Designers fly the flag for a free Scotland

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The Scottish referendum may see the end of the Union flag as we know it, but new representations of the St Andrews Saltire have added a light-hearted touch to the final throes of the campaign.

A number of prominent Scottish designers were invited to take part in a competition to create a flag design to replace the saltire should the country vote for independence on Thursday.

London-based design magazine Blueprint came up with the idea of sparking creative responses to the potential political shift.

“Whether it’s Yes or No we wanted to mark this momentous moment within the design community,” said Johnny Tucker, editor of Blueprint. “Not surprisingly, some designers were a little reticent, having one eye on client sensibilities, but we got an interesting mix of work from the passionate, through the clinical, to highly amusing.”

Some of the most eye-catching designs included a barbed wired flag in blue and white, entitled, ‘Keep oot,’ and a flag featuring a dotted line and a pair of scissors, entitled ‘Cut here’.

“We were trying to be apolitical, but also bring a bit of lightheartedness into this campaign,” said Callum Lumsden of Lumsden design agency, who designed the flags along with Geoff Nicol of On-three. “The ‘Keep oot’ flag (below) very much reflects how the Yes campaign want to rebuild Hadrian’s wall and keep everyone out, whilst graphically referencing the Saltire.”

Mr Tucker said the magazine had planned to mount a stand featuring the most impressive designs at one of the venues in the London Design Festival 2014, but were eventually deterred by the organisers because it was deemed too sensitive politically.

Kerr Vernon design agency came up with an inverted saltire in the form of a CND symbol, or upside down Y. “The flag works on several levels. It references the Yes campaign turfing out Trident. It’s turning things on it’s head, looking at things from a different perspective, Y is the next logical step to X and so on,” said Glasgow-based creative director, Kerr Vernon, a self-proclaimed Yes voter.

Glasgow-based design company Graphical house produced a flag with a reconfigured saltire.

“Our flag concept takes the existing graphic elements of the saltire and simply reconfigures them to suggest an optimistic and outward-looking nation”, said the designers.

Alex McCuaig, founder of MET design studios in London also based his design on the saltire. “The blue represents the saltire and two fingers dipped in blue paint and dragged across the face of the ancient Scottish warriors,” he said.

McCuaig’s flag also features the lion from the Royal Standard of Scotland to show “the continued link with the monarch after independence”.

In a rare intervention on Monday, the Queen urged Scots to “think very carefully” about the vote, while Buckingham Palace insisted she was constitutionally impartial.

Suisse design company produced a flag with an off-centre saltire.

“This historic mark is deeply rooted in our history. The blue is now ‘officially’ Pantone 300. Our proposal shifts the balance of the X to emphasise the forward movement of a country in transition.!

The Alex Salmond-as-Che Guevera flag was designed by Gerry Buxton of fashion and art label Plane clothing as a part of the competition launch.

A similar competition was launched by media and marketing magazine, The Drum, to come up with a design for a UK flag if Scotland does leave, with the winner due to be announced on Thursday.

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