The Israeli Flag: Great Graphic Design, and a Tool for Political Statements
The flag of Israel really stands out.
The "Blue and White" is easily recognizable anywhere, and it carries with it an enormous load of symbolism, politics and emotions.
We fly it with pride.
In this wonderful Ted Talk about city flags, Roman Mars gives us the five basic principles of flag design, according to the North American Vexillological Association. Vexillology is the study of flags; learned a new word today!
Israeli Flag on the tail of an ELAL airplane
As you can see, the Israeli flag passes all five design criteria with flying colors:
Keep it simple. The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory. Check. It’s two stripes and a star of david in the middle. The star of david is made from two triangles on top of each other – easy! Next:
Use meaningful symbolism. The flag's images, colors or pattern should relate to what it symbolizes. Absolutely. The star of david is an ancient symbol of the Hebrews. Found in archeological sites all over biblical Israel, this symbol goes with us for thousands of years. The two stripes come of the Talit, the jewish prayer shawl. Much newer and more religious. There are other claims as to the origin of these stripes and what they mean. I recommend this deeply comprehensive and learned article about the origins and symbolism of the Israeli flag here at http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-israeli-flag
Use two to three basic colors. Blue and white – check. Whenever we want to say – "this is Israeli", we say – "its blue and white!" They've become our national colors. That's interesting, because throughout history the colors related to Judaism were yellow (gold) and black, and also silver, white and blue. The Beitar Movement flag is yellow and black, and so was the yellow star Jews were forced to wear under Nazi rule. I'm pretty sure this choice of colors is a deliberate attempt to distance ourselves from that connotation.
No lettering or seals. Nope, check.
Be distinctive. Very! The Israeli flag is quite unique and easily recognizable among other flags. It’s hard to confuse it with other banners, even if it’s displayed vertically instead of horizontally.
1. Start with a white field. (The background of a flag is called a field). It should be a landscape rectangle, wider than taller.
2. Draw two thick blue stripes along the top and the bottom of the rectangle. The stripes should be away from the edges, leaving a white stripe at the top and bottom.
3. Now draw a blue star of david in the middle. It’s easy to draw: First draw one triangle, pointing up. Then draw a second triangle on top of the first, pointing down.
4. That’s it!
The Israeli Flag is a Super Successful Brand
So easily recognizable, it's both a tool and a target for various agendas. Most of the time it’s flown to show support for Israel and the things we stand for.
Not showing the Israeli flag is also a statement:
This story shows how far politics can taint sportive events, that are supposed to be above those kinds of things:
Last month Israeli athletes took five medals — one gold and four bronze — at the judo grand slam in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. But due to the regime’s refusal to recognize the State of Israel, they were not allowed to display any national symbols. Instead, 12 Israeli judokas competed under the flag and name of the International Judo Federation.
When on October 26 Tal Flicker of Herzliya beat Nijat Shikhalizada of Azerbaijan to take gold in the men’s under-66 kilogram category in Abu Dhabi, the IJF’s anthem was played instead of Hatikva. Adding insult to injury, athletes from the UAE and Morocco refused to shake hands with their Israeli opponents who defeated them.
These national symbols, the flag, the anthem – they really do stand for our country. They really do stand for us. In refusing to display our colors, I think the Arab world displays its own. When the Iranian regime wants to show its displeasure, they send some people to step on Israeli and American flags, and then burn those flags too while they’re at it.
After a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, the city of Berlin lighted up the Brandenburg gate with the Israeli flag.
It was gut wrenching to see. The weight of that picture tears thru the soul of anyone who knows the history of the Germans and Jews. It was breathtaking, and no one here in Israel was left indifferent to the gesture.
I guess there’s hope for us all yet.
Join the Israel Illustrated Journey!
Come with me as I travel to different places in Israel and draw them, illustrate a new recipe or find interesting stories unique to this country.
Fill the form below to get a monthly update, and never miss a postcard!