Flying the flag for democracy
Amy Bumford, marketing executive at Banner Box, gives her insight into a recent project the company undertook to create flags as part of commemorative activities marking the 800th year anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede.
A normal Monday morning took an unusual turn when dozens of children's sketches arrived at our studio. As lovely as the drawings were, I could foresee that this project would demand some serious concentration and result in several late nights at work. What is a graphics studio to do?
This venture would eventually generate 80 flags for the Flag Project run by Parliament, in collaboration with artist Jonathan Parsons. The concept was to invite schools children from around Surrey to design a flag that, for them, represented their local area and democracy. All of the submitted designs were placed in an online gallery from which a select number were chosen to be manufactured.
The first step was to organise the designs and transfer them onto a Mac computer. After each design had been marked according to its corresponding school, the redrawing marathon could begin and this is when the programs really come into their own. Using the children's original design as a base, layer upon layer is built up to create a redrawn flag. With all the designs created by six- to eleven-year-olds we had to ensure that our graphic replications reflected their original design, whilst making sure that the flags looked balanced and tidy.
The redrawing process really helped to give clarity to the designs. We altered sketch colours to solid pantone-matched colours. Additional amendments included straightening up a few wobbly lines in cases where it impacted the overall impression of the flag. These slight tweaks and alterations were all in the best interest of keeping the designers' original impressions and give a nice overall polished looks to the flags when flying. With the hard work over, the reworked designs were submitted for proofing before handover for manufacturing.
The flags proved to be a favourite in the factory due to their bespoke nature: the Union Jack is great but when you make them day-in, day-out, then a project like this is a breath of fresh air. The main problem we encountered during production was deciding how the flags would be produced: complicated designs with text and intricate details were printed and then hand sewn into the flag; meanwhile, the less complex designs with fewer colour and simple shapes were totally hand sewn using an appliqué process. Producing the flags in this way helped to minimise the strain on sewing. Aside from minor production decisions, the printing process went off without a hitch. Each flag was double-sided, with an interliner inside to enhance the colours when flying in bright sunlight.
The bespoke flags flew for a week in Parliament Square, adding a striking burst of colour to the iconic setting. Following that event, the flags were shipped to Runnymede as part of the celebrations to commemorate 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta – often cited as the event that brought about democracy as we know it.