one of the phenomena of 2012 was the union flag everywhere - initially for the diamond jubilee in traditional form, but then for the games in endless mutated colourways under the influence of the 2012 branding. the cyan/pink that seemed to be the brand people's first choice was rather nasty and showed up the strength of red, white and blue:
but stella mccartney's team gb outfits had more subtlety in their shades of blue and navy [better forget about the white and gold tracksuits for the opening ceremony]:
and by the autumn this kind of multicolour thing was everywhere:
the union flag has appeared in pop culture at intervals since the 60s, but i don't recall the colour being destabilised before, except to make a point about black british identity [red gold and green!]. now it feels as though the design has become detached from its colours - just in time, because if scotland vote for independence they may remove their st andrew's flag, and what would replace it? it would be a shame to give up such a strong and unique design. i wonder which is stronger in the end - patriotic attachment to colours, or design?
i have a union flag rubik's cube which allows me to mix up random variations. it's a souvenir from a tourist shop bought long before the olympics, but it says something to me about the evolution of national identity. photos in the new year.