I don’t know how many of you know this but Manchester has its own flag, or Greater Manchester does anyway. Flag design or Vexillography has some basic principles for what works and what doesn’t. For example, simple graphic shapes and contrasting colours work well, detailed graphics and image based executions don’t.
So what does the Greater Manchester flag look like? Well I was born and raised in Manchester and I had no idea. Wikipedia describes it as being ‘composed of ten golden castles on a red background, fringed by a golden border in the style of a castle battlement. The ten golden castles represent both the urban landscape of Greater Manchester, and its division in to its ten metropolitan districts.’
The truth is, the flag is quite a Medieval affair and hardly represents the modern progressive city that Manchester has always been. One hardly thinks of a castle when describing Manchester. We think of industrial Revolution, Music, Football and the warmth of the people in a city buzzing with activity.
I strongly believe that Manchester deserves a more progressive flag that is modern and dynamic. Our new design functions better as a flag and is more impactful. It also feels more familiar as it draws on elements of Mancunian popular culture. We have just repurposed the what is already an established signifier.
The red has been replaced with black to avoid any allegiance to the two successful football teams. The ten golden yellow diagonal stripes represent the districts and creates a bold industrial feel that is a graphic representation of the industrious bees on the Manchester coat of arms. These elements combine to create a striking and distinctive design that feels like we have somehow always used it. The new design is as at home in the former Hacienda as in the industrial revolution.
It says ‘caution work in progress’ and that is Manchester for me.
However you may feel about the current design it clearly isn’t being embraced by my fellow Mancunians.