Last modified: 2023-09-30 by zachary harden
Keywords: british empire | commonwealth of nations | commonwealth games | international organization |
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image by Zachary Harden, 31 July 2022
image by Dean Thomas, 7 August 2002
The Commonwealth Games Federation changed their seal in early 2001. According
to the CGF Brand Standards Manual, the components of the new seal are described
thus: The Commonwealth Games' identity, the Bar, visually represents the
Games' effort to raise the bar of sport for all humanity. As such, a strong
horizontal bar forms the key element in the Commonwealth Games Mark. The Bar is
supported on either end by two broad, hemispheric strokes, and in the centre by
three converging points, which represent the trinity of ideals the Games
embraces: Humanity, Equality, and Destiny. Together, the forms create a mark
that is at once powerful and subtle, a beautifully timeless graphic
representation of the Commonwealth Games.
As the previous Ceremonial Flag was based on the old seal design, a new flag had to be created to reflect the new emblem. The new flag was used for the first time at the XVII Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England (25 July to 4 August, 2002).
(Source: Commonwealth Games Federation )
Dean Thomas, 17 May 2002
There has been a bot of coming and going about the flag at the Commonwealth
Games in Manchester so I thought I would clear up the mystery.
The flag raised at the opening ceremony was indeed the wrong design, showing the complete seal of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) on the flag. I suspect this error came about because the complete seal is what is used everywhere else in dressing the games. It appears on almost every item or building. This was a new flag introduced at these games, so no-one had any experience of what is SHOULD look like to spot the mistake.
After the ceremony the flag was moved to the flagpole that had flown the Royal Standard. This was the same flag as use din the ceremony. The perception that it was changed the next morning may have been caused by the fact that there are TWO CGF flags flying in the stadium. Apart from the ceremonial flag (which is 6ft x 12ft) there is a "look" flag. "Look" flags are the flags that dress the stadium and other venues and show only those nations that are competing at that venue (apart from the stadium that shows everyone's). In addition to the national flags there is a "protocol set" that precedes them: the CGF flag, the English flag and the flags of the various sporting federations. In the case of the stadium the CGF flag in the protocol set was the correct emblem-only design.
For the closing ceremony a new CGF flag was made that was the correct emblem-only design. This is what was lowered and handed to the Melbourne representative.
I still believe that this flag is weak and needs some redesign to make it work. When hanging (as it tends to do in a closed-off stadium) it just looks like a piece of white cloth.
Falkland Islands and Cayman
On the Commonwealth Games national flags, this was the first time that the "large badge - no disc" version of the Falklands and Cayman Islands were used and I think they looked great (even if I do say so myself). This was not a mistake - it was agreed with the two countries, and if you looked at the swimming caps of the competitors you would have seen the same style flag on the side.
For those interested in vertical flags, the following Commonwealth countries have special vertical flags, or vary from the usual rotate and flip: British Virgin Islands (arms rotate), Montserrat (arms rotate), Dominica (parrot rotates), Swaziland (spears point upwards), Pakistan (crescent and star rotates), Namibia (sun goes in the top-right corner, so just rotates), Cyprus (map reads correctly, so just rotates).
It was a very interesting experience being the "flag person" for such a huge event. I've learnt lots of lessons, such as how to make those indoor trapeziums work in a simple and elegant fashion, the sheer complexity of organizing the right flags for several hundred victory ceremonies, and not to use 6ft x 12ft flags for victory ceremonies in the main stadium even if the broadcasters do say they look better - they are just too big for the flag raisers to cope with elegantly.
Graham Bartram, 04 August 2002
I think restoring the red-white-blue-white bordure compony would help. But
then I would also restore the imperial crown, as on the medals. I didn't much
like the old ceremonial flag - I thought the oval chain was ugly compared to the
pentagonal or even a circular one - but the new flag to me seems like a
meaningless corporate logo. Incidentally, I notice the imperial crown on the
medals was a Tudor crown. I assume that keeping the crown on the medals
while getting rid of it on the seal and flag was some sort of compromise struck
by some committee somewhere, but why use a crown that has been out of date for
half a century?
Andrew Yong, 05 August 2002
image by Eugene Ipavec, 25 March 2006
This flag was seen in use at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
A.P. Burgers, 23 March 2006
I see the new flag slightly different from Andrew's comment: The "bar" logo is
not powerful in any way it all, as the official description would have it; it's
just the line below the letters CGF. The whole thing doesn't just look like a
meaningless corporate logo, it simply is an organisational flag. This is the
flag of the CGF, rather than that for the Games themselves.
Could we have another Christchurch, with the athletes taking back the games for themselves again? But this time, can they take this flag away and replace it with something athletes would be proud to compete under?
The Games are not called "Commonwealth Games Feast", so if they put "CGF" on the flag, it's a flag for the CGF; it should not be used for the Games.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 15 February 2015
Variant; image by Zachary Harden, 28 September 2023
The 2022 Games in Birmingham showed the sixth version of the ceremonial flag with the new logo. The new logo was created in 2019.
Zachary Harden and Dean Thomas, 31 July 2022
The Emblem and flag of the Commonwealth Games has undergone several evolutions, due to the changing of the name of the Games:
1930-1952: British Empire Games
1954-1966: British Empire and Commonwealth Games
1966-1974: British Commonwealth Games
1974-2001: Commonwealth Games (First Flag Variant)
2002-now: Commonwealth Games (New Flag Variant)
image by Dean Thomas, 4 March 1998
This flag was first used at a Commonwealth Games at the XI Games at Edmonton,
Canada (1978), and for the last time at the XVI Games at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Seal differed from the Ceremonial Flag only in that the chain was laid out in a pentagonal configuration. This configuration represented the five geographical regions of the world where the member nations of the Commonwealth are located.
Dean Thomas, 21 May 2002
image by Darrell Neuman
image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 24 November 2006
Edmonton hosted the 11th Commonwealth Games in August 1978 which were officially
opened by the Queen. This is the flag of these Games.
Darrell Neuman, 1 May 2006
source; image by Zachary Harden, 31 July 2022
Commonwealth Games will be held in Durban, South Africa between the 18th of
July 2022 and 31st July 2022. The successful bid was announced on 2nd September
2015 in Auckland New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games General Federation
Assembly (C.G.F.), the announcement being made while the 26th International
Congress Of Vexillology was being held in Sydney Australia. The XXII
Commonwealth Games logo was inspired by the South African flag. The logo
embraces the colours and geometric colours of the country's flag and has been
rearranged to suggest the shape of the African Continent.
John Moody, 12 March 2016
The Games were stripped from Durban in 2017 and they were later awarded to Birmingham to host in 2022.
Zachary Harden, 31 July 2022