Everything You Wanted To Know About Horizontal Flags

BAA 10k Finish Line custom horizontal flags

What is a Horizontal Flag?

When most people imagine a flag, they are probably picturing a horizontal flag. On their most basic level, flags are a means to communicate a message or sentiment. They are typically made from cloth and feature some type of symbol or emblem. Horizontal Flags are customizable and can be used anywhere, making them a versatile signage option. Custom printed Horizontal Flags create a positive first impression on visitors when approaching facilities of any kind. They can be used to promote corporate or organization identity with a company slogan, bolster team spirit with a team logo, and much more. Horizontal Flags can come in a myriad of different sizes. The most popular is the 3×5 custom flag, but other sizes include a 4×6, 5×8 and 6×10.

The History of the Horizontal Flag

Where and when the flag originated is unknown, however, the oldest known horizontal flag was made of metal and dates back to 2400 B.C. in Iran. Early on, flags represented coats of arms in battle. Later, in the 17th century, it was common to see national flags flown aboard ships to indicate their homeland. Maritime ships also used horizontal flags for communication. A system of communication called “flag semaphore” was commonly used for ships to communicate with each other.  

Signal Flags

To communicate using flag semaphore, a crewman holds a flag in each hand and signals different formations that symbolize numbers or letters to another ship.

Did you know: The peace sign was created in 1958 by artist Gerald Holtom to protest the use of nuclear weapons. Holtom combined the semaphore symbols for N and D, which stood for “nuclear disarmament,” to create the iconic shape known to many as the peace sign. 

American Flag

One of the most common types of horizontal flags are national flags. It is believed that Denmark’s flag, which was created in 1625, is the oldest continuously used flag for a nation. The American flag was adopted in 1777 with 13 stripes and 13 stars. Since then, the American Flag has been modified 26 times to create the flag we know now with 50 stars and 13 stripes.

How to use Horizontal Flags for Effective Marketing

Custom printed horizontal flags are a smart way to complement existing branding. In a recent study on business signage, 86% of respondents agreed that business signage can convey the personality or character of the business. With this in mind, using a custom flag is a great way to impart an organization’s core values.

Digitally printed custom flags are a very effective way to promote an event, strengthen branding, and generate organizational pride. Horizontal flags are a recognizable form of signage and are a fantastic way to display a company logo to denote your location to customers. For retail businesses, horizontal flags are a great way to feature brands carried both on the interior and exterior of your building.

Common uses for Horizontal Flags:

  • Denote location
  • Feature company logo
  • Organization pride
  • Strengthen branding
  • Feature brands carried
  • Recognize sponsors
  • General décor

Where do you put a Horizontal Flag?

Displaying a flag in a prominent area makes it more noticeable and effective. Fortunately, horizontal flags are one of the most versatile types of signage and can be used in a variety of ways, indoors or out. For businesses that receive a lot of wind, a dedicated flagpole is a prominent and noticeable way to display your flag. For businesses that receive less wind, a wall bracket attached to your building is an excellent way to display your flag’s message or graphics even when the wind isn’t blowing.

Interior Use:

  • Hung with an angled wall bracket in prominent area of building
  • Pinned to a wall
  • Hung from the rafters or ceiling

Exterior use:

  • Hung from a dedicated flagpole in open area
  • Hung from angled wall bracket near entrance or
  • Pinned to a building near entrance or prominent area

Horizontal Flag Design

Attention to detail when designing a horizontal flag is essential. You want your horizontal flag to stand out for the right reasons. We recommend keeping your custom printed flag design as simple as possible, while still getting your message across. Flags are typically viewed from a distance, so a simple, recognizable design will make it easier for people to comprehend your message from a distance. Determining the proper color scheme for your flag can carry a simple design a long way.

Colors to Make Your Horizontal Flag Come Alive

Choosing the right colors can make the difference between your horizontal printed flag standing out as a unique marketing tool or going unnoticed. If you are trying to strengthen branding, then it is important that your flag include your logo as well as the colors associated with your brand. No matter what the purpose of the flag is, selecting contrasting colors that will make it stand out is vital. Let’s take a look at some of the colors you might use.

  • Red – Red is a strong color that is associated with love, importance, danger, and violence. Red has also been proven to potentially raise a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. Using red strategically can create an impactful visual on a flag.
  • Blue – Darker shades of blue can represent trustworthiness and strength, while lighter blues can be refreshing and indicate friendliness and calmness.
  • Green – Similar to blue, green can represent calmness. It also symbolizes growth, nature, and rejuvenation. Green is the earthliest color and the darker the shade, the more closely associated with nature it is. As green gets lighter, the more it exudes vibrance and energy.

The Pros & Cons of the Horizontal Flag

There are pros and cons to advertising with horizontal flags.  Placement needs to be optimal for horizontal flags to get the visibility your advertising needs require. If you do buy a large horizontal flag, you may need a flag pole to display it high enough to be seen. A pro is that horizontal flags can be single or double-sided, thus allowing the advertising message printed on it to be different per side or the same. 

Regardless of your application, customizing a horizontal flag at any size can serve your business well through visual advertising and increasing brand awareness on a daily basis. Half the battle of visual advertising is maximizing the number of eyeballs seeing your brand in their day-to-day routine.

 What are some other types of custom flags?

Vertical Flags

Swooper Flags

Feather Flags



As you go about your day in the world, look around at how many different types of horizontal flags you see at various organizations. You might be surprised at how frequently you see them. Whether your organization is strengthening a brand, building organizational pride, or needing décor to beautify a building, a horizontal flag could be the answer for you. 

 Questions Answered in this Article

This article contains answers to the following questions:

What is a horizontal flag?

Why use horizontal flags?

What are some pros and cons of horizontal flags?

What are some important designs and colors for custom printed flags?

Where do you put a horizontal flag?

Contact Quality Sign Designer today to order your custom horizontal advertising flags!


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