Flag Dimension and Ratios

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by coasterville, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. coasterville

    coasterville Member

    Ok, so I realize by now that almost no flag, including our own, is commonly sold in the official specification ratio. (Take for example OLd Glory being specified as 1:1.9 (why not just 1:2 guys??) but sold in the so-called perfect ratio of 3x5 or 4x6.

    There are practical reasons for this, of course, like when displaying multiple flags, it just looks cleaner if all the flags are relatively the same size. Hence the disclaimer in flag catalogs (particularly Annin, whom I believe currently holds the UN flag contract) that their world flags are made to UN specifications, or in otherwise standardized to the 3x5 or 4x6 ratio.

    In most cases this doesn't present much problem, but there is always an exception that prooves the rule. The exception in this case is Nepal. Let me give you a visual aid:

    063013 083.jpg

    The Nepal flag on the left is made by a leading US flagmaker. The flag is of Nylon construction, the header is sturdy, the colors vibrant with good sheen, and the corner between the two triangles is reinfornced with a plastic like coating.

    The Nepal flag on the right is from one of those "Any Flag for $5" type outlets that operate all over the internet. It is made of the low grade polyester, the header is flimsy, the colors more matte, and no additional reinforcement on the stress points.

    However, look at those flags again, which one looks more like the Flag of Nepal? While the flag of the left is of much better quality construction, and if I were flying it on a regular basis would hold up better, I would argue the flag on the right looks much more like what I expect the flag of Nepal to look like. I suspect the leading flagmaker, in an attempt to 3x5 standardize the flag made the length of the largest tip of thje flag 5' and maintained a 3' hoist, which makes the flag look distorted. The flag on the right was sold to me as a 3x5, but it is actually a 2x3 flag, with a 2' fly and a 3' hoist. (Since I am a big fan of the spinning flagpole that can accept a flag with maximum hoist of 40", that works for me) So a 5x3 flag to look good would be too tall for my needs.

    (I also recall the Nepal flag is a concatenation of two triangular pennants, but the current flag assures they are flown in the correct order, and I also recall Nepal is under some pressure to convert to a rectangular flag)

    For reference here is a stock drawing of what the Nepal flag should look like:
  2. David Wagner

    David Wagner Member

    Before your post I'd never given the size ratio a thought. Just to see I looked up a few other flags on Wikipedia for their official ratios and see that France is 2:3 (1.5), Germany is 3:5 (1.66), Mexico is 4:7 (1.75), and Canada, Australia, and the UK are 1:2 (2). That doesn't put our flag's 1.9 too out of line but it is strange to have such an odd number - 10:19. Does anyone know the original reason for it? It's not even close to the Golden Ratio. For visual purposes I wonder if that is why Annin makes flags the sizes they do?
  3. csaanv

    csaanv Member

    Hi Two Fish Apparel,
    The simple answer is it had to do with how wool bunting was produced in bolts or rolls in the 1700s & 1800s. The width of a roll of bunting was made at a certain length and it was easier to conform the material needed to that length. For a more in depth answer go to this link:

    Sizes/Proportions of U.S. flags

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