Speculative design: My take on county flags of Liberia

After listening to a Hello Internet podcast episode, I thought it might be fun to attempt to re-design the Liberian county flags that were ridiculed. I’m completely unqualified to tackle any of these flags, knowing what I do about Liberia. (Which is nothing.) I simply looked at the original flags, skimmed the relevant Wikipedia articles and tried to come up with nicer-looking designs.

You can compare my designs with the originals at the bottom of this post and read about how — for a brief moment — it seemed possible that these flags could have been seriously considered by someone in the Liberian government!

My concept was fairly simple: To take the top half of the Liberian country flag, turn it 90 degrees and use that as a canton for each of the county designs. The Liberian flag has a fairly wide aspect ratio (10:19) meaning that the ‘earmark’ I’ve used on each of these flags could be ‘cut off’ and the remaining flag would *almost* be a standard 2:3 ratio. That gives each county the option to use a version of their flag with or without the Liberian canton.

Bomi County is a big departure from the official flag. The four corners represent the four districts of the county and the blue diamond represents Bomi Lake.

Bong County: Revised the colours to something more palatable and re-introduced the mining tools after reading about the meaning of the original flag: “The down of a new country (purple and orange), purity (white), and iron mining (tools) are symbolized.”

I’m particularly happy with the tools appearing within the mountain, to further evoke mining.

Gbarpolu County: The official flag may actually be predominantly red but I’m sticking with yellow just because it’s more distinctive.

Grand Bassa County went through the most revisions. In the end I was equally happy with two variations.

Grand Gedeh County is probably my favourite.

Two variants for Grand Kru County. I’m not thrilled with either, but both are acceptable.

Margibi County went through several revisions.

Maryland County is the most drastic change I made to any of the flags. The yellow triangles are meant to represent the lighthouse pictured in the original.

The original Montserrado County flag contains an island, which I had originally removed until I read about its significance: “Old and new cultures (blue and red) met on the county’s Providence Island.” I returned a more symbolic representation of this island.

Rivercess County is another big departure from the original, producing a bolder design.

For reference, these are the current official county flags of Liberia: Original Liberian county flag designs

As you can see, my versions of these flags have more consistent proportions and a more unified colour pallette. The are much more ‘flaggy’ designs, with minimal use of symbols and no illustrative elements while still retaining their original semantic meaning (insofar as I was able to interpret those meanings).


After posting these designs on reddit, another user there replied with this message:

These are really great! Would you be interested in submitting them for official use? I know the person in charge of reviewing Liberia’s national symbols and he may be interested in seeing these (assuming he isn’t successful in completely changing the flag, which is a primary goal of his) for future use.

Now I’m not naive enough to believe what anyone on reddit tells me, but I didn’t see the harm. As it turns out, he did indeed email these flags to someone quite senior, distinguished and involved in Liberian politics! It’s not my place to go into any more detail, but if you Google for ‘Liberian National Symbols Review Project’ you will find that much has been written on this topic. It’s all quite interesting.

Sadly the project to review these flags and other ‘national symbols’ had been shelved.

Perhaps one day these flags will be considered, but the possibility seems remote. If or when the government of Liberia look to update their flags, they’ll probably start with the actual flag of Liberia, and this work would ideally be undertaken by the Liberian people.

Anyway, it was fun to think about for a day.

Oh, and I was briefly mentioned on the Hello Internet podcast!

See also

Post written: September 2016

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