William Brand

The Mercury Flag

86 posts in this topic

Many moons ago we discussed the possibilities of a flag for the Mercury. Mostly we discussed my overabundance of designs in this old thread...

http://pyracy.com/index.php?showtopic=9836&st=20

Much was discussed. Much was thrown out. Nothing was ever soundly completed.

With PIP of 2009 upon us once again, and with the numbers of the Mercury crew swelling to more than we've ever seen in years past, I thought that I would take a new stab at the design.

This one is based on numerous period drawings, sculptures, paintings and the like. I researched a wide avenue of examples from the 1700s to create a more accurate feel and style than any of my earlier attempts. I threw out the astrological symbol for Mercury. I tossed the flamboyant, modern wings in favor of an 18th century motif. I lost the date at the bottom.

Let me know what you think of this little number. I still need to tweak it a little, but I already prefer this one far beyond my first.

MercuryFlagSmall.jpg

See updates in the design below

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I like it! I like the idea that the two opposing sides have such similar and yet so different designs for their flags...

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Can't tell the good guys from the bad guys. I like it.

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Awesome work as always William! Love it to itty bitty pieces!

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Ya' know...I realize that's a very period-looking skull and it does indeed look just like photos I have seen on old graves. However, as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of skulls and skeletons - something I've loved and played with in haunted houses, artwork and even fiction since I was a kid - I think it should be bolder. I would think graves would tend to have a softer representation of skulls than a pirate might choose. They are not the only period skull/skeleton references that existed.

For example, from John Woodall's The surgions mate, page 91 (1655 edition) we have this:

fig4trepanCHC.jpg

And from James Cooke's Mellificium chirurgiæ, or, The marrow of chirurgery (1685), we have this:

cooke%20mellificium%20cropped%20p196.gif

Just playing with an idea, I think it would be cool to have a skeletal foot in profile with wings at the back of it. Perhaps throw an hourglass in there in the corner. Of course, I have not offered up a fine example of graphic work like our Quartermaster has so boldly done.

Don't get me wrong, I think William has evoked period examples very nicely and I know he put more than a little work and thought into it. And I am a pressed man - so I probably shouldn't get a vote. But since opinions were asked for, I offer mine, worth what you paid for it.

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I like it.

One reason is that it uses known design elements used on period Jolly Rogers, is in a possible period style, and has a nice balance and simplicity to it.

On part of flag design is they absolutely need to be simple to be recognizable. In flags, simple is better.

The black/white contrast is nice and not to cluttered.

The only suggestion MIGHT be even simpler wings and more space between the skull and wings, resulting in a simpler design easier to construct from white panels and more clearly distinguishable from a distance.

As it is, it works too To make it, I'd make the skull and wings as a single piece of material and paint all the black on them for definition.

Either way, that is FAR more period than most ever bother.

Another idea for the skull (ala Mission):

Use the style in the illustrations within Johnson's book. It is also period too.

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I think it looks really good for what its worth.

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Don't get me wrong, I think William has evoked period examples very nicely and I know he put more than a little work and thought into it. And I am a pressed man - so I probably shouldn't get a vote. But since opinions were asked for, I offer mine, worth what you paid for it.

As a pressed man you might not get a vote, but as a player of the stage you do. However, I must counter with this...your examples are primarily engravings and a flag has to be simpler by design. I too would love to make a very detailed skull of evil, but I've learned to reign myself in more and more over the years when it comes to pirate flags. Simplicity and iconery over detail.

And as for a foot...I worked with several feet designs when making the 'Myyyyy....FEET!' shirt from PIP. Skeleton feet make for very poor images at a distance. I tried numerous layouts with feet when making the t-shirt and everyone I showed them to agreed that it didn't come across well. Some couldn't even tell what they were.

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I believe the My Feet! design was a foot from the bottom, wasn't it? I was thinking of something in profile - along these lines:

57400.JPG

Only with with the god Mercury-style wings coming off the back of the foot (and the foot facing the other direction - I think that would imply more speed for some reason.) Of course, I do not know from graphic design techniques and you are no doubt right about simplicity being king and the foot being hard to comprehend from a distance.

Still, the flag design could retain simplicity and feature less roundness and curlicues and more angular lines. That was why I posted those images - the cheekbone is more pronounced and the eyes less round. The key to making a skull look evil seems to be in the eyes, brow and the cheekbone (and the teeth to some degree, but that would be very hard to include.) From reading about cartooning, angles imply power, danger and swiftness where roundness and curlicues imply softness and even cuteness. (This is a modern interpretation, of course.)

But again, I have done no real work here and defer to your knowledge and willingness to undertake the design. It's just my 2¢.

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I believe the My Feet! design was a foot from the bottom, wasn't it?

Some of them were, but there were others that you never saw. Believe me when I say, everyone I showed it to made a sort of 'what is it?' face. Even the ones who recognized it immediately said 'A foot...?' in a tone that was incredulous, not flattering. I tossed those designs at once.

Here are two designs with subtle changes...

One with the elements separated a little more.

MercuryFlagNew2.jpg

One with a hint of cheekbones.

MercuryFlagCheekbones.jpg

I should note that I like the wings on this design much more than my design two years back. Not only are they more accurate to the period style, but they also look like white capped waves.

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I've always believed that simpler is better in flags, as are large, singular blocks in the design. I like this design much better than the others for those reasons. I printed the flag, taped it to a wall and paced off 40 feet and looked at it from there. The flag appeared 1/16 inch tall as measured using a ruler held at arms length. From there the skull and wings were discernible but the bones started to get lost a little. Possible suggestions: larger bones or incorporate into the skull as in Emmanuel Wynne's flag (the design of which I used for mine.)

Still, I like it as it is if those changes don't seem to work out. Excellent, as always William.

Edit:

Naturally, William posted as I was fooling about with the flags and tape and such. I repeated the above procedure and found that the small separation of elements helped but the cheekbones aren't visible at that distance. The cheekbones do make it look better up close though.

Edited by Captain Jim

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I'm biased, but I LOVE IT! :-)

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My most recent change, with further emphasis on the cheekbones and the jaw line. I also cleaned up the leg bones a little bit to give them a simpler line and definition.

MercuryFlagComplete.jpg

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I'd serve under that flag. I'm not changing my avatar though. I mean a guy has to have his own signature and all...

Edited by Captain Jim

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Here, here. I'm not changing my avatar either.

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I believe the My Feet! design was a foot from the bottom, wasn't it?

Some of them were, but there were others that you never saw. Believe me when I say, everyone I showed it to made a sort of 'what is it?' face. Even the ones who recognized it immediately said 'A foot...?' in a tone that was incredulous, not flattering.

<_< I can see your point. It was just an idea.

Well, I have the worst possible picture editing software (MS Paint), so this is a little raggedy looking (and even that took a lot of work), but I was playing with the flag and this was kinda' sorta' the type of thing I was thinking about. I mostly changed the skull, but I also did a little work on the left hand wing. The changes are very small there, mostly just making the feathers (other than the wave feather - which is a neat concept) more pointed. The right hand wing was not changed.

(I do not suggest using this mess as the final flag, I just wanted to try and show you what I was thinking.)

Mercury%20Flag%20Crappy%20Rendition.JPG

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My most recent change, with further emphasis on the cheekbones and the jaw line. I also cleaned up the leg bones a little bit to give them a simpler line and definition.

MercuryFlagComplete.jpg

Those little lines to the cheeks and jaw add A LOT.

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MercuryFlagComplete.jpg

This one works very well.

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Simple is good!

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With so many in accord, I'll consider the flag done and begin preparations for a real one. Tracy has agreed to sew one for PIP, but if a few others need to be made for other events, please let me know. I only wish I could have sent one to my fellow Mercurians for the Hampton Blackbeard festival.

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looks cool to me !! can't add any advice on being pc or not... don't know enough about flags...

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Oooo! This is gonna be some BIG trouble William...I can see it now...

MercuryFlagComplete.jpg

Edited by Cheeky Actress

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With so many in accord, I'll consider the flag done and begin preparations for a real one. Tracy has agreed to sew one for PIP, but if a few others need to be made for other events, please let me know. I only wish I could have sent one to my fellow Mercurians for the Hampton Blackbeard festival.

There was no one from the Mercury Crew present at Blackbeard's, unfortunately Capt. Jim couldn't make it.

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*Sniffle, le sigh...*

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And ye were very much missed... hopefully next year...

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