At work I spent some time looking at the flags of the world. It was work-related—there are some flags on the website, and I noticed a couple of them looked odd, so I spent some time on Wikipedia noting which flags on the website were incorrect. Almost all of the flags were strangely coloured. For example, the blue of flag of Argentina was dark blue, and the yellows, reds, greens in other flags were very bright. Some of the flags were upside down, some flags were missing some of the detail, one flag was back to front, and many, I learned through Wikipedia, were just old.
Through doing this I learned that a couple of states changed their flags in the last few months of 2010. Astonishingly, though, whoever put together this project at work managed to include flags that were last used between 1991 and 2004; the project doesn't go as far back as 2004, as far as I know, so it cannot be said that they were correct at one point.
After I compared all of the flags on the website with the flags on Wikipedia, making notes, I then (because I did not originally expect to do so) downloaded files for each flag to use to replace those on the work website. I used Wikipedia as a reference tool and as a source of the files because it can be a reliable source of information for many subjects. Subjects that have enthusiasts are often very well maintained—any vandalism is quickly reverted, there are plenty of sources, and there is discussion about the subject. Looking at the revisions made to the flags, with the accompanying comments, it was clear that there are people out there who do their best to make sure the flags are as accurate as possible, mentioning their sources to back up any changes they make to it. Vexillology, unlike, say, JD Samson, is obviously a subject on which you can trust Wikipedia.
As well as looking at the flag file pages and seeing the many small changes made, and looking at the "Flag of..." page and reading about the history of the flag, I looked at the flag terminology page and saw the basic patterns in flags. Having already looked at every sovereign state, I recognised the basic patterns in some state flags. For instance, the flag of South Africa is the first flag that comes to mind when thinking of the pall, and the flag of Scotland is the first when looking at the saltire. Reading "Flag of..." pages is very interesting. I understood a bit about how flags are designed. For example, the flag of Nauru has a gold stripe for the Equator, a blue field for the Pacific Ocean, and a star representing the island, with twelve points for each of the tribes on the island.
I started thinking that maybe I would keep in mind ideas for the possible redesign of the flag of England and the flag of the United Kingdom. I think about Bill Drummond and his UK'n flag, Monocle and their ideas for rejuvenating the UK, and the possibility of a broken up United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island, as well as my dislike for the flag of England (I just think of extreme patriotism and a bit of racism) and my opinion that the flag of England is boring (though I do love the UK flag). I also remember all of the flags I like, such as those of Nauru, Botswana, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Uzbekistan. Additionally, I don't really like the idea of "the x is for the x" flags (like "the green is for the grass, because x is well known for its green grass"). I think it's a bit of a waste. I prefer slightly more complex ideas, and will no doubt play with charges in my designs.
My first starting point is the current flag, the fact that England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all represented in the UK flag, with their patron saints' crosses, but Wales is not. St David's cross is yellow, and if we were to modify the current flag so that Wales is also represented, we could do something like this, below, which I did in a free photo editor program.
It's a very obvious starting point. I do not like the result; I think the yellow and the red and blue do not really fit together.