This design represents a more visually appealing and appropriate interpretation of the current NZ Ensign. A variant that we would have been more inclined to appreciate as our own and employ freely for its graphic style.
But it is not our flag, and changing the flag would almost certainly presume a far more radical departure from the current NZE than this design represents. It is very unlikely that NZ would say “we want to keep the old flag, but update it slightly.”
So this is mainly an exercise in what might have been, but may also be of use to other designers.
The reminder of the Union Jack recognises both our British influences and our freedom to transform them. The deep blue preserves our relationship to the sea, and the stars show our very southerly location.
- It allows the constellation to point in four directions depending on hanging method and which side is viewed to symbolise the full circle.
- It facilitates an anthropomorphic interpretation around the co-existence of society and the individual.
- It echoes the red bars to produce a sense of order and aesthetic resonance.
A large, uncluttered, deep blue field dominates for both continuity with the current ensign and its aesthetic power.
The bars form a clear visual reference to the Union Jack, while transforming it into something separate and distinct from the British flag. (Note that keeping the white diagonal above the red preserves the historically relevant detail, although it doesn’t match the apparent quadrant in the Union Jack).
This projects a message of having appropriated that legacy as legitimate heirs and effective agents in its traditions, yet signifies our freedom and authority to adapt and use it according to our own judgement.
The number of bars and division of space is informed by various socio-politically applicable concepts, although none are formally preferred as definitive of the design.
The contrasting bottom and fly edges are sufficient to frame the flag in the first canton, according to British practice, but the design is particularly well-suited to an alternative arrangement that provides more useful space for additional charges.
The airforce example features a bright teal field suggestive of the Pacific, and a roundel closely linked to the flag, with its white-fimbriated red star and the predominance of dark blue.
The design allows for ratios as low as 1:1 without altering the constellation, although a more sophisticated approach is preferable at such extremes.
Next: Topic: NZ Flag Proposals