Flags as a design tool make sense with EF’s global reach. They provide context and also work to convey place, language and culture. With many flags, there can be multiple crop points to make a series of design applications feel fresh and alive, rather than seeing the same version over and over.
Flags = instant recognition of a place, culture — or travel in general. The Flag Crop is the element that keeps on giving.
Familiar, eye-catching and graphic, flags are instantly recognisable, even when cropped. They can add color, energy and narrative to all EF products. By following some simple guidelines, we can own the flag as a design element in way that isn’t expected or cliché.
Keep design touch points fresh over an entire campaign by using different crops.
Brazil’s flag has so much to work with! Crop into an area with flat color and/or add the details of the stars and banner.
Symbolism: Brazil’s green forests and gold resources are represented here. A white banner with Ordem e Progresso (Order and Progress) crosses a blue globe with 27 stars (Brazilian states) arranged in the same pattern as the country’s night sky.
With the Flag Crop, we are in a position where anybody in EF can design desirable swag quickly and on-brand. For instance, as a memento of a tour in Brazil, or a celebration of Brazilian culture for an internal event, the Flag Crop works.
The U.S.A.’s stars and stripes are recognized around the world, so it’s important that all of these features make it into the final crop.
Symbolism: Thirteen stripes – seven red (valor and bravery) and six white (purity and innocence) – stand for the country’s original 13 colonies. Fifty white stars (the 50 U.S. states) sit on a field of blue (vigilance, perseverance and justice) in the top left corner.
Flag Crops work well for editorial use, like these examples conveying an individual’s journey on an exchange year in the U.S.A., a language course in Spain, or a two-week break to Ireland.
The element immediately draws attention and contextualises the article for the reader.
Make sure a few stars get into the crop, otherwise China could be mistaken for Vietnam (one yellow star centered on red).
Symbolism: China’s flag has one big star (the Communist government) and four small yellow stars (the workers, peasants, middle-class citizens and soldiers) on a red background, which stands for the blood lost while the history of China was made.
With the Flag Crop element, we are in a position where anybody in EF can design desirable swag quickly and on-brand. For instance, as a memento of a trip to China, or a celebration of Chinese New Year for an internal event — the Flag Crop works.
It’s good practice to capture a bit of everything here, or the stripes alone could look like Uruguay!
Symbolism: The origins of the Greek flag’s nine blue and white stripes are up for debate, but its cross represents Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and the colors are commonly linked to the sea and sky.
With the Flag-Crop element, we are in a position where anybody in EF can design desirable swag quickly and on-brand. For instance, as a memento of a trip to Greece, or a celebration of Greek culture for an internal event — the Flag Crop works.
The South African flag offers such a good example of cropping in on the most recognizable part.
Symbolism: Designed just a month before it was adopted in 1994, South Africa’s flag represents new democracy after apartheid. The colors come from previous flags, and the Y-shape represents “the convergence of diverse elements within South African society, taking the road ahead in unity.”
With the Flag Crop element, we are in a position where anybody in EF can design attractive banners quickly and on-brand. For instance, at a recruitment fair or brand activation event, cropping into the South African — or any — flag will help inform the customer of EF’s product with just a glance.
The Union Jack sneaks into a lot of flags. Make sure we know when it’s the U.K. and when we’re in the former colonies.
Symbolism: Dating from the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801, the red cross of St. George (England) is superimposed on the cross of St. Patrick (Ireland), superimposed on the Saltire of St. Andrew (Scotland). Wales is not represented, as it was part of England at the time.
Advertising a single product, or a campaign for a range of trips within a product, is a great example of how well Flag Crops could work.
Much like an editorial piece, the high visibility and instant semiotic recognition of a flag provides context for the customer that this is about the UK, and with further inspection it’s clear it’s also about language, and finally, travel.
With three-color flags like Ireland’s, you have to capture all of those colors for it make sense.
Symbolism: In this flag from 1848, green represents the native people of Ireland (mostly Roman Catholics). Orange represents the British supporters of William of Orange who settled in Northern Ireland in the 17th century (mostly Protestant).
Posters, and other ephemera, represent perfect touch points where the Flag Crop element can thrive. The flash of the Irish tri-color in this example by EF High School Exchange Year not only provides immediate context, but also intrigue and energy.