Flag stories is a data driven, visual exploration into the details that create our national flags.
Flag stories is the brainchild of Ferdio, a danish studio created by Birger and Jeppe Morgenstjerne. The studio is specialized in creating infographic based designs.
I can’t remember how I found the project, but I can tell you that I could not take my eyes off it. It’s hard to forget projects that showcase data driven design and a really well research process. There is something sexy about it.
But more importantly, even if you have just a glance at the project, you get hooked. It makes you more curious, more intrigued by the presented information. Flag families, the influence of religion on the design of the flags, the patterns seen on the flags of nations on the same continent or the evolution of certain nations flags.
They manage to create this special blend of information that got packaged so that it presents the findings in really interesting visual way and, in the same time, that showcases their skills as infographic specialists.
To find out more about the thinking behind this project, I approached the guys with some questions. Here is what they had to say.
What is the story behind Flag stories?
We like flags. We like them a lot. A flag is simply a fascinating piece of design. Actually, we are so fascinated by flags that we decided to explore them in every possible way in order to share our fascination with the world. With limited constraints and simple colors, flags are highly symbolic representations of a country’s unique story. But how unique is a flag really when it comes to the graphic design? Flag Stories is a series of infographics presented on flagstories.co where new stories will be added continuously. Flag Stories is a project by ferdio – a Copenhagen based infographic agency transforming data and information into captivating visuals. Curious to see what might be learned from an in-depth deconstruction of flag design, the project was also set out as a way of demonstrating how you can find and tell stories for something that seems “storyless” by comparing the data of layouts, colors, similarities, symbolism, proportions, etc.
What motivated you to create this project?
There are a lot of books, communities and websites covering the different aspects of flags (vexillology) like history, demography and culture, but we wanted to add new aspects to this field by only looking at the graphics and creating simple and beautiful infographics. Comparing the data of layouts, colors, similarities, symbolism and proportions you will find interesting and hidden stories you didn’t know. Like, do you know what is the most used symbol in flags? Most used color? Or how the world flag would look like, if all flags were combined? It was important for us to both find new stories about the design behind flags and at the same time present them in a new infographic way telling the stories as simple, beautiful and inspiring as possible.
What where your goals?
To be honest we didn’t expect to find this many stories behind flags, when we started out. But it seemed like the more we dug into the data, the more stories emerged. So expect more flag stories to be presented in future. Also we didn’t expect this much attention and interest from people around the world as it is kind of nerdy, but Flag Stories went viral reaching frontpage of Reddit and all kind of medias. Reading hundreds of mails and feedback from users, it also underlines the strong feelings and interest to flags. So our plan is to keep digging and continuously adding new stories to the project and topic – new infographics are already lined up.
Could you talk about your process of getting the information for the project? Just by differentiating the meaning of colors in the context of the flag is interesting to me.
Basically we started looking at all the flags in the world and squeezed all the data we could possibly gather in to a blank spreadsheet. Wikipedia has been our most used source for information, but you will find the specific source list for each visual at the bottom of the page. Some data we needed to extract manually like “The most dominating flag colors of the world” and “The complexity of flags” by calculating the points and area of colours using Adobe Illustrator (Simplify Paths). For now flag stories is a simple customized Tumblr website as we wanted the infographics to be simple presented and easy to share on various platforms.
Based on their evolution (colors, shapes, symbols) do you think we could predict how a flag could evolve in something different?
It’s important to highlight that Flag Stories is about nation flag as there are many flags in the world. But looking at nation flags they seem to be very conservative when it comes to both layout, colors, number of colors and symbols, ratio, etc. Take this flag story for instance , you get the impression that a lot of flags are based on a simple formula. Even though there’s thousands of ways to create the design of a flag, nearly 200 nations picked quite identical flags.
To find out more about flag stories visit the website and indulge yourself with the beauty of all that information.
Do you find the project interesting? Did it present something that you did not knew? Leave a comment, tell me what you think.