Barcode Vexillum

In 2001 Rem Koolhaas and his think-tank AMO developed a proposal for a new symbol and visual language for the European Union. The concept for the EU Barcode was to merge the flags of current EU member states into a new representative flag.

I loved the design but more so the concept for a number of reasons; not only was the design striking, it also represented geographic locations [well longitudinally anyway] of the country within the union.  It embodied the individual countries with the representation and colours of their own flag rather that than the homogeneity of a common symbol as such as the stars of current EU and US flags and finally the flag is flexible and could be amended, as AMO did when 10 new members joined the EU in 2004.

When I saw the flag I thought that it would be interesting to create an Irish version made up of the country flags following the same concept. At the time I think I got out my colouring pencils and started colouring…

…a decade passed…

…recently I decided to have another go but this time with code !

Taking the long, difficult, stupid way I created a node script which takes the borders for the 32 counties along with their flag colours, sorts the counties longitudinally west to east and then with the help of d3 generates a flag made up of the constituent flag colours.

It can be used to generate a similar flag for other countries/continents/planets as well, you just need a geojson file of the borders and to edit the config and colour file.

You can download the code here and view the instructions on how to generate this or your own barcode/flag.

If this is something that interests you and you haven’t heard it already I highly recommend checking out Roman Mars’ TED talk / live 99% Invisible episode on vexillology.

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