Australia Day is generally marked by a sea of Australian flags across the nation. But, as the blog for Australian design conference Sex, Drugs & Helvetica says, there can be “a prevailing sense of unease for what we celebrate. For many, our flag is a reminder of what has been forgotten, alongside the culture and history of people who nurtured the land prior to colonial settlement.”
Designer and Build co-founder Michael C Place, who spoke at last year’s Sex, Drugs & Helvetica event, held two workshops organised by the Australian Graphic Design Association in Melbourne and Brisbane. Attendees were tasked to redesign the Australian flag.
Place says he was inspired by the debate around the Scottish Independence Referendum (which was happening at the time) and the affect that this would have had on the Union Flag. He says: “In turn would Australia’s flag have had to change as it features the Union Flag?”
Many of the resulting flag proposals reference the Southern Cross constellation – which features on the current Australian flag – and the Australian Aboriginal flag.
Place says: “Most (apart from a few people) agreed that it was time to ditch the Union Jack. It didn’t feel representative to the majority, it didn’t represent a modern Australia.”