Clr. Thom’s recent flag photo fl-op is earily similar to Jerry Lewis’ hanging from flagpole scene from the 1963 film ‘Who’s Minding The Store?’ featured above.
And who is minding the store exactly?
It is unfortunate that being the “history buff” he claims Thom didn’t stop to actualy do any research into municipal flag design before resurecting the town of Aurora’s flag as I commented on recently here:
Canadian City Flags is a milestone work containing 100 articles dedicated to descriptions and histories of municipal flags of Canada and is available in the online shop of the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA): https://nava.org
An online version of the book has been included in Volume 18 of the Raven and available for online viewing here:
Back in March Roman Mars gave a TED talk on the subject of Vexillology as it relates to municipal flags which you can watch it here:
In his 18 minute talk Mars references the five basic principles for creating an outstanding flag as outlined in Ted Kaye’s book “Good Flag, Bad Flag” also available on the NAVA website.
Let’s take the opportunity to scrutinize the town’s flag to see how it adheres to these 5 principles as well as Councilor Thom’s motion stating the flag “is a reflection of Aurora’s distinct history and culture” and a “symbol of continuity of our community”
1.) Keep it Simple
The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory.
Big fat nope.
2.) Meaningful Symbolism.
The flag’s images, colors or pattern should relate to what it symbolizes.
The largest symbol is the Scottish Saltire, with the town’s crest dumped on top of it.
So we have St. Andrews Cross and then symbols incoporated into the town’s crest that given their small scale are hard to identify, so nope.
3.) Use two to three basic colors.
The basic rule for colors is to use two to three colors from the standard color set: red, white, blue, green, yellow and black.
Nope, The flag uses all the colors with the exception of black.
4.) No lettering or seals. Never use writing of any kind.
The official Town of Aurora flag suffers from what Mars refers to as an S.O.B. (seal on a bed-sheet) and he reminds us the thing about municipal seals: They were designed to be on pieces of paper where you can read them, not on flags 100 feet away flapping in the breeze.
Another huge sack of fail, the fact the town’s flag actually reads: “Aurora Ontario, Canada”
If you need to write the name of what you’re representing on your flag, your symbolism has failed.
5.) Be distinctive.
What does that mean exactly?
Mars sums it up well:
“As we move more and more into cities, the city flag will become not just a symbol of that city as a place, but also it could become a symbol of how that city considers design itself. A well-designed flag could be seen as an indicator of how a city considers all of its design systems: its public transit, its parks, its signage.”
Is Aurora’s shoddy flag from 1988 an indicator of Aurora’s current design systems?
Oh God I hope not.
Mars has some more insight into the purpose of a Municipal flag
“The best part about municipal flags is that we own them. They are an open-source, publicly owned design language of the community. When they are done well, they are remixable, adaptable, and they are powerful. We could control the branding and graphical imagery of our cities with a good flag, but instead, by having bad flags we don’t use, we cede that territory to
sports teams and chambers of commerce and tourism boards.”
There is nothing powerful about the town’s official flag, and this is likely one of the reasons it was quietly shelved in favor of the town’s logo.
Mars touches on the subject of Sports Marketing, appropriate given that the town has claimed 2015 the Year of Sports.when you look at Aurora’s sports teams they have powerful imagery that translate well to banners, flags and jerseys: The Tigers, The Storm…
That said, Aurora cannot and should not cede bad design to sports.
“Sports teams can leave and break our hearts. And besides, some of us don’t really care about sports. And tourism campaigns can just be cheesy. But a great city flag is something that represents a city to its people and its people to the world at large. And when that flag is a beautiful thing, that connection is a beautiful thing.”
The Canadian Flag is a beautiful thing that represents us to the world very well evidenced at the beginning of Mars’ presentation.
The striking difference between it and The Town of Aurora flag is that it actually adheres to all 5 principles of good flag design stipulated above and went through an extensive project to displace the Canadian Red Ensign, which like the Town of
Aurora flag fails across the board.
Any “history buff” would know that former Aurora resident Lester B Pearson played a significant involvement in the crafting of the Canadian flag, advancing what was named the “Pearson Pennant”:
Although it lost out to the current flag it too adhered to the design elements above.
The same can not be said of Douchenbaker’s Conservatives who opposed the design on the grounds that it included no reference to Canada’s ties with Great Britain and instead advanced this abomination:
Even after the Canadian Flag was decided Douchebag Diefenbaker tried to block the new flag in the House of Commons, but a cloture motion forced a vote on Dec. 15, 1964 that approved the design.
Whereas it can be claimed that the Canadian Flag is a reflection of Canada’s distinct history and culture, and is a symbol of our nation that stretches back over 150 years the same cannot be said of the Town of Aurora’s S.O.B.
Flags are not frivolous.
Waiving one around Jerry Lewis style does nothing to “uphold the Town of Aurora’s responsibility to ensure we protect and enhance our Town’s unique history and Culture”.
It’s good to know there are other far more capable members of council available to mind the store when some will salute anything and everything simply because they believe it to be “historical”.