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Flag Information Code: FIAV

Last modified: 2002-03-08 by phil nelson
Keywords: fiav | vexillological associations | associations: vexillological | associations: flag | fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques | flag informatoin code |
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The Flag Information Code was adopted on August 27, 1981. The code has been amended only once, on July 5, 1995. The current text of the code is set out below. It contains the exact text as adopted and amended.

The International Federation of Vexillological Associations officially recognizes the following Flag Information Code and recommends its use to its members, to individual vexillologists, and to publishers and others concerned for flags.


I. It is clearly understood that use of the Code in no way is indented to substitute for a complete textual exposition of the information to which the symbols of the Code refer.

II. The purposes of the Code are:

A. To allow basic information about flags to be recorded and transmitted concisely, accurately, and in a manner which insofar as possible eliminates misunderstandings and which is both comprehensible to persons knowing different languages and easy to learn;

B. To standardize knowledge of flags in order to facilitate comparative studies of flag characteristics;

C. To provide a convenient system for researchers, publishers, and others to record data for personal use and for exchanges and publication of information.

D. To eliminate insofar as possible the confusion existing in terminology employed by governments and others when reference is made to different flags and flag uses.


A. The following letters are adopted for use to indicate the colors of a flag in illustrations:

    R (red)
    O (orange)
    Y (yellow)
    V (green)
    B (blue)
    P (purple)
    N (black)
    W (white)
    G (grey)
    M (brown)
    Au (gold)
    Ag (silver)

B. Colors other than those listed shall be written out in full.

C. The following symbols are adopted for use in illustrations to indicate approximate color shades of a flag:
- Light
-- Very light
+ dark
++ very dark

D. The letters used without any symbol indicate a medium, normal, or unknown shade of the color.


The following system of identification is adopted for use as part of illustrations of flags of all kinds to indicate relative proportions. The first figure corresponds to the width of the flag, which is defined as the side normally attached to the pole or staff. Thus a flag with a width of 3 units and a length of 5 units shall be written 3x5 (hand-written form)
3:5 (printed version)


A. The following symbol is adopted for use in illustrations of flags whose primary purpose is to identify nationality rather than some other characteristic (such as the rank of an individual or the existence of a government or military institution or unit or some other concept):

    [flag toplogy symbol]

B. The grid indicates the six basic uses of flags of nationality, i.e. use by private citizens, by public institutions, and by military institutions on land and the corresponding usages at sea. Private, public, and military use are indicated from left to right by the three vertical columns; use on land and at sea are indicated by the top and bottom horizontal columns, respectively.

C. The grid is to be written or printed in the line of identifying text near an illustration of a flag, together with the symbol indicating proportions. The use of the flag design llustrated for one or more of the six uses shall be indicated by placing a point (.) in the appropriate area or areas of the grid in printed versions and an in the appropriate area or areas in a hand-written version.

D. The following symbol is adopted for use, as appropriate, in illustrations of flags which identify civil and/or military aircraft and air installations, a point (.) or in the appropriate vertical column above the top horizontal line indicating the usage:

    [extended flag toplogy symbol]

VI. Changes and additions to the Code may be adopted only by a General Assembly of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations. When possible, all such modifications shall be discussed fully in advance by all participants at the International Congress of Vexillology during which the General Assembly is held. Member associations and individual vexillologists are encouraged to consider desirable modifications based on actual experience in using the Code.

Adopted August 27, 1981 by the Seventh Session of the General Assembly held during the Ninth International Congress of Vexillology at Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Amended July 5, 1995 (III. A.) by the Fourteenth Session of the General Assembly held during the Sixteenth International Congress of Vexillology at Warsaw, Poland.


The grid shown for national flag useage was rendered by Antonio Martins
The grid shown for the extended flag useage wsa rendered by Phil Nelson

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