insignia, as part of the design process for an heraldic badge. The published report found that there was no basis for any of the popular explanations for the skeleton and that it was "purely symbolic and does not refer to any identifiable person"
The next cheif of the arms bears the arms of the city of London. It was the London Guilds who funded the reconstruction and plantation of the city and the building of new walls(which still stand today) and a new charter in 1613. (hence the name Londonderry). A Harp was added to the centre of the cross, this is sometimes forgot about, and in the past has been dropped completely In 2002 Derry City Council applied to the College of Arms to have the harp restored to the city arms, and Garter and Norroy & Ulster Kings of Arms accepted. The harp sometimes appears on top of the shield. In Loyalist and Unionist interpenetration's a crown might appear on top of the arms both with and without a harp. Although no crown was ever offically added to the official armsThe motto Vita Veritas Victoria is Latin for life truth victory. . The cities arms are often flanked with flags,banners and weapons. Below is a carving from inside the city Guildhall it depicts cannon, swords spears and muskets and colours flanking the shield. the four flags in this case are a British red ensign representing that Londonderry is a port. the blue flag with gold harp is a traditional flag of Ireland, and the dark crimson ones in the background I will come to next.

The Crimson flag is also part of the Derry tradition. To understand it you need to know that in 1689 the city withstood over 100 days of siege. It was the third and last attack on the walls(which have never been breeched hence the maiden city) During this conflict a crimson emblem was displayed on the walls and later on the Cathedral as a symbol of defiance to the attackers. It features in George Folingsby's painting the Relief of Derry symbolising relief ships lifting the siege. It is belied to have been dipped in blood hence the crimson colour. This colour is known as 'Derry Crimson' and the colour of school blazers, council vehicles
   and the sashes of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Clubs who hoist the crimson banner on the Cathedral and carry it as a colour at the anniversaries of the shutting of the gates and relief celebrations every year.

Top: Crimson Flag flown from St Columbs Cathedral the establish city cathedral (there is a second Roman Catholic one outside the walls) Above Bottom: a crimson Apprentice Boys flag.

The city of culture flag looks like this flown from the Derry-Londonderry round the world race yacht as you can see it is rather operate so I believe we need a better flag to show the world.: 
Not wanting to abandon the coat of arms or the crimson banner I decided to use both I used a banner of the arms in the council logo:
I used a design similar to the flag of City of Dublin shown below:
As you can see a banner of the arms appears in the canton of the design. My designs are below:
 Arms in canton
Arms at hoist

This is a little bare so I added the red hand of ulster 

However I don't think it works so a harp on a blue shield seed logical as it is another shield often seen in the Guildhall. 

The problem with these shields are that it might say Ireland, Northern Ireland or Ulster but not Derry. so I needed a badge and walking in Guildhall square I saw it on the walls. 

An oak leaf symbolising the city origins with a bastion symbolising the ancient walls. I incorporated it in the flags

I also made an elongated version for use as street banners on lampposts: 

The new designs belong to me. All comments welcome 

Friday, 14 September 2012

What if Scotland leaves the UK?

If nothing else the Scottish Independence debate is an interesting topic and issue. If the Scots remain in the UK the there is no flag problem but if they leave there is particularly at sea. What will be the state ensign? what will be the state jack, will the navy have a separate ensign or jack? etc
Purely as a what if scenario that does not represent my views on what is a hot topic in Scotland, I thought I'd make my own versions.
Firstly the Civil Ensign will simply be the national flag, St Andrews Cross or Saltire:
This will be used by all merchant ships registered in Scotland. It may also be used as a civil jack although it is not the official civil jack. However there is one exception to the civil ensign and that is yacht clubs. Like the Republic of Ireland Scottish yacht clubs may use a standard form of ensign bearing the club badge, log or crest and the national flag. I have 3 similar designs for this:

Yacht club ensign 1 with saltire in canton 

Yacht club ensign 2 with half saltire at hoist 

Yacht club ensign 3 with saltire at hoist
Only one design would be used but these are just proposals, the club burgee is completely up to the club.

Next up is the civil or pilot jack. This is based on most piolet jacks with a white boarder. It can be used by any civilian vessel which like in the UK at the moment can really use whatever flag they like as a jack providing it is not a state or military flag.

The state ensign is a saltire defaced with the royal shield. I was considering using the Royal Banner of Scotland, but as the referendum is about the repeal of parliament instead of monarchy, then the monarch will probably use that flag in Scotland. Alternativly I used the saltire defaced with the royal shield like the Nova Scotia flag. This is a state flag and can also be used on land by the government. It will also be used by all government vessels. Fisherys, coast guard, police etc. It might also be used by the naval section of the Scottish armed forces?

The state jack also differs as it square and has a thistle on it to distinguish it from the civil jack and the national flag which can also be used in that role:

If the Scots Navy or equivalent chooses to use its own separate ensign from the state one to distinguish its vessels as warships, then I have three designs for a naval ensign. Like the Royal Navy ensign and most commonwealth navy ensigns it is white.
Naval ensign with royal shield and saltire in canton
Naval ensign with royal shield and half saltire in hoist

Naval ensign with royal shield and saltire in hoist 

The alternative Naval Jack features a saltire and Scottish Crown:

The naval mast head pennant is as fallows:
A paying off pennant would be similar except its length represents the ships time in service.

The Squadron Command Pennant which marks out the flagship of a squadron which is not commanded by a flag officer and replaces mast head pennant is as fallows:

Rank flags for flag officers which would replace the command pennant are as fallows:
 Commodore - swallow tailed Saltire  
Rear Admiral - one dot
Vice Admiral - two dots
Full Admiral - four dots
Admiral of the fleet - Plain Saltire
Again a what if scenario for fun not meant to be political or offensive all designs are mine comments welcome.