Tag Archives: union jack

new designs for UK flag colour

I blog about anything related to colour and I am interested in all sorts of aspects of colour whether they be based in arts and design, cultural studies, evolution, chemistry, physics, biology or technology. But a couple of themes keep cropping up and I end up posting about them at regular intervals. So, in 2012 I posted about the historical development of the UK flag – the union jack. And then earlier this year I posted about an article on the BBC about the possible redesign on the union jack is Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom in the forthcoming referendum there. Some of the designs that were being put forward were really horrible. Perhaps I am too attached to the union jack. A few days ago I came across another BBC story which included 25 readers’ designs for the union jack should Scotland leave. . I must say I much prefer the readers’ designs rather than those previously proposed by experts – the BBC reliably informs me that such experts are known as vexillologists. I like this flag (by David and Gwyneth Parker) – where the blue of Scotland has simply been swapped for the green of Wales, thus preserving the traditional look. (If you wonder why the green of Wales is not in the current flag see my earlier post.)


And I also like the following design (by Matthew Welch), where England and Wales are represented in the top left and bottom right corners respectively and the diagonal stripe represents Northern Ireland of course.


You probably have to be from the UK to understand this humorous design (by Al Main).


You can see all 25 readers’ designs at the BBC here.

If you are interested in vexillology (is that a word?) you may like to read another BBC story about a potential new flag for Norther Ireland. And finally, I was interested that the CIA apparently has a flag database that it makes available to the public.

UK goes red, white and blue mad!

This was a picture taken whilst shopping in Tesco today. There are union jack flags everywhere you look at the moment in the UK. The Olympics has not even started yet – the reason there are so many flags already is, of course, the sixtieth anniversary of the Queen taking the throne of the UK. The red, white and blue colours of the union flag – red = Pantone 186 (C), blue = Pantone 280 (C) – derive from a combination of the three flags from England, Scotland and Ireland.

The English flag dates from 1194 when Richard I introduced the cross of St George as the national flag of England.

The Scottish flag was a diagonal white cross on a blue background.

When Queen Elizabeth I died, the scottish king James (King James VI of Scotland) inherited the throne of England and became James I. James I proclaimed himself King of Great Britain and essentially unified England and Scotland. But which flag to use? A new flag was created that was a combination of the previous two and known as the Union flag. A white boarder was added around the red cross because the rules of heraldry demanded that two colours must never touch each other.

The union flag was used at sea from 1606 but became the national flag of Great Britain in 1707 under the reign of Queen Anne. We now had the United Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801 Ireland became part of the United Kingdom. The Irish flag had been a diagonal red cross on a white background.

The combination of all three flags resulted in the familiar Union Jack.

The name was later changed to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland when the greater part of Ireland left the United Kingdom in 1921.

Why is Wales not represented in the Union Jack? To read why this is please visit here.