Last modified: 2018-06-08 by ian macdonald
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1:2, 5:9 | image by Zachary Harden, 10 May 2017
After discussions with Sri Lanka
based vexillologist and flag maker, Lalyn Fernando, I submit an updated image
of the Sri Lanka flag. These do reference the document "SLS 693-1985"
(referenced below by Martin Grieve). I have to agree that the
specifications are very strange because I had this very document from 2011; there is no
reference to the width of the green/saffron bars and the width of the dark
red area where the lion sits. Also, as for the colors, they reference
Munsell and CIE (in 1990 more colors were added for Munsell but I have not
seen anything official in the terms of Pantone or any other color system).
But also I noticed the sizes do not scale; for the image I did at
used 600x1200 (Flag size 5). If I scaled it down to 150x300 (Flag size 4),
nothing matches at all (41.25 actual length of the green and saffron bars
versus the 40 that SLS 693-1985 calls for).
Zachary Harden, 10 May 2017
The specifications, as mentioned above, do not scale and do not even match. The
first confusion is that Mr. Fernando makes the national flag using inches and
feet and the standard uses mm for all sizes. For the comparison between standard
and practice, I am going to use Size 7 (1800 x 900 mm) and the closest match he
used for a recent government tender (72" x 36"). For the green and saffron, they
are 245 mm long each and 756 wide (as mentioned, the standard does not give the
width of a lot of elements, so you will have to subtract the gold border, 72 mm,
from each side. After taking another 72 mm away from the length, you are
supposed to have a rectangle of 1080 mm that is reddish in color. At the end of
this reddish area, there is supposed to be a 72 mm area that is gold. Here is my
problem; once I place the reddish area even between the saffron to match the
hoist area (72:245:245:72:1080), there is 86 mm left over. According to the
standard, the area after the reddish color is supposed to match a, so 72, but
there is still 14 mm left. This is still more than the plus/minus 5 tolerance
that the standard allows for the flag design. There is a note regarding hem size
being 15 mm for this flag, but I will use another size that does not have a hem
and I will find the same issues. Back to the 72x36" flag, the size is more
faithful to the standard as, according to Mr. Fernando, is the 72" flag would 3
+ 11 +11 + 3 + 41+ 3 and the 3 is matching all around the top and bottom of the
flag. For a flag that does not have a hem standard, Size 1 (150x75 mm), a is 6
mm and the green and saffron is 20 mm each. After getting 6:20:20:6, you have a
90 mm reddish area, you have 8 mm left over and does not make the fly edge even
with the hoist edge. While the standard does give a tolerance of plus/minus 2,
so it is in the acceptable range allowed by the standard. As for the scaling,
once I took the 150x75 mm flag and turned into 200x100, the red and gold was
able to scale fine but the green and saffron went to 26.667 mm while the
standard calls for 27 mm. I wonder if this is a case of trying to use whole
numbers but as with the smaller flag, you still have the issue of the fly end
not being even with the hoist end, yet the tolerance is still followed.
Zachary Harden, 29 May 2018
image by Željko Heimer
The lion is
heavily based on the Corel Clipart of the national coat
of arms (where the lion is the central device). Otherwise the flag
dimensions etc. are based on Album des Pavillons
(2000) (where all images are
"shorter" than designated in writing; I followed text). Colours are also based on
the Album's Pantone approximations: dark red 184c, red
206c, orange 151c, yellow 116c, green 356c. If I am not much mistaken, the dark red
above is used in the national
flag while red (which is still different from the standard red) is used in
the naval rank flags.
The construction details are given in Album des Pavillons, measuring the
rectangular panels and yellow borders, hoistwise to lengthwise
Željko Heimer, 22 January 2003
image by Martin Grieve, 15 September 2006
Christopher Southworth was in possession of the official dimensions of this
flag from "Specifications for the National Flag of Sri Lanka" issued by the Sri
Lanka Standards institution, Colombo,1985. He had obtained this information via
the late William G. Crampton, whose name will be familiar to a very great many
Vexillological enthusiasts. I altered my original drawing to suit the figures
that Chris gave to me, and must say that the first thing about them I did not
like were the overall proportion: 75x150.1! As we can see, the Lion is a great
deal bigger than the version illustrated in Album des Pavillons 2000, and the
width of the vertical yellow borders is slightly thinner than the width of the 2
horizontal ones. An ugly state of affairs indeed, in my opinion.
It is not entirely impossible that these specifications have been revised since 1985, but for posterity, here is my version based on the official figures given at that time, and maintaining the same RGB values as shown above.
Martin Grieve, 15 September 2006
5:9 image by Željko Heimer
A note to the image in Album des Pavillons
(2000) explains that the flag is also used in ratio 5:9. The construction details for this are not given, but I assumed that
all three fields (green, orange, red) are proportionally contracted. What's the use of this flag variation?
Željko Heimer, 22 January 2003
Looking at some Sri Lankan websites, I
have noticed that all flags (at least those I noticed) used locally use the normal medium red shade for the field behind the lion.
With this I mean the real flags flying on flagpoles and similar. Only
the flags drawn (possibly by non-residents) use the darker shade.
Obviously the shade of red is not "differentiated" here (i.e. it
"does not matter").
Željko Heimer, 23 January 2003
Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka was placed
before the Parliament on 3 August 2000.
The People, the State and Sovereignty
The National Flag of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be the Lion Flag depicted in the Third Schedule.
The Third Schedule shows an image of the flag.
Source: Vagnat & Poels (2000)
Ivan Sache, 23 January 2003
The 2000 draft Constitution was not adopted. Constitution of 1978 is still
M.H.M. Salman, 14 March 2006
The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags
and Anthems Manual London 2012) provides recommendations for national flag
designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for
their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm
version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the
official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC
believed the flag to be. For Sri Lanka: PMS 109 yellow, 361 green, 150 brown,
194 red and black. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90
Ian Sumner, 11 October 2012