03 March 2010

Weird Wednesday: Flags

Welcome to the Branding Issue of Weird Wednesday!

Did you know that the Netherlands and Luxembourg have the same flag?

Ok, that's not exactly true. The length-to-width ratio is different (Luxembourg's is longer/narrower), and the color is a bit different (Netherlands' blue is one shade darker). But these are only really noticeable if you put the two flags side by side. Show one alone and most people would be hard pressed to tell whether it's from Holland or Luxembourg.

Now, it would be one thing if two countries from the other side of the world had the same flag. That could be because they just didn't know about each other when they designed their flags, but surely Luxembourg had heard of Holland and their red, white and blue striped flag. I think they're not too far from each other, right? I could also understand if the flags were ancient traditional banners - but Luxembourg didn't adopt theirs until 1972! The Netherlands has used theirs since 1572, but didn't make it official until 1937. Still, they seem to have dibs, eh?

My point? Brands & symbols matter. They should probably be distinctive, unless you like being mistaken for someone / something else.

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