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
FLAG INFORMATION CODE
The Fédération internationale des associations vexillologiques
(FIAV) adopts this Flag Information Code and encourages its use by FIAV
Members, individual vexillologists, publishers and others who study
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 (1) insofar
as possible eliminates misunderstandings and (2) which is both
comprehensible to persons knowing different languages and easy to
(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; and.
(d) To eliminate, insofar as possible, the confusion that exists in
the terminology employed by governments and others to describe
national flags and their use.
Sec. 3 FLAG COLORS
(a) The following letters are adopted for use to indicate the colors
of a flag in illustrations:
(b) Colors other than those listed above are not abbreviated.
(c) The following symbols indicate approximate color shades::
(d) The use of a color descriptor without a symbol indicates a
medium, normal or unknown shade of the color.
Sec. 4. FLAG PROPORTIONS
Flag proportions are indicated by a ratio. The first figure
corresponds to the width of the flag, which is defined as the side
normally attached to the pole or staff. The second figure corresponds to
the length of the flag. A flag with a width of 3 units and a length of 5
units is written as either 3:5 or 3x5.
Sec. 5 NATIONAL FLAG USE
(a) The following grid is used to describe the use or uses of a flag
whose primary function is to identify nationality rather than some other
characteristic (such as the rank of an individual, the existence or a
specific government or military institution, or some other concept):
(b) The six areas of the grid indicate the six basic uses of national
flags: (1) use by private individuals and institutions on land; (2) use
by nonmilitary government institutions on land; (3) use by military
institutions on land; (4) use by private individuals and institutions at
sea; (5) use by nonmilitary governmental institutions at sea; and (6)
use by military institutions at sea. Private, nonmilitary governmental,
and military use is indicated from left to right by the three vertical
columns; use on land and sea is indicated from top to bottom by the two
(c). The grid is to be written or printed in the line of identifying
text near an illustration of a flag, together with the ratio indicating
proportions. The use or uses of the flag design are indicated by placing
a point (•) or an × in the appropriate area or areas of the grid.
The flag information summarized by the Code is not a substitute for a
specific textual description of a flag and its use or uses.
An amendment to the Code may be adopted only by the FIAV General
Assembly. Before the General Assembly considers an amendment, the
amendment should be discussed by individuals attending the International
Congress of Vexillology during which the General Assembly will be held.
FIAV members and individual vexillologists are encouraged to propose
amendments based on their experience 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,
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.
Amended July 23, 2001 (adding new section 1 and renumbering and
amending remaining articles) by the Seventeenth Session of the General
Assembly held during the International Congress of Vexillology at York,
England, United Kingdom.
The grid shown for national flag usage was rendered by Antonio Martins