Top 10 Best Designed National Flags

Script written by Derrick McDuff They're grand old flags; they're high-flying flag, and forever in peace may they wave. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Best Designed National Flags. For this list, we'll be scouring the globe to look at the flags of current sovereign nations, and will be choose our favorite designs based on how aesthetically pleasing they are, the significance of their imagery and symbolism, as well as the history behind the flags. Special thanks to our user Stollsie for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest!
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Script written by Derick McDuff

Top 10 Best Designed National Flags



They’re grand old flags; they’re high-flying flags, and forever in peace may they wave. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 best designed national flags.

For this list, we’ll be scouring the globe to look at the flags of current sovereign nations, and will be choose our favorite designs based on how aesthetically pleasing they are, the significance of their imagery and symbolism, as well as the history behind the flags.

#10: Albania

The first flag on our list is simple yet bold, with the black emblem of a double-headed eagle making it one of the coolest looking flags in the world. If the impressive look isn’t enough, the eagle has actually been a symbol of Albania since the Middle Ages, where it originated as a coat of arms. It became largely synonymous with Albania after a successful revolt over the Ottoman Empire, which saw the country gain its independence. Though over the years a number of variations of the flag have appeared under different governments and regimes, the core elements and colors have largely remained constant.

#9: South Africa

A new era of unity began in South Africa with the historic end of Apartheid in 1994, which ended legal segregation and discrimination and saw the white and black populations move closer together. To commemorate the new government and the beginning of equality, the new flag honored both the country’s African and European roots. The Y shape across the center features the African National Congress colors of black, yellow and green. With a red band at the top and blue on the bottom, each flanked by white strips, the flag also showcases more of South Africa’s history by calling back to the flags of both the Netherlands and Britain, who share the colors.

#8: Spain

Everything about this flag’s design – the crest, the colors, and even the asymmetry – has a fitting air of majesty to it. Spain’s current flag harkens back to those flown by the Spanish Navy under Charles III, which featured the Spanish coat of arms. Noting the abundance of flags featuring white, Charles opted for something different – primarily in order to avoid unfortunate incidents while meeting foreign enemies at sea – and the red and yellow have appeared on the Spanish flag since. The flag reached its final incarnation in 1981, when it brought back the crest, which had disappeared under Dictator Franco’s regime, and now flanked it with two columns, representing the Pillars of Hercules.

#7: Canada

The maple leaf was a symbol of Canada even before Confederation in 1867; however, it wasn’t until 1965 that the country had a flag to call its own. Although different flags had been used for military purposes, the lack of a true national flag was a source of contention for French and English speaking Canadians alike. Red and white were named as official colors by King George V in 1921, but it took 40 years for those colors to be seen on an official national flag. Forgoing any British or French symbolism, the simple yet iconic flag displays two red bands, which represent the oceans on either side of the country, with the uniquely Canadian image of an eleven-pointed maple leaf standing proudly between them.

#6: Nepal

No list of flags would be complete without this unique entry. Nepal’s flag is the only flag in the world without four corners or four edges, forgoing the usual square or rectangular template in favor of a shape formed by two intersecting triangles. The triangles represent Nepal’s most famous landmark, the Himalayan Mountains, and each is adorned by a different symbol: the sun represents intense determination, while the moon signifies peace and tranquility. The striking crimson, the national color of Nepal, works perfectly as a backdrop for the white symbols of the sun and the moon. All of this is surrounded by a dark blue border which symbolizes peace, on this instantly recognizable flag.

#5: The United States of America

The “Star-Spangled Banner” can trace its roots all the way back to the American revolution, when thirteen colonies under British rule came together to fight for their independence. The newly united colonies were represented by thirteen bars of red and white with a British flag in the upper left corner. The British flag was quickly replaced by a circle of thirteen white stars on a blue border, and over the years those stars have come to represent the number of current states in the Union, while the 13 stripes remained constant. Surprisingly a number of countries around the world admire Old Glory so much they’ve modified it for their own use.

#4: Bhutan

The uncommon color combination, along with a stylized dragon draped across the center, makes this flag one of the most interesting in the world. This small nation has a long rich history tied to Tibetan Buddhism, which is reflected on their flag. The orange used represents Buddhist spiritual tradition, while the yellow portion symbolizing civil tradition, with Druk the thunder dragon covering each color equally. As if a thunder dragon isn’t cool enough, he clutches jewels, representing prosperity and protection of his people, while his snarling face is said to be a sign of the dragon’s defense of Bhutan.

#3: Brazil

This iconic emblem should be familiar to any fans of international football and Brazil’s phenomenal team. Each of its 27 five-pointed white stars represents a state; however the stars also correspond with the actual Brazilian sky. More specifically, it’s a depiction of nine constellations as they appeared on the morning of November 15th, 1889, the day the Brazilian Republic was established. The blue circle containing the starry array works perfectly against the golden diamond and green background, design elements carried over from the Brazilian Empire. Brazil’s motto, “Ordem e Progresso” arches across the sphere in the perfect finishing touch to bring the banner together.

#2: Barbados
Upon first glance, the flag of Barbados features a visually pleasing combination of blue and yellow, with the top of a black trident standing out in its center. However, it isn’t only aesthetics that earn the flag its high ranking. Chosen when a national contest was held to pick a national flag, it was adopted in 1966, when Barbados earned its independence from the British Empire. The “broken trident” recalls the flag used when Barbados was a British colony, whereupon Britannia wielded it. The now-broken trident symbolizes that the country has broken away from its colonial past and is free from foreign rule.

Before we unfurl our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Papua New Guinea
- Philippines
- Malaysia
- Jamaica
- Sri Lanka
- Croatia
- South Korea

#1: The United Kingdom

The top flag on our list has a rich history, a stylish look, is recognizable across the world, and is even prominent in fashion. The flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is an amalgamation of three separate flags, each with its own storied history. Since the Middle Ages the cross of St. George has represented England, while St. Andrew’s cross has been Scotland’s national symbol. The original Union Jack was created as a combination of these emblems in 1606 when James VI of Scotland inherited the English crown. Eventually in 1801, the cross of St. Patrick was added for Ireland, completing the flag proudly saluted by every Brit, from James Bond to The Who.

Do you agree with our list? Which country has your favorite flag? For more high flying top 10’s published daily be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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