Flags are the one form of national symbol that we know to have survived the apocalypse; there seem to be no coat-of-arms in SSSS, and the post-Rash symbols of the Nordic Council and on the cat-tank don't seem to exist in the real world.
Flags of Sovereignties Edit
Flags of the Nordic Countries Edit
The flag of Denmark (Dannebrog, ) is quite likely the world's oldest flag still in active use, appearing on a seal dated to the year 1397. It shows a white cross - one vertical bar offset to the flag's hoist side and one horizontal along the center - on a unicolor red background. The cross symbolizes Christianity, and a host of other nations have adopted this "Nordic Cross" design, exchanging the colors and occasionally splitting the cross into two colors (core and "border", called fimbriation in heraldry). In particular, this holds for the nations of Iceland (), Norway (), Sweden () and Finland (), all of which still exist post-Rash and apparently continue to use their traditional flags.
Various autonomous regions in the Nordics fly flags of their own that usually are based on the Nordic Cross design as well. It is, however, not yet clear which of those remain in existence after the Illness.
It also seems that the post-Rash nations may be willing to use their traditional flags to a different extent. While and the fly a number of large flags (and simultaneously belong to the nations officially not having returned to belief in the Old Gods), Dalsnes and Reykjavík apparently do not fly any in public, and in , animal symbols appear in larger numbers than the Finnish flag.
Other Nations and Sovereignties of the Known World Edit
There are a few inhabited places which used to have their own flag pre-Rash, like Shetland. It is not yet known how much of their sovereignty and the pertinent decorum they maintained.
Flags as Language Symbols Edit
It has become quite common to use flags as symbols to adjust computers' locale, in particular, the (default) language. (In the same vein, flags preceding the sections of fine print on the packaging of goods are often understood as identifying the section's language, rather than the nation - and, thus, legalese - the section has to comply with.)
While this is straightforward as long as nation and language have a one-on-one relation, it becomes erroneous and even a point of contention when there is a part of the nation's populace speaking a different language, or several nations having claims of similar priority to a common language. In some of the latter cases, use of a flag of the language, created as some mixture of the competing nations' flags, is being proposed.
Use of Flag Icons in this Wiki Edit
The use of flags to symbolize nations as well as languages is popular both in the comic and among the readers. However, that means that flag icons uploaded to the wiki should have a common naming scheme and style, to prevent a "list of languages" resulting in an eyesore.
Flags of Nations Edit
National symbols are usually not covered by copyright, and in the case of the Nordic flags, their simple geometric shapes prevent applicability of copyright as well. (Certain uses, in particular in such a way as to imply an official function, can be illegal, but that will hopefully not apply here.) However, a particular rendition of a flag may very well be copyrighted. For that reason, we're so far sticking to plain, rectangular, paraxial depictions of the flags, no borders, shadows, highlighting etc. etc..
Wikipedia/Wikimedia usually offers such depictions as SVG files in the public domain, as well as providing a link to a PNG version shrunk to a width of 200 pixels. The currently uploaded flags have been further shrunk to a width of 20 pixels; the height varies, as nations do mandate varying width-to-height ratios for their flags. (A flag icon only 20 pixels wide will be somewhat difficult to recognize in the case of complicated patterns, like the U.S. star-spangled banner () or The United Kingdom's Union Jack (), but most European flags and especially the Nordic-Cross-based ones work quite well in that size, and the resulting height fits well into pages' lines of text.)
Proper nations also have a two letter ISO code, e.g., "SE" for Sweden, which is usually listed on the nation's Wikipedia page (near the bottom of the top-right info box). If at all possible, please upload the final icon in PNG format and using that code as the file name - e.g., "SE.png" for the (already present: ) Swedish flag.
Flags of Other Sovereignties Edit
(The only part of the above that doesn't apply to non-nations is that they may not have ISO country codes assigned to them (which are not to be confused with Internet domains (ccTLDs); e.g., the United Kingdom uses the ccTLD .uk, but the ISO 3166 code is GB). Naming of such cases still to be determined ...)
Language Flags Edit
As long as there is no contention about it, use of a national flag for a language is allowed, and even encouraged.
If contention is known or arises, it is suggested that a separate flag(s)-based icon for the language is designed and uploaded. These icons should instead be in GIF format, so as to allow, e.g., animated GIFs rotating through the national flags in question. Also, their two-letter codes should be taken from the IETF language tag list (and thus match the POSIX local coding scheme). As an example, the language flag for English gets named EN.gif and currently is an animated GIF switching between the flags of US and GB: