Designing a flag isn't black and white

20:23, Jan 30 2014
Stuff reader flag ideas
The radiating lines suggest forward movement, the lighter blue signals us as a young, dynamic nation looking onwards into the future
Stuff reader flag ideas
A combination of our present flag and the silver fern.
Stuff reader flag ideas
The green represents our remote and fertile country in the Tasman and Pacific Oceans. The black shows our night and day time-zones.
Stuff reader flag ideas
What is more uniquely Kiwi than black?
Stuff reader flag ideas
Let's just lose the Union Jack.
Stuff reader flag ideas
Ron Steers goes for a combination of our current flag and the silver fern.
Stuff reader flag ideas
Silver fern on black background with green horizontal bars. This is non-political and green is symbolic of NZ.
Stuff reader flag ideas
What are the colours of NZ? They are green and blue.
Stuff reader flag ideas
This flag shows our Maori and New Zealand European culture.
Stuff reader flag ideas
Simply drop the Union Jack and retain the Southern Cross on the blue background.
Stuff reader flag ideas
Geoff Bethell takes his inspiration from Canada: Replace the Canadian red with blue (for maritime), retain the white centre and add a fern.
The white represents the land of the long white cloud, the green shows the land and the triangle shape represents the mountains. The blue represents the sea. The stars show that we are part of the South Pacific and represent all of the people who have fought under the New Zealand flag.
Simple and bold New Zealand flag
Lewis Potter says we keep it simple. Black and white are our national colours. He's placed the stars near the hoist rather than the middle - remember flags are meant to be flown.
George Williams' design is about our country seeing the sun first, bright blue skies and retains the Southern Cross, minus the colonial take. Day and night in balance and in positivity.
Blue and green for the sky and land, a line of koru to represent the long white cloud, a Kiwi as a national symbol and Matariki using stars from the current flag to represent Maori and European heritage.
Stuff readers' flag designs
This flag was developed back in the 80s, based on the work of renowned NZ artist Gordon Walters.
Stuff readers' flag designs
This flag uses the natural colours and features of our landscape.
Stuff readers' flag designs
Neil Anderson's vision for an updated New Zealand flag.
Stuff readers' flag designs
Peter Seay's design is based on the flag created by Kyle Lockwood in 2005.
Stuff readers' flag designs
Kyle Lockwood's flag in blue and black.
Stuff readers' flag designs
Kyle Lockwood's silver fern design.
Integrating the existing navy blue colour and Southern Cross with a Koru
Mike Davison's pick for a new NZ flag.
The Southern Cross set in Pacific blue, with the long white cloud set over our green land, in a forward looking, positive direction.
Deb Gilbertson says she loves the white silver fern on a blue and green background - the land, sea, and sky of the world's most beautiful country.
Flag with fern, Southern Cross and rainbow for pride.
Allan Forsyth's suggestion for a new New Zealand flag.
Stuff readers' flag designs
A flag incorporating the koru and stars of the Southern Cross.
IN BALANCE: Barry McDonald's design for a new flag for New Zealand.
Barney Good's suggestion for a new New Zealand flag.
A combination of the Tino rangatiratanga flag, and the current flag. A blend of Maori culture and newer settlers.
Stuff readers' flag designs
A flag design incorporating the Southern Cross and the map of New Zealand.
Jack Ensor says the New Zealand coat of arms signifies the convergence of Maori and the British as well as encompassing many aspects of NZ.
Let's use the iconic images of New Zealand
The Southern Cross and silver fern flag.
NZ flag
REPRESENTATIVE: This flag design has symbolism throughout.
Stuff readers' flag designs
This design aims to move forward, while keeping an eye on our history.
Greg Keeble
Greg Keeble says a new flag should integrate the old and the new, showing New Zealand's transition from British colony to an independent South Pacific nation.
Nitin Butaney
Nitin Butaney suggests this design as a potential replacement.
Karthik Raman
Karthik Raman sent in this selection of designs.
Jaron said any New Zealand flag design "just needs to say we’re progressive, we’re all Kiwis and proud".
Janis Barbour said her flag incorporated the two flags we already have - one symbolising British history, the other symbolising Maori culture.
Flag design
Craig said he thought it was a good idea to ditch the colonial flag. Instead he's proposing a design that includes two New Zealand icons, with the Southern Cross as a link to the old flag.
Simply New Zealand
Justin said: "White represents Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud, green for our wonderful green pastures, rolling hills and mountains, and lastly blue, for the lakes, sea and pure clean water. Simple and unique."
a innovative approach to teh New Zealand flag
Michael Smythe's design incorporates the work of New Zealand artist Gordon Walters.
He Kara - a Flag for our country
Neil said his design, He Kara Mo Aotearoa New Zealand, portrays New Zealand's location in the Southern Hemisphere, and both its natural and cultural heritage.
Luke Calder believes any new flag for New Zealand should be self explanatory and not overly 'designed'.
Damian said: "I was trying to decide which icon was more important to me as a New Zealander - the silver fern or the Southern Cross. I could not decide, so I worked on a solution to incorporate the two and came up with the Starfern."
Robert said of his design: "The flag is composed of New Zealand national colours - black, white (or silver) and red ochre. The fern is used as New Zealand's most recognisable national symbol. The proportions are based on the golden mean to give visual harmony and balance."
A flag for all
Len Wicks believes any new flag should stand out. "As a small nation we should present a modern, leading-edge design that shows our prowess in innovative thinking," he said.

The man who designed the All Blacks' silver fern says it's time for a new Kiwi flag, but his fern may not be the best option.

Prime Minister John Key reignited the flag debate yesterday when he said a referendum on the issue could be held alongside the general election this year.

Designer Dave Clark was commissioned by the New Zealand Rugby Union in 1986 to create the first trademarked logo for the All Blacks, the silver fern design which remains today.

Clark and his team also helped design all of the New Zealand Super Rugby team logos and names, among a host of other high-profile designs.

Any new flag would need to be coloured, not just black and white, Clark said.

"The things I've learnt over time is that, in terms of the colour you're going to use, it should really try and reflect the colours of the country and the colours of this country are green and blue."

Using black was a double-edged sword and could cause problems for a national flag, Clark said.

"In branding and packaging, black gets used to indicate premium positioning, think chocolates or coffee.

"In Western culture it's also the colour of mourning, sadness and death."

If Clark were to design the flag he would develop seven or eight strong ideas and then narrow them down to a couple of strong contenders.

"That's the way you try to work when you're working with visual imagery because visual images work in a different way to words; you need to see the image in front of you to make an assessment."

New Zealanders should not limit their thinking to the fern, as there were many other good icons to choose from including the koru, stars and the kiwi, he said.

Massey University brand expert Professor Malcolm Wright said a black-and-white flag would appeal to New Zealanders, but not the rest of the world.

"A flag is essentially a country's logo, so it's really important because the way it's presented will evoke particular association and remind people about the characteristics of a country," Wright said.

"I think it [black and white] is a good choice to represent us to ourselves but it's not a good choice to represent us to our foreign audience."

While it was important to have a flag that meant something to New Zealanders, a black-and-white flag would appear drab and boring and fade into the background when seen next to other flags, he said.

"We'd be missing an opportunity if we didn't use engaging colours to make sure that when people glanced our way their gaze actually lingered a bit longer."

He agreed with Clark that blue and green were good colour options.

Returned and Services' Association (RSA) president Don McIver said the flag held a special status for soldiers who had fought under it and it should not be changed.

"The major reason is our veterans and ex-servicepeople who have served their country under the flag we have now, and in addition to that, they have seen their comrades killed in action and buried under that flag," McIver said.

"It has a significant emotional hold on our membership."

Wright said it was important to involve the RSA in any potential flag redesign.

"I really respect the RSA views and as part of this debate it's really important that we hear those views and consider them.

"But I think that even more important than what our troops fought under, is what they fought for."

The sacrifices of New Zealand soldiers meant New Zealand could live in a free and democratic society and that was their real legacy, Wright said.

"I think that's very New Zealand, the sacrifices of our soldiers have played a huge role in that and that's not going to be taken away if we change the flag.

"They will still have that legacy and to me that's the legacy that really matters."