May 13, 2009

Purple Flags? Part Three: Number Crunching

I've devoted several posts to the mystery of why there is no purple on any of the world's national flags. And posted pictures of some of the rare flags that contain purple (like the flag of Tokyo & a bunch from regions in Spain.) Google-searching about purple flags is the most common way that people find this site randomly on the internet, so I will continue to give the public more of what it wants. If I could somehow combine Miss Utah & Michael Jackson's testicles on a purple flag I could create an über-blog post which would be irresistible to even unrelated googling. People googling their ex-girlfriends would find themselves helplessly drawn to this weblog!

Someone at a flag retail store named CRW Flags in Glen Burnie, Maryland, named Ivan Sarajcic, has crunched all the numbers for color frequency on national flags. (Perhaps there's a ton of down time if you work at a flag retail store?) Analyzing 192 flags, these are the statistics for how many flags have which color, & what percent of the total contain that color:

Red - 148 - 77.08%
White - 140 - 72.92%
Blue - 102 - 53.13%
Yellow/Gold - 89 - 46.30%
Green - 87 - 45.31%
Black - 59 - 30.73%
Orange - 9 - 4.69%
Brown - 9 - 4.69%
Gray - 6 - 3.13%
Purple - 2 - 1.04%

Only two national flags contain any purple! Spain & Nicaragua! We've also learned that orange, brown & gray are neglected. And there's no pink - which is interesting, because pink has only recently been associated with girlyness, princesses, & frat boy business clothes, so there was plenty of time for it to become a national color before it acquired such unfortunate stereotypes. Mr Sarajcic also broke down the colors by how much is on the total area of the flags:

Red - 30.30%
Blue - 21.15%
White - 19.12%
Green - 15.33%
Yellow/Gold - 8.6%
Black - 5.13%
Orange - 1.24%
Brown - 0.11%
Gray - 0.03%
Purple - 0.001%

Purple's portion is infinitesimal because the two national flags it appears on only have a tiny bit. Spain (0.10%) - that same lion from the Kingdom of León we discussed before!

& Nicaragua (0.04%) - purple snuck in thru the rainbow - 

Compared to colors like green, which gets 100% of Libya's flag - (Green was Muhammad's favorite color, which is why it's all over the flags of Islamic countries).

All of Mr Sarajcic's fascinating report can be read at

When I published Purple Flags? The Sequel, one person responded with some beautiful Incan Flags.

Any more, world?


antonabadzhiev said...

I am quite certain that there was some pink in the flag of The Society to Fight Vernal Weariness. I went to picture it; I was displeased to find out that the club was already occupied by a branch of the Moderate Progress in the Limits of Law Party, or as it is known in Bulgaria - The Beer Party.
So I can only solemnly witness the existance of pink-on-flag precedent.

Anonymous said...


Bex_R1986 said...

Not certain if this has been suggested elsewhere but purple was always the most expensive colour of dye to create. It was therefore commonly requested by royalty to show their wealth, so they'd wear purple robes.

I would guess in the case of flags, and the mass production that may have been required, purple would not have been practical or cost-effective!

Unknown said...

Except that most of the flags were designed within the last century, so unless even the synthetics were cost inhibitive it still doesn't add up.

Dan Lavatan said...

There is some pink on the Turks and Caicos flag in that conch shell.