De­sign­ers’ Take on the Peace Flag


Through­out history there have been sev­eral at­tempts to es­tab­lish a peace flag and a col­lec­tion of sym­bols uni­ver­sally ex­ist that we as­so­ciate with peace. Yet no sin­gle peace flag has gained com­plete in­ter­na­tional per­ma­nence.

'Flags of Peace' is an on­go­ing project to ex­plore this am­bi­gu­ity fur­ther. The project forms a vis­ual di­a­logue around peace and its in­def­i­nite sym­bol­ism. The first round of this in­ter­na­tional project had 44 ac­com­plished de­sign­ers sub­mit­ting their own per­sonal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a "peace flag" de­sign.

Th­ese flags present a spec­trum of ideas on peace with each high­light­ing a par­tic­u­lar na­tion’s re­la­tion­ship with, and view to­wards, in­ter­na­tional peace.

Le­banon was rep­re­sented by Tarek Atrissi of Atrissi De­sign Stu­dio.

Atrissi's pro­posed flag de­sign is based on the word peace writ­ten in a graphic ab­stract Ara­bic let­ter­ing style (Salam). "To­day, due to all the neg­a­tiv­ity of wars com­ing from the Arab world, any flag with Ara­bic writ­ing on it evokes a sense of dan­ger & ter­ror­ism," Atrissi ex­plained. "The idea of this de­sign was to make a flag fully based on Ara­bic ty­pog­ra­phy yet re­main­ing peace­ful and grace­ful, ac­cen­tu­at­ing the beauty of the Ara­bic cul­ture and in­spired by its shape from the bird of par­adise flower. I was very proud to be asked to be part of this project, along­side liv­ing leg­ends in de­sign such as Mil­ton Glaser, Wim Crouwel; Helmi el Touni, and many oth­ers," he added.

From the UAE, Dubai-based brand and de­sign agency Moloob­hoy & Brown sub­mit­ted its 'One Nine Six' in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the peace flag, not­ing that "the de­sign is based on a ques­tion for which there is no clear an­swer how many coun­tries are there in the world? 196. We hope the de­sign starts a mean­ing­ful de­bate on why some na­tions are in­cluded and oth­ers not. A peace­ful world should be all in­clu­sive, or at least striv­ing to be."

From Syria, Ghalia El­srakbi and Lau­ren Alexan­der of the Found­land Col­lec­tive ex­plained that they were "only able to re­spond to the con­cept of a peace flag for Syria, with a frag­ile and un­easy illustration of at­tempted es­cape. Fac­ing a re­lent­less civil war, Syr­i­ans have be­come dis­il­lu­sioned by the idea of peace. The myth­i­cal con­cept that good al­ways ul­ti­mately tri­umphs over evil, has be­come a dis­tant mi­rage."

From Pales­tine, Amer Amin of Ma­nara Stu­dio sub­mit­ted his take on the peace sym­bol say­ing, "I’m very much con­vinced with the idea of a fly­ing pi­geon; yet such sym­bol was miss­ing some­thing, a hu­man touch. Il­lus­trated hands are to por­tray that peace starts within one­self, reaches out, unites and it is all about ac­tion." And he wants us to "give it a try!"

From Egypt, artist Helmi el­touni's peace flag fea­tures the olive branch as a peace sym­bol from An­cient Greece but also from many civ­i­liza­tion around the Mediter­ranean basin and from Arab folk tra­di­tions. "I choose to rep­re­sent peace with the or­ganic form of an olive branch be­cause his­tor­i­cally it has been un­der­stood as a sym­bol of peace to many peo­ple in the East and the West, the sim­plic­ity of form and the clear white and green colors add to the mes­sage’s calm­ness and clar­ity," el-touni noted.

Last but not least, renowned de­signer Mil­ton Glaser says of his own sub­mis­sion that "This so­lu­tion pro­poses some sym­bols that have be­come as­so­ci­ated with the idea of world peace. No­tably, the use of blue and white and the cir­cu­lar rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the globe. What we have added to it is the num­ber 1, sig­ni­fy­ing we are all one or that our pri­mary con­cern is the world, it­self. It also im­plies the idea of a new be­gin­ning."


UAE, by Moloob­hoy & Brown

Syria, by Ghalia El­srakbi & Lau­ren Alexan­der

Le­banon by Tarek Atrissi

Pales­tine, by Amer Amin

Egypt, by Helmi el-touni's

By Mil­ton Glaser

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