Bestellen Sie Ihre Fahnen / Flaggen im Flaggen-Shop bei fahnenversand.de


Diese Website beschäftigt sich mit der Wissenschaft der Vexillologie (Flaggenkunde).
Alle auf dieser Website dargebotenen Abbildungen dienen ausschließlich der Informationsvermittlung im Sinne der Flaggenkunde.
Der Hoster dieser Seite distanziert sich ausdrücklich von jedweden hierauf u.U. dargestellten Symbolen verfassungsfeindlicher Organisationen.

This is a mirror of a page that is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website.
Anything above the previous line isnt part of the Flags of the World Website and was added by the hoster of this mirror.

Colors of Flags

Last modified: 2011-12-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: flag color | flag statistics | statistics: flag colors |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors



See also:


At the International Congress of Vexillology (ICV) held in Victoria, Canada, last year (1999) , I presented a paper (prepared by Theo Stylianides and myself) entitled VEXISTATS - A statistical overview of the colours, symbols and designs of national flags in the 20th Century. This paper dealt with the design, colours and symbols used on flags in 1917, 1939, 1958, 1970 and 1999 and has a number of tables showing use of colours, symbols/emblems etc. and highlighted the trends which emerged over the century.

The basic contents of the paper included

  1. Colours - number and type of colours; colour by continent, flag area covered by colour;
  2. Symbols - type of symbols, symbol by continent;
  3. Proportion - proportion, proportion by continent;
  4. Design - equal/unequal stripes, cantons, triangles, borders etc.

This paper won the International Association of Flagmakers Award at the ICV for being one of the most interesting and unusual papers presented at the Congress.
Bruce Berry, 29 May 2000


Colours

The analysis of the number of colours used on flags between 1917 and 1999 reveals that the use of three colours is by far the most popular (Table 1), although this has declined between 1917 and 1999. The use of a single colour is negligible, the only examples being the plain red flag of Muscat and Oman in 1958 and 1970 and the green banner currently used by Libya. The use of bi-coloured flags increased between 1917 and 1939 but has since declined from the peak of 38% in 1939 to 25% currently. While having three colours is the most popular, this has also declined from a high of 61% in 1917 to 45% in 1999. There was a slight increase from between 1958 (51%) to 1970 (53%), possibly due to the large number of newly independent African countries whose flags use a three-colour combination. The use of more than three colours has increased with four- (23% in 1999), five- (6% in 1999) and even a six-colour flag currently being in use. The increase in the number of colours can be explained by the improvements in flag manufacturing technology together with the cultural preferences of the African, Asian and Caribbean countries which gained independence in the latter half of the century.

Table 1 - Percentage of flags with a given number of colours (1917-1999)
% of flags with 1917 1939 1958 1970 1999
1 colour - - 1 1 0.5
2 colours 32 38 32 28 25
3 colours 61 58 51 53 45
4 colours 5 3 15 16 23
5 colours 2 1 1 2 6
6 colours - - - - 0.5
Total 100 100 100 100 100

Tables 2 and 3 deal with the number of colours by continent in 1999. Table 2 gives the percentage of flags in each continent with a given number of colours and shows that over 70% of African flags contain three or four colours, while nearly 60% of the flags in America are three-coloured. Asia, by contrast, has almost an equal number of two-, three- and four-coloured flags. Table 3 shows where the numbers of colours on flags are located in the world in 1999. It is interesting to note that the only countries using a single-coloured flag (Libya) - the least number of colours currently used on a national flag - and a six-coloured flag (South Africa) - the most colours on a national flag - are both located in Africa.

Table 2 - Percentage of flags in each continent with a given number of colours (1999)
% of flags with Africa America Asia Europe Oceania World
1 colour 2 - - - - 0.5
2 colours 13 20 33 36 21 25
3 colours 36 57 33 62 36 45
4 colours 36 11 35 2 36 23
5 colours 11 11 - - 7 6
6 colours 2 - - - - 0.5
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100

Table 3 - Percentage of 1, 2, ..., 6 colour flags by continent (1999)
% of flags with Africa America Asia Europe Oceania World
1 colour 100 - - - - 100
2 colours 15 15 29 36 6 100
3 colours 22 23 16 33 6 100
4 colours 43 9 34 2 11 100
5 colours 55 36 - - 9 100
6 colours 100 - - - - 100
Total 28 22 18 24 7 100

The most popular colour used on flags is red (Table 4). Red has been the most popular colour throughout the century. Although it has declined from appearing on 81% of the flags surveyed in 1917 to 74% in 1999, it is still the most popular colour used on flags today. White also remains a popular colour and is found in 71% of all flags, slightly down from a high of 77% in 1917. Yellow has shown an overall increase from 26% in 1917 to 43% currently, while the use of blue has declined steadily from 67% at the beginning of the century to 50% today. The use of both black and green has shown constant increases, green showing the most dramatic increase from appearing on 16% of the flags in 1917 to 42% in 1999. The most obvious explanation for this is the use of green in the flags of Africa, and the Islamic countries of the Middle East and Asia. The use of black is also a feature in nearly a third of African flags.

The use of other colours remains small, with orange being found on 5% of flags. In 1917 no orange was used, while in 1939 it was found on the flags of Ireland and South Africa. Today the number of countries using orange on their flag has grown to nine and includes such diverse countries as India, Armenia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ireland, Turkmenistan and the Marshall Islands.

Other colours found on flags range from pink on the former flag of Persia in 1917, to brown (Lesotho shield and the tree branch in the flag of Dominica), silver/gray (Malta medal, Vatican keys and in part of the crested crane on the Ugandan flag) and purple (part of the Dominican parrot) in 1999. Maroon is now also found on the flags of Latvia, Qatar, Georgia and Turkmenistan. The point made by Weitman2 that "national flags make use of only seven outstanding colours: red, blue, green, yellow, orange, black and white ..." remains true in 1999.

Table 4 - Percentage of flags containing specific colours (1917-1999)
% of flags containing 1917 1939 1958 1970 1999
Yellow 26 24 31 35 43
Blue 67 59 52 45 50
Red 81 74 80 78 74
Black 7 10 11 20 22
White 77 76 74 68 71
Green 16 21 28 39 42
Orange - 3 4 5 5
Other 2 2 3 3 5

The review of the colours by continent in 1999 (Table 5) shows that the most popular colours used on African flags are green (79%), red (75%) and white (55%). White (74%) is the most popular in the Americas, followed by blue and red. White (84%) and red (81%) are also the most popular colours on Asian flags, while red (74%), white (72%) and blue (53%) are the most popular on European flags. White (86%) and blue (79%) predominate in the flags of Oceania.

Table 5 - Percentage of flags in each continent containing specific colours (1999)
% of flags containing Africa America Asia Europe Oceania World
Yellow 58 51 28 30 50 43
Blue 40 69 35 53 79 50
Red 75 66 81 74 64 74
Black 32 26 23 11 14 22
White 55 74 84 72 86 71
Green 79 29 42 19 14 42
Orange 6 - 7 4 7 5
Other 4 6 5 8 - 5

As indicated earlier, red is the most popular flag being found on 74% of all the flags of the world today, followed by white on 71% of flags and blue on 50%. It is interesting that these colours are associated with the countries of the Old World (UK, France, Netherlands and Russia) as well as the United States. Yellow is found on 43% of the world's flags, mainly in Africa, South America and Oceania. Green is found on 42%, predominantly in Africa and to a lesser extent in Asia. 22% of flags today contain black, the colour being popular in the flags of Africa and the Caribbean region.
Bruce Berry, 31 May 2000


Colour Areas

Red is the dominant colour both in terms of the number of flags it appears on as well as the area it occupies. Although blue occupies the second largest area on flags, the second most popular colour on the total number of flags is actually white. It appears, therefore, that white appears on more flags but in smaller amounts while blue is on fewer flags but in larger amounts. Yellow appears on more flags in smaller amounts than green, while green occupies the third largest area appearing on fewer flags than yellow but in larger amounts. Similar observations occur for the other main colours used on flags but the undisputed most popular colour remains red.

Table 8 - Percentage area of all flags covered by specific colors (1917, 1958 and 1999)
% of Area Covered by 1917 1958 1999
Yellow 8 9 10
Blue 25 19 20
Red 33 36 29
Black 2 3 5
White 24 22 18
Green 5 9 16
Orange - 1 1
Other 0.6 0.4 1
Coat of Arms (multi-coloured) 1 1 1
Total 100 100 100

The second table shows that in Africa, green occupies the largest area at 30%, followed by red (24%) while in the Americas, blue (28%) has the largest area followed closely by red (25%). Red occupies the largest area in Asia (38%) and in Europe (32%), followed by white in both areas. In Oceania, 51% of the flag area is blue followed by red at 25%.

Table 2 - Percentage area of all flags in each continent covered by specific colours (1999)
% of Area Covered by Africa America Asia Europe Oceania World
Yellow 13 12 5 9 6 10
Blue 14 28 11 20 51 20
Red 24 25 38 32 25 29
Black 6 4 5 3 4 5
White 12 17 23 24 7 18
Green 30 12 15 6 6 16
Orange 2 - 1 1 1 1
Other - - 2 4 - 1
Coat of arms (multi-coloured) - 1 - 1 1 1
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100

The last table shows the percentage flag area covered by a specific colour by continent in 1999. African flags account for most of the yellow, black, green and orange areas at 37%, 36%, 53% and 39% respectively. Most of the blue area is found in America and Europe (26% and 25%, respectively). Asia and Europe account for the bulk of the red area at 29% and 27%, respectively, as well as the white area at 29% and 33%, respectively. Other colours, mainly maroon and dark red, are predominantly a feature of European flags (Georgia and Latvia) at 65% and Asia (Qatar and Turkmenistan) at 30%. 84% of the area occupied by multi-coloured coats of arms is found in America and Europe (42% each).
Bruce Berry, 31 May 2000

Table 3 - Percentage flag area covered by a specific colour by continent (1999)
Colour Africa America Asia Europe Oceania World
Yellow 37 23 12 23 4 100
Blue 19 26 12 25 19 100
Red 23 15 29 27 6 100
Black 36 17 26 14 7 100
White 18 17 29 33 3 100
Green 53 14 21 9 3 100
Orange 39 - 24 32 5 100
Other 5 - 30 65 - 100
Coat of arms (multi-coloured) 3 42 - 42 13 100
Total 28 18 22 24 7 100

 
Anything below the following line isnt part of the Flags of the World Website and was added by the hoster of this mirror.

Bei fahnenversand.de erhalten Sie eine Vielzahl an günstigen Flaggen, Pins und Aufnähern, zum Beispiel:
Aufnäher Flagge UNO
 (8,5 x 5,5 cm) Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop Fahne Trinidad und Tobago
 (90 x 60 cm) Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop Flagge Ich liebe dich
 (150 x 90 cm) Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop Tisch-Flagge Ecuador 15x10cm
 mit Kunststoffständer Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop Flagge Endlich wieder Sommer
 (150 x 90 cm) Flagge Flaggen Fahne Fahnen kaufen bestellen Shop