Canada’s provincial flags include some real trainwrecks, but Saskatchewan’s isn’t one of them.

Saskatchewan’s flag does, however, commit the sin of shoving a coat of arms into the corner, which becomes too small to read as soon as you get any distance from it, and just makes the flag look bad. The arms also includes an English lion, which is leftover imperialism, and Canada really needs to get over that.

But this was easy peasy to fix: take out the crest. To fix the visual balance, I adjusted the size and position of the flower, which is a prairie lily, native to the region. The design of the flower is a little overly detailed for a flag, but it’s stylized fairly well, so I left it for the sake of tradition. The green and yellow background represents the province’s forests and its wheat fields (which is why we don’t need the bales of wheat in the coat of arms).


Canada’s national flag is just fine. I really like this one. I might’ve made the red bars a little narrower, because (typical of Canadian flags) it’s pretty wide, but I certainly can’t do better.

Happy Canada Day, eh!

In general, national flags are pretty good, because most of them either date back to an ancient time when people instinctively went for iconic designs, or they’re modern enough that this aesthetic has come back. Plus, they’re high-profile enough that someone usually takes the trouble to do it right. Canada’s is a pretty modern flag – adopted in 1965 – so it falls into the latter group.

It replaces a god-awful 19th-century design that breaks the rules of good flag design into tiny pieces, by combining the tiny pieces of other flags. The “Canadian Red Ensign” committed the popular imperial sin of shoving the Union Jack – itself already a messy, compound flag – into the canton. It supplemented this fuck-up with a shield that combines symbols of… deep breath… England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and… a red three-maple-leaf thing that was used sometimes to identify Canada. Someone had the good sense to pick that out and focus on it it (a strategy I’ve taken with some of my flags here), and promote it into a national flag.

(Next, I do the United States, and get banned from my own country.)

Nova Scotia




This post is at half-mast out of respect for those killed in the recent mass shooting in Nova Scotia. 🙁

The flag of Nova Scotia is trying to explain to people what Nova Scotia means: It’s Latin for New Scotland. To make the point extra clear, they doubled down on it:

    • First: the red and yellow shield in the middle is Scotland’s royal coat of arms.
    • Second: the background is a reversal of the national flag of Scotland. Instead of a white saltire on a blue field, it’s a blue saltire on a white field. (It isn’t an exact copy: for some reason, Canadian flags are all wider than your typical flags.)

(The Scottish flag is better known as part of the UK’s “Union Jack”, which combines the flags of England, Scotland, and (Northern) Ireland into that blue-white-and-red crisscross mess. It uses a different shade of blue, however.)

As readers of this blog know, I hate shields on flags. So fixing this flag was really, really simple: ditch the overly detailed, clashing-colors coat of arms of a country it isn’t formally connected to… and there you go, New Scotland: you’re done. It’s a simple, elegant design, and if you’re trying to say “we’re a wee bit like Scotland, but no’ actually Scotland”… that’s the way to do it.