In our previous post we talked about five principles of good flag design. And, we suggested you that you need a flag for your business. In this post we share five reasons that you should design your own flag.
1 The Need to Think
The most compelling reason that you need a flag is because it will force you to think about your business. The crucial questions include:
- What is my business purpose?
- What business am I in?
- What do I stand for?
- What is my business brand?
Your flag then becomes a visual identity, an expression and a way to represent your business. And, we all need that.
QUESTION: Is this a time for action or reflection your business?
2 The Need for Identity
We need an identity for two reasons:
- To know who we are – this sets up a context for how we should act. For instance, if I say I’m a leader, then leaders do…
- To tell others who we are – I need to define who I am to be able to tell others who I am and what I stand for.
Typically businesses create their identity through their business name, their product or service, the look and feel of websites and business cards and through a visual logo.
The closest thing to a flag design is the visual logo. And, when I say ‘flag design for your business’ I’m not literally saying put your logo on a bit of cloth and hoist it up a pole.
What I am saying is that the five principles of flag design and the level of detail make it a perfect place to create your business identity. It’s like a short cut that we can all do whereas a full logo may not be.
QUESTION: What’s your identity? Who do you want to become? What will your business look like when it’s done?
3 The Need for Meaning and Story
The reason that flags create identity is because they are based on a story that provides meaning.
For instance, the Australian Flag was the result of a national competition at the time for Federation in 1901.
It is made up of three elements – the Union Jack in the top left corner that reflects our previous connection to the United Kingdom, the seven pointed Federal Star that represents each of the six states plus one for all of the Australian territories; and on the right the Southern Cross that highlights our geographic location in the Southern Hemisphere.
These visual symbols tell a story about who we are and where we came from.
Flags also take on new meaning over time. When the flag was originally created the level of meaning was weak. Now it has it’s own story and history. Notably people have now fought and died to uphold the flag.
Also, flags can lose their meaning over time. And, that’s my opinion of the current Australian flag. For me, it no longer represents who we are as a nation and where we are headed. Instead, it merely represents a past history specifically through the use of the Union Jack and collectively as a single design in those colours.
QUESTION: What’s the meaning and story behind what you do?
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4 The Need for Visual Symbols
This blog post is mostly words. That’s one way to spread your message. Another is through visual symbols. And, the power of a symbol is that it provides instant recognition. For example, any body with a drivers licence knows that a red light means stop. We don’t need to say ‘It’s your turn to stop so other drivers can go’. We simply show the red light.
Visual symbols also scale. In particular on flags it is recognizable from a distance of several hundred metres. Plus it can be drawn simply and easily and you can convey a complex message quickly and simply. This all adds to the ease to which the idea and the symbol can be shared and spread.
The symbols within a flag can also become it’s name. For instance, when we say ‘stars and stripes’ most people know we are talking about the American flag. The maple leaf is Canada and the tricolor is the name for the three colours of the French flag.
Images from Wikipedia
The same applies for your business. How can you quickly and simply spread your message? Mostly we talk about business logos as visual symbols. In this sense the flag simply becomes the expression of your logo.
QUESTION: Do you need a visual symbol to represent you and your business?
5 The Need for Visual Reminders
Do you have any photos around your home and office? Most people do. They’re usually of:
- People we care for – our friends and family.
- Places we’ve been too – your most recent holiday
- Events we’ve experienced – your wedding or birthday party
These are all examples of visual reminders of the past – souvenirs. A souvenir is a latin word that means ‘to remember’ or ‘come back to’.
We can also create visual reminders for the future. For example:
- A wall calendar that shows upcoming events
- An invitation to a future event, for instance a wedding or rock concert
- Your flag!
A visual representation of your purpose or business mission is a powerful visual reminder that you can use to remember what you stand for. And, in times of emotional turmoil or distraction, it might just be the thing to keep you on track or spark you into action.
QUESTION: Do you now want a flag or not? What do you want to remind yourself about?