Burgee Shoppe

Flag and Burgee Design

Flags and Burgees are symbols of what the flag represents, and careful thought should be given to designing a flag.  If the name of the organization has an image such as Seal Beach Yacht Club, or Lake Arrowhead Golf Club, the flag should display a seal or arrowhead respectively.  Some very smart flags just display the outline of the lake they sail upon.  If a star, triangle, circle or some other symbol is appropriate, use it on the flag, but try to keep it simple.  The bottom line test is can it be recognized from a distance.  I think one of the smartest designs I have seen is from the AOKI Sailing Club in Japan

The above are examples of appliquéd burgees which are the preferred method of making burgees.  The fabric is cut out and sewn on both sides with the same stitch.  Today there is a new method of making burgees that employees digital printing of the pattern.  When the pattern is too difficult to appliqué, we digital print the burgees which is more cost effective than silk screening and offers some attractive burgees.

Next determine what colors are to be used in the flag.  Frequently there is a color scheme in existence you can adapt to the flag.  Keep the flag design to about two or three colors.  A single color appears devoid, and too many colors make the flag too complex and expensive to make.   A contrasting border can make a big difference in the appearance of the flag. Review our color swatch web page.

Also consider where the flag will be flown.  Wind is the number one reason flags fail, and if it is a windy area where your flag is to be flown, a pennant or swallow tail may last longer than a rectangular flag.  UV From the sun is the second reason why flags fail.  If the flag is to be displayed indoors, then UV from the sun is not a factor.  Flown outside, you can expect some colors to fade in time.  Today's modern nylon and polyester materials are treated for UV protection on one side of the material.  Flag makers that purchase cloth from the mill order UV protection on both sides and their products will not rot in the sun, but fading can still be a problem with some colors.

What to avoid, is lettering on the flag.  This increases the complexity of the flag, and appliquéd the letters will read in reverse on the back side.  If letters are to be employed, keep the number of letters to a minimum and keep them simple block letters.  Avoid stylistic letters like typewriter characters or old English font.  They are much more difficult to appliqué.  Keep in mind that each letter must be cut out by hand, and it is easy to accumulate too many letters.  One or two letters should be the maximum used.  Read about Letters.

For appliquéd burgees, avoid extreme detail like paisley, herringbone or a checkered field.  With digital printing we can now print these complex patterns.   

Flag shape.  If it is a personal or private flag, a swallowtail or rectangular flag is in order.  Yacht Clubs usually use a triangular pennant called a burgee, and corporate and national flags are likely to be rectangle in shape.  Complex shapes like a shield or donut have their place, but will not wear well in the wind.  They do well indoors and can last a long time indoors.  The hoist should be 2/3 the fly dimension for flags that fly in the wind.

For examples of what are good flags and what not do to, see this sample flag page.

If you need help in determining if your flag is a smart design, send us an e-mail at and we will share our experience with you.  This is a free service at the Burgee Shoppe.

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