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 initiated by Trapped in Suburbia to explore this ambiguity further. The project forms a visual dialogue around peace and its indefinite symbolism.

These flags will present a spectrum of ideas on peace. Each highlighting a particular nation’s relationship with, and view towards, international peace.
  
We wish to ask the questions: What defines peace? How should it be symbolised? And what must a peace flag achieve?

Flags of Peace aims to collect a flag design from each of the 196 countries in the world. Along this journey, international exhibitions will present the progress.

Initially over forty reputable designers and artists, each from a different nation across the globe, were invited to propose a flag design, showing how they believe peace should be portrayed.

The first showcase took place at De Pier, The Hague, over the Just Peace festival, International Day of Peace and Today’s Art.

Visit the desktop version of this site to see all the individual flag designs.

1891
White Flag

The oldest known symbol of peace to be devised into a flag design was the white flag. With mentioned uses going back to AD 25, the white flag was originally recognised in conflict as the flag of surrender, truce or ceasefire.

However, it was only until 1891 at the third Universal Peace Congress in Rome that the white flag took on a generalised form. This design, created by Henry Pettit, featured a nation’s flag surround by a white border signifying resolution to conflict. This particular approach was adopted by the American Peace Society and the Universal Peace Union, although never officially.

Today, the blank white flag is more commonly used with more recent reversions such as Aaron Fein’s white appropriations of 192 nations’ flags.

1913
Earth Flag

Claimed to be the first world peace flag, the Earth Flag designed by James William van Kirk, a Methodist minister from Ohio, USA, saw the initial usage of the rainbow in this context. This spectrum represented all the variations of the human race. Difference but united in global peace.

In 1913 and 1929, Kirk travelled through Europe on peace tours, accompanied by his flag. The Universal Peace Congress held in The Hague, The Netherlands accepted Kirk’s flag as the official World Peace Flag. Since then it has been adopted by the American Peace Society and other groups.

Yet again this proposal has not gained complete global acceptance or continual use.

1958
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Aside from early Christian symbols for peace such as the dove and the olive branch, the icon that has gained most recognition of peace is the logo designed for the British Nuclear Disarmament movement in 1958.

Known today as ‘the peace symbol’ this icon was designed by Gerald Holtom, a British artist and designer, for a march in Trafalgar Square, London. The symbol has two origins: the first being a combination of the semaphore signals for the letters ’N’ and ‘D’ - standing for ‘nuclear disarmament’. The second being Holtom’s illustration of a figure in despair with their arms outstretched in a downwards direction.

Since it’s initial creation it has been used by many individuals, activism groups and the military. Previously the symbol had no patent or restrictions but in 1970 two American companies attempted to register it as a trade mark. Their efforts were unsuccessful and the icon continues to be used across the world on flags and merchandise representing peace.

1961
Rainbow Flag

Possibly the most common recent design is the rainbow flag. It originates from a peace march in 1961 in Italy with the design being inspired by a similar multi-coloured flag used in demonstrations against nuclear weapons.

The most common variety consists of seven colours, often confused with the eight or six striped flags of the LGBT movement. The peace flag is often emblazoned with the word ‘Peace’ in the nation’s respective language. Pablo Picasso also created a version featuring a dove illustration.

The flag is said to have gained more recognition in 2002 in a campaign against the impending war in Iraq. Although, it’s main usage existed in Italy.

Suggestions for potential exhibition venues are greatly welcomed.

Please get in touch via: info@trappedinsuburbia.nl

trappedinsuburbia.com

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 initiated by Trapped in Suburbia to explore this ambiguity further. The project forms a visual dialogue around peace and its indefinite symbolism.

These flags will present a spectrum of ideas on peace. Each highlighting a particular nation’s relationship with, and view towards, international peace.
 
We wish to ask the questions: What defines peace? How should it be symbolised? And what must a peace flag achieve?

Flags of Peace aims to collect a flag design from each of the 196 countries in the world. Along this journey, international exhibitions will present the progress.

Australia

Garbett

Czech Republic

Anymade Studio

Finland

Bond

Greece

Beetroot

Hong Kong

Ken Lo

South Korea

Jaemin Lee

Mexico

Savvy Studio

Netherlands

Wim Crouwel

New Zealand

Dean Poole

Norway

Bleed

Palestine

Amer Amin

Portugal

White Studio

Russia

Chaïka

South Africa

Jono Garrett

Spain

Hey

Switzerland

Enzed

Thailand

Farmgroup

United Arab Emirates

Moloobhoy & Brown

United Kingdom

Ken Garland

United States of America

Milton Glaser Inc

Venezuela

Jorge Montero

1891
White Flag

The oldest known symbol of peace to be devised into a flag design was the white flag. With mentioned uses going back to AD 25, the white flag was originally recognised in conflict as the flag of surrender, truce or ceasefire.

However, it was only until 1891 at the third Universal Peace Congress in Rome that the white flag took on a generalised form. This design, created by Henry Pettit, featured a nation’s flag surround by a white border signifying resolution to conflict. This particular approach was adopted by the American Peace Society and the Universal Peace Union, although never officially.

Today, the blank white flag is more commonly used with more recent reversions such as Aaron Fein’s white appropriations of 192 nations’ flags.

1913
Earth Flag

Claimed to be the first world peace flag, the Earth Flag designed by James William van Kirk, a Methodist minister from Ohio, USA, saw the initial usage of the rainbow in this context. This spectrum represented all the variations of the human race. Difference but united in global peace.

In 1913 and 1929, Kirk travelled through Europe on peace tours, accompanied by his flag. The Universal Peace Congress held in The Hague, The Netherlands accepted Kirk’s flag as the official World Peace Flag. Since then it has been adopted by the American Peace Society and other groups.

Yet again this proposal has not gained complete global acceptance or continual use.

1958
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Aside from early Christian symbols for peace such as the dove and the olive branch, the icon that has gained most recognition of peace is the logo designed for the British Nuclear Disarmament movement in 1958.

Known today as ‘the peace symbol’ this icon was designed by Gerald Holtom, a British artist and designer, for a march in Trafalgar Square, London. The symbol has two origins: the first being a combination of the semaphore signals for the letters ’N’ and ‘D’ - standing for ‘nuclear disarmament’. The second being Holtom’s illustration of a figure in despair with their arms outstretched in a downwards direction.

Since it’s initial creation it has been used by many individuals, activism groups and the military. Previously the symbol had no patent or restrictions but in 1970 two American companies attempted to register it as a trade mark. Their efforts were unsuccessful and the icon continues to be used across the world on flags and merchandise representing peace.

1961
Rainbow Flag

Possibly the most common recent design is the rainbow flag. It originates from a peace march in 1961 in Italy with the design being inspired by a similar multi-coloured flag used in demonstrations against nuclear weapons.

The most common variety consists of seven colours, often confused with the eight or six striped flags of the LGBT movement. The peace flag is often emblazoned with the word ‘Peace’ in the nation’s respective language. Pablo Picasso also created a version featuring a dove illustration.

The flag is said to have gained more recognition in 2002 in a campaign against the impending war in Iraq. Although, it’s main usage existed in Italy.

Suggestions for potential exhibition venues are greatly welcomed.

Please get in touch via: info@trappedinsuburbia.nl

trappedinsuburbia.com