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August 11, 2016

AW Spotlight – Visual Branding Team’s Favorite National Flags

During the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics, each nation represented in the Games matched into the stadium behind their flag, giving viewers a firsthand look at the amazing visual branding exhibited by the flags, many of which may have been previously unknown.

In this spirit, we asked two of our talented of the AW Visual Branding team members, Dave Dixon and Sarah Scott, to give their selections of which world flags they felt are the most visually appealing. Let’s find out their selections:


Canada’s flag is a near-perfect combination of the classic and the modern. It offers a nod to the long-standing flag tradition of vertical bars, employs a simple, yet strong color palette, and then spices things up just the right amount with a clean, recognizable symbol to set it apart from all the other red-and-white flags of the world.

And as with any symbol worth its salt, the real beauty lies in the application opportunities it provides. With its aforementioned recognizability and simplicity, the red maple leaf can be incorporated into Olympics uniforms, federal agency logos, and any number of other Canada-related visuals.

All of ScandinaviaNordic-Flags-Sweden-Denmark-Norway-Finland-Iceland

Scandinavia – what an example of brand architecture! One look at the off-center cross adorning the flags of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland and you know you’re looking at a flag that belongs west of Russia and north of everything else in Europe.

Scandinavia could write a textbook on how to differentiate within a system of design.

Sri Lanka

Sure, Bhutan and Sri_LankaWales have dragons on their flags. Albania and Montenegro have two-headed eagles on theirs. Papau New Guines has…a bird of paradise. But are any of those animals holding swords? I don’t think so.

Not only does Sri Lanka’s flag feature a fierce-looking lion (?), but he’s holding a sword! You’re not messing with Sri Lanka if you know what’s good for you.


This flag stood out to me for its shade of vibrant blue and contrasting yellow ornate pattern on the left hand side of the flag. The pattern identities the traditions of Kazakhstan but I love the detail with each piece weaving within the other to create a solidified design.

Also, I love the boldness of the sun, which according the the flags history stands for life and energy, while the eagles rests below in subtle outline to reflect power of the state.


The Scottish flag is very simple in nature with the white cross bars, over blue. However, I love the simplistic nature of it.

It’s not busy and because of that to me it makes a bold statement. The design itself signifies the blue and white cross of St Andrew.

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Scandinavian Flags
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