country flags have different sizes

Andriy Rysin arysin at
Tue Mar 7 17:30:58 GMT 2006

Andy Fawcett wrote:

>On Monday 06 March 2006 04:40, Andriy Rysin wrote:
>>I've posted this question once several years ago and I don't believe
>>I saw an answer so I'll try again :)
>>Currently we have 228 country flags:
>>- 135 of them are 21x14
>>- 38 of them are 21x10
>>- a lot of others are in other sizes
>>Also some of the flags are just smaller png (like "yu") and some of
>>them have smaller flag padded by gray color in png (like "si").
>>I know there are some flags that have different aspect than others
>>but I still believe some unification is still needed.
>>We might want to bring most of them to 3x2 aspect (i.e. 21x14) and
>>remove gray padding to be consistent.
>>Currently I have 2 problems with that in kxkb:
>>1) the flags look different in the list :)
>>2) the layout label height sometimes does not fit into the flag area
>>(currently "yu" with flag will look like "vu"), so to fix that I'd
>>have to create Pixmap larger than the flag and bitblt flag there and
>>only after than draw the text. But I'd prefer to fix flag sizes
>>rather than making workaround.
>To quote directly:
>Which One to Use?
>Although there is no absolute rule, the basic guidelines mentioned above 
>are a good starting point: When many flags are displayed together, use 
>a uniform (3:5) size ratio. When displaying a single flag, use the 
>Official sized version.
>As I understand it, you just want to display a single flag at a time, so 
>the guideline would seem to be to use one with the official 
>Also, changing the aspect would lead to some weird displays. For 
>example, the official dimensions for the Union Flag (United Kingdom) is 
>2:1 but Switzerland is 1:1. Qatar on the other hand is a massive 28:11 
>ratio. This seems to be a case of "one size does not fit all".
> is also a 
>useful page when it comes to the dimensions.
>I seem to recall that some flags are legally only permitted for use when 
>displayed with the exact specification, but I might be misremembering 
Here's another link I've found regarding flag sizes:
It seems like this issue is a bit more complicated than I thought. So 
for 3.5.2 I'll try to adjust kxkb to work around the problems I have. 
For future versions here are my points:
1) remove transparent padding in flags (like hr, cz, dk, fr, it, nl, pt, 
sk, gb etc)
2) update old flags with new (like tm, tv, rw, km etc...)
3) fix flag sizes/aspects if we have to
4) decide if we want to have one set for 2:3 (or 3:5) "standard" sizes 
and another set for official sizes
5) I believe it does not make much sense to follow official sizes 
_strictly_ in icons smaller than ~20x20 no matter wether we show it 
separate or with other flags. As the aspect is not that noticable there 
and it's really hard to put details if e.g. height get too small (e.g. 
for Qatar if w=21 then h=8 pixels). Of course "standard" small sizes 
don't have to be exaclty the same as it makes sense if CH flag is always 
more square than Qatar.
6) may be we should use svg flags from
the question would be how much manual adjustment we'd need if we convert 
svg to small icons (<= 21x21)


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