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Pennant Designs and Stickers

by Anthony Sava, 15 VI 2004

Tired of your army looking like same old same old? Need some way to quickly distinguish your army from the enemy? Why not use custom pennants, ask me how!

Discuss this article!



Historically, the flag has been a very important symbol. To an illiterate medieval public, pictures were essential for communication, and carrying those pictures high on a banner was a powerful tool. Upon it you could carry your king's or your family's crest, the color or pattern of your loyalty, and it was an excellent way of telling who you were. Your LEGO army might have a need for a custom pennant or two to show just who they are. LEGO created many different flag designs, but never on their 4x1 'pennant' style flags. Fortunately I've corrected that error. You will find in this article many different templates and designs that will allow you to add your own personal touch to your army's banners.

All the images that are found in this article that depict official LEGO designs are copyrighted by LEGO. However, these images were all created by me, and not simple scans. If any LEGO employee or representative wishes to contact me about the legality of these images, please contact me at sava at ikros dot net.

So where do you start in making a custom pennant? Why, with a template, of course!

TEMPLATES

The first thing you'll need before you start creating a pennant design is a template. After all, there's not much sense in creating a sticker if it won't fit on the flag.


That wavy flag sure is hard to guage. I mean, it's going all over the place! How can you put a sticker on THAT? Take another look. That flag is the same height the whole way down. That's right, it's really just a fancy, wavy rectangle. A fancy wavy rectangle that's exactly 0.75 centimeters tall.

Why is that important? Because it gives us a reference point to use when printing out stickers!

So we have a reference point. Now we need a template. To create a template, all we need is a rectangle of the right height and a fancy end. Remember, we're not trying to cover up the entire flag, but rather just add to it. Also take into consideration that little extention of the flag's base, which will require a small divit to be taken out of our design.

However, those of you reading this article don't even have to go that far. Below are 24, yes, 24 templates to choose from. Just click on the image for the full size.


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These templates are big, yes. But that is so you can have a really nice, large image to be shrunk down with a high level of detail when printed.

These templates have been designed to be printed out at 500 dpi. At this resolution, the images will print out at exactly .75 cm tall. Pretty nifty, huh?

HOWEVER - I added a small empty border around the images so that a white image could have a small border around it to distinguish it from the rest of the paper on which it is printed. Because of this the documents are all set up to be .76 cm tall, including all designs discussed later in this article. Keep this in mind when printing.

IMAGES

Fill you design with whatever suits your fancy. Traditionally, flags and banners often had geometrical designs mixed with illustrations of animals or objects. Just find something you like from off the web, out of one of my other articles, or just go nuts and draw one up yourself!

PRINTING

First, you are going to need a printer capable of printing color (typically) and printing at high resolutions (300-500+). The higher the resolution your printer can print, the more crisp and detailed your stickers are going to be. Of course, once you've exceeded the resolution of your original image, you're not going to see much difference between printers.

You'll need to make sure you can print out the images at the right size. Print a test image of your flag. Did it come out at the right size? If it didn't, you'll want to either change your printing resolution (this is probably in the printing options of the image program you're using) or change the size of the image itself.

If you do not have high powered software that is capable of printing out the image at the right size as is, don't fret! Here's what you will need to know:

In order to print an image at .76 cm tall, an image at:
  • 500 dpi needs to be 150 pixels tall
  • 300 dpi needs to be 90 pixels wide
  • 100 dpi needs to be 30 pixels wide
  • 75 dpi needs to be 22 pixels wide
The default of programs vary, so you'll need to figure out what you have if it cannot changed.

If you have Microsoft Word (or comparable high powered word processor), you can print out the images, too, though your results may not be perfect.
  • First, Microsoft Word prints out shrunken images better when they're in Bitmap form, but you can still print out Jpegs, too. It is suggested, however, that you convert to a Bitmap first, if you can.
  • Second, in MSWord change the default settings in measurments to metric if they're not already set that way.
  • Third, make your flag height .76 cm and print. You may have to adjust the size a tiny bit here or there.
Once you can print out your flag design at the right size, there are only one other thing that stands in your way.

You are going to need paper. Not just any paper will do, of course. You're going to need, of course, paper compatible with your printer.

Typically people who create stickers use one of two methods.

The first method is to print out their images on non glossy paper and cover the images with clear tape. This adds a shine to and protects the image, but also stiffens it.

However, if cost is no object to you, then going with a glossy paper is better. Photo paper is perhaps overkill, but only the best for your troops, right?

Of course, adhering your sticker to your flag is another hurdle. You can either glue or adhere your sticker using any sort of glue or tape, or you can use sticker paper. Sticker paper is probably best, and much less messy (and of course costs more).

Of course, most people, when printing out stickers, create a large file of many images to print out with. This way they get the most for their money.

TIPS

Remember that when creating flag stickers, your goal is not to entirely cover the flag, but rather just add to it. So the color of your flag and the color of your sticker does matter. Here are a few tips on choosing what's right for you:
  • Don't pick the same color sticker as the flag you intend to put it on, that's just silly.
  • Most colors work well together, such as blue on yellow, yellow on green. Have fun with it.
  • When choosing to use a faction design, try to match the faction's original color scheme. The Black Falcons, for example, used blue and yellow as their colors (and white and black). The Crusaders were very fond of Red and Yellow. Try to stick to those color flags and sticker combinations.



LEGO PENNANT DESIGNS

Click on any image to view the larger version.

Plain and simple. These designs are simply plain and simple. All one color, no frills, no fuss.


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The Two Tones. These designs take it one step further by adding one more color.


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Chess Anyone? These designs make a geometric twist on the two-toned idea. Below are featured both Checkered and Lozenge designs.


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X Marks the Spot. How about adding a Cross, Saltire or a Gyronny to your flag?.


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Fabulous Faction Flags. Of course one of the most common identifiers on a flag is an image. Why not add a traditional LEGO faction to yours?


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Turning The World On It's Ear. Not all pennants flew horizontal, banners were also very popular. Note: when printing these designs are now .76 cm wide instead of tall.


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Feel free to use any of these images as you wish. They are free to download and to use for personal, non-commercial use only. However, if the situation arises, please give me my due credit. These flags were a lot of work.

Don't see a design you want? Well now's your chance to make it yourself! Just download the template, find a good picture and start drawing!

--Anthony Sava
all comments and criticisms can be directed to the author at sava at ikros dot net.

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