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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Best & Worst Fictional Flags & Emblems | Incoming

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Congratulations, you've just overthrown the empire or won the Battle of the triad or

consolidated the 24 warring houses

However, you've done it you have United a large part of Westeros middle-earth our earth the galaxy or whatever under a single banner

But now you must decide what goes on that banner?

And that's where things get tricky flags emblems and insignia are in my opinion one of the coolest aspects of world building

But for whatever reason they are often overlooked even within some of the most prominent franchises

So in today's episode of incoming I like to give a quick overview of what makes a good flag or emblem

What makes a crappy one and give me some examples of each from across science fiction and fantasy?

Now there are a ton of resources available on how to design a good flag, but generally you want to follow these basic guidelines

Keep, it simple use only two or three well contrasting colors. That would work equally well in black and white

No lettering or overly complex seals

Be distinctive and perhaps most importantly use meaningful symbolism

There are of course exceptions to every rule and some of the most famous and recognizable Flags break these guidelines

But for the sake of simplicity these are the criteria. I'm gonna be using

Just as an example

Let's take a look at a flag that we're all probably familiar with

The emblem and flag of the United Nations is maybe one of the most deliberated designs in human history

After all it is not representing a single nation or people but all of us the background is a field of blue

generally thought of as the opposite of red the color of warm blood and

Incidentally the color of the sky, which is the same for everyone on earth?

The center emblem is a projection of the earth as seen from the North Pole

bisected by the Prime Meridian and the International Dateline

There is a wreath consisting of twin branches of an olive tree. Generally used as another symbol of peace

The main takeaway here should be just how much thought went into this design

And how nothing is arbitrary the globe is positioned in such a way that no single country or landmass or even hemisphere is

Betrayed a superior or more prominent than any other

This is exactly the sort of thing you want to take into account

When you're coming up with symbolism on a planetary scale and it's also something that designs from science fiction mess up all the time

All right, so now on to the main event

I've selected six emblems or flags that I think are some of the best designs in science fiction and fantasy

I've also selected another six that. I think are just awful and just for fun

I have thrown in another few designs at the end

That I think deserve a special mention or break one of the affirmation guidelines in the unique way

These aren't in any particular order and of course these are just my personal opinions

Which means that they are a hundred percent undeniable facts because I and I alone sit atop a fortress of unassailable truth

I'm going to start with the emblem of the Klingon Empire from Star Trek

This is one of the most iconic and enduring designs in science fiction, and I think for good reason

It is bold aggressive and maybe even vaguely fascist evoking subtle comparisons to the Nazi swastika

Even if you know nothing about Klingon culture, you can make some good guesses on what type of society

They are based on this emblem alone

There have been a few explanations in

Non-canon sources as to what the symbol represents the three blades laid before Kahless as a symbol of fealty

the three most important qualities of a warrior honor duty sacrifice

But with the Klingon Empire and other alien designs featured in this video

I can cut them a lot of slack when it comes to symbolism the fact that different authors can interpret and rationalize different meetings from

This symbol is good enough for me

Star Trek in general I believe is the gold standard for emblem design the Klingon emblem is the most iconic

But I think you could very easily make a case as to why the Federation Romulan Cardassian

Dominion or Borg abalones deserve to be considered among the best designs in fiction even

The more minor races like the Andorian 's trail of brain the Maquis

I'll get wonderfully distinctive emblems when you compare these two similar designs that came out of the 1990s. They are wildly successful

all right moving on

compared to Star Trek Star Wars is a bit more hit and miss when it comes to well designed flags and emblems I

Feel the first order earns a spot on my list however for their extremely prominent emblem. We first saw in the force awakens

Now I don't think the first order necessarily has the best-designed emblem in Star Wars

I think that honor my code awards Black Sun

But I really appreciate how the first order incorporates details from its predecessors the Galactic Empire and the Galactic Republic

while remaining a bit more visually distinctive than either the

Empire and Republic both have very good designs individually

But when viewed side-by-side I think it's all too easy to confuse the two and neither had very much personality

Look at both of them from 10 feet away, and tell me which is which

Compared to Star Trek and Star Wars Ace Combat is hardly a blip on the radar

But its flag designs are incredible and as with Star Trek almost anything from Ace Combat could be on this list

The best the bunch however has to be the Federation of Asya

There is really not too much to say about this flag as there has never been much of an explanation as to its symbolism

but you can infer the various stars represent States or provinces and

The design is just too elegant not to include this might be my favorite flag of all time

Now at the risk of repeating myself a bit here

Warhammer both in its 41st millennium and fantasy and

Carnations is a franchise that really understands the value having cool symbols

There's tons of them for the purpose of this list I'm choosing this symbol of the Imperium the Imperial Aquila

Because of how developed it is within the lore

And how it forms the basis of Imperial iconography that spans across every other Imperial organization

It's an extremely resilient and flexible symbol that always looks cool and intimidating no matter

It's modified it can be simple detailed in black-and-white or color no matter what the Civil Works

The other major organizations of the Imperium all deserve recognition as well for great designs

The adapt is mechanicus the Inquisition the dozens of Space Marine chapters

enough not even including the symbols of the chaos gods orc tribes cows Epps thus cabin from fantasy are definitely up there as well I

Really need to stop talking about Warhammer because when it comes to cool emblems

There's really no end to them and we might be trapped here forever

Compared to science fiction. I think fantasy is that something of a disadvantage when it comes to cool designs

flags from our own history particularly those of the medieval period are usually pretty simple and

Typically the same things over and over a wolf a bear a castle a dragon whatever

That's not to say distinctive designs don't exist they do they're just a little more rare

With that in mind the sigil of house Baratheon

Dragonstone from A Song of Ice and Fire is a fantastic design

Game of Thrones of course features hundreds of said rules

But this one appeals to me more than all the others because of its great symbolism in selecting this emblem Stannis Baratheon

Incorporated the fiery heart of the Lord of Light within the traditional stag of house Baratheon

This design not only looks awesome and makes sense within the world of Game of Thrones

but depending on your interpretation of Stannis is character there might be some more subtle and sinister undertones to this imagery and

for the final entry in my good design list I'd like to take a look at weyland yutani from the Alien franchise as

A corporation rather than a traditional state wailing - tani can get away with something that usually doesn't work too well on designs like this

Incorporating the initials of their name into their logo when you're more concerned with brand recognition rather than meaningful symbolism

This is a good route to take there are plenty of examples of company logos featuring their initials

But the integration between the two letters in weyland-yutani works incredibly well

and I think it's a very successful design it also screams power and authority and

Unlike similar designs the letters aren't completely obvious and trick your brain a bit alright

So now that I've given you some examples of emblems and flags that work

Let's move on to those that don't I'm gonna start with an example from one of my favorite science fiction

Franchises and it breaks my heart to include them on this list

Remember how the designers of the UN emblem went to such great lengths to ensure that no single country was given prominence over any other

the system's Alliance for mass effect screws this up completely their emblem features only, North America

disregarding over 80 percent of the Earth's land mass and 90 percent of the total population in a single stroke while Cuba Iceland and

Countless other islands are dismissing entirely, and that's just Earth humanity's other colonies are completely unrepresented here

This is a mistake that pops up over and over in science fiction

I love Mass Effect, but I wish more attention had me given to designs like this of all the major races

I think the Alliance was the only one given an emblem, and it's not very good

I have seen a variation of the symbol that replaces earth or three stars

That's an improvement, but it still does kind of bland Mass Effect deserves better

Next up we have the Alliance for Firefly

There have been a couple variations of their flag design over the course of the series and then the movie

So I'll touch briefly on each one

Now the first we saw was a combination of the US and Chinese flag

Which kind of makes sense when you consider the history in origins of the Alliance the problem is?

Combining the symbolism of two different flags tends to ruin the meaning behind both creating a mishmash of ideas instead that doesn't quite work

Also, it tends to invite unwanted symbolism in this case is the United States meant to be absorbing, China

Or has China deface of America at some point this flag was replaced in something even worse

Unfortunately there aren't too many high-resolution examples of it, so please excuse the quality here

This is maybe my most hated design it breaks. Just about every rule

it's visually complex and messy it features way too many colors and even gradients and the

central Eagle motif completely disregards the Chinese elements of the Alliance's civilization

Each planet and the Alliance was supposed to have their own version of this flag

with variations in the color of the stripes and the planets included, which just causes even greater confusion

Oddly enough there was one Alliance symbol that appears briefly in serenity that is actually pretty good

The Eagle might be a bit cliche, but at least it's visually appealing and not overly complicated like all the other designs

It's also the only design from Firefly that actually works in black and white I?

Was so desperate to find a version of the symbol to use in our episode on the Alliance that I had to draft my roommate

into making one an illustrator

Anything to avoid that ugly rainbow eagle flag

Okay, now. We've reached the point the video where I am forced to disappoint my esteemed colleague over at Spacedock

I don't think the flag of the Martian congressional Republic from the otherwise amazing show the expanse is very good

The design is a good start, but the execution just doesn't work here by having the central circle

Which I expect represents Mars be Hollow. It comes across more as a ring than a planet the red is also, too

Dull to contrast effectively against either the orange or the black halves of the flag and as for the blue sliver

It's too thin to be visually distinctive and when viewed from a distance or if you saw it blowing in the wind

It's doomed to be indistinguishable from the rest of the flag now

I'm guessing the blue sliver is included to represent the terraforming of Mars

And I've seen a few people suggest that the blue sliver might expand as progress is made

I'm not a huge fan of this either. It reduces the flag to something that came to one of those charity goal tracker thermometer things

And could you imagine how stupid you'd feel as a citizen of Mars if halfway through some disaster happened

And you lost part of your Flags progress

Thankfully we do have a solution

Reddit user touch d-33 has created a vastly superior alternative that still incorporates all the elements of the original design

Now we're moving on to another design that really screws up in the symbolism Department the seal of the Earth Alliance from Babylon 5

completely fails the test of inclusivity

5,000 years of human history and apparently the only defining symbol of our civilization is

Just a stylized version of some initials that only works in one language and comes across as just kind of cheap

There are too many colors with two versions of blue two versions of grey and green over orange, which isn't particularly striking?

Drop the initials stick to just the torch and consolidate the colors and this might have worked

Next up is the flag of the greater Nazi Reich from the man in the high castle

I want to start off in discussing this flag by saying I completely understand why this design was chosen

It is a striking image

And you get that great reveal in the first episode where a seemingly normal American flag waves in the wind to reveal a swastika

The design isn't bad, but it's kind of lazy, and the swastika doesn't work too well with a more rectangular field of blue

RvB O'Malley over at deviantART has come up with a way better alternative this design is more balanced more original

And I think just as effective but you do lose that initial reveal though

The final entry in our list of shame is what inspired me to make this video in the first place

Logo of the United Empire of Earth from star citizen design wise it is completely adequate

But just like it some of our previous examples the symbolism here is terrible and boring

Without knowing the name of the country

I doubt I could tell you what those initials actually are they are just so stylized and once again

It's in English apart from the olive branches

Which are more, or less come che at this point the design has no symbolism whatsoever

It's not even interesting enough to really tear into there's just nothing to talk about here. All right

So I'm gonna end this video with just another few quick examples of flags that work despite breaking my initial guidelines

first up the flag of the United citizens Federation from Starship Troopers

Combining an eagle with a bomber is ridiculous and corny and overly militaristic

But it makes perfect sense for the state's symbol of a nation like the Federation

Next is ol freebie or the flag of Earth and Futurama. I shouldn't have to explain this one, too

Deeply it takes everything wrong with designs like the Systems Alliance and placed for laughs

Our last one is the emblem of Hydra from the Marvel Universe. I love this design. It's great

It perfectly matches the operating philosophy of the organization

But it's also the logo of a group that has dropped any

Pretenses of not being completely evil if you worked at Hydra as a lower-level employee or maybe as a mid-level manager

Wouldn't you feel a bit apprehensive seeing this symbol everywhere on your health insurance your checks

How would you explain your business card to friends and family you just have to go all in on your Yuma lifestyle?

And that's no way to live all right, so we're done

That was a long one, but I hope you enjoyed the video now

I'm sure there are dozens of awesome emblems and flags from across science fiction and fantasy that I didn't mention here

So please let me know what I missed in the comments and is the symbol of the Earth Alliance actually brilliant does the Klingon?

It's igneous suck

Let me know what you thought of my choices here as well and as always our next episode will be out on Monday

I'd like to get you a hint of what it's about but it's a little strange

The Templin Institute investigates nations

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The Description of The Best & Worst Fictional Flags & Emblems | Incoming