| Intro | Shapes | Elements | Colors | Stripes | Crosses | Heraldic |
Most flags are designed to be rectangular in shape and of specific proportions, that is, for every unit of measure in width (from the upper to the lower edge), there is a corresponding number of units of measure in length (from the pole end of the flag to the fly end). Here in the U.S., the proportions of 2:3 and 3:5 are common, although the U.S. Flag is officially 10:19 in proportion. In the U.K. and former Soviet countries, 1:2 is a common proportion. In Switzerland, 1:1 or square is common. Here are some illustrations of proportions.
1:1 or Square.
1:2 or Double Square.
3:2 (may be a Banner).
Shapes other than rectangles are also used in flags. Some are associated with specific cultures, others are just a pleasant change from the regular lines of a rectangle. Here are a few examples of different shapes.
Burgee. Commonly used as a yacht signal.
Swallowtail. Commonly associated with Northern European culture.
Swallowtail with tongue. Same association as above.
Double Triangle. Commonly associated with oriental culture.
Triangle with flammules. Commonly associated with Chinese culture.
Square with schwenkel. Commonly associated with central European culture.
Pennant. Pennants are usually very long and are not always swallowtailed.