10. Bhutan: A simple yet unique color scheme that features Druk the Thunder Dragon, badass national symbol of Bhutan. Normally I would complain about the complexity of the dragon (flags should be simple), but the fact that it's only in black and white and the way it goes along the diagonal line in the flag makes for a great design.
9. South Africa: After apartheid ended in 1994, South Africa replaced its old flag with this new one to reflect its title of the "Rainbow Nation." The red, white, and blue horizontal stripes still evoke the country's Dutch history, but with an injection of green, gold, and black, colors of Africa. NAVA principles dictate you shouldn't use more than three colors in a flag, but it is very well executed here.
8. Uganda: This is another flag with a unique color scheme. There is no traditional green, but the black / yellow / orange combination still looks distinctly African while at the same time setting this flag apart. Six uninterrupted horizontal stripes is fairly rare among flags, and the Grey Crowned Crane in the middle matches the rest of the design.
7. Angola: This is about an evil (in a 007 sort of way) a flag as you can get. The devious shades of red and black, combined with the gold emblem of a gear, a star, and a machete, add up to "Diabolical Soviets from a Bond film." But it's very distinctive. In 2003, a new, more optimistic flag was proposed, but it was never adopted. Because deep down, they all know this flag is great.
6. Algeria: This is a classic design. The green and white look distinctly North African, and the star & crescent represent Islam (duh). It's very expressive while retaining its simplicity. The Algerian flag's magnificence first really hit me this summer during the World Cup, since they were the team against whom Landon Donovan scored his wondrous stoppage time game-winner. Their fans had such great flags!
5. Dominican Republic: The alternating blue and red quadrants on the white cross are what get me. Although I love this flag, there's something creepily "meta" about it. The crest in the middle of the Dominican flag consists of... Dominican flags. It's like one of those pictures-of-picture-of-a-picture infinite loop images.
4. Brazil: The circle on a rhombus on a rectangle design works great here, and Brazil's colors of green, yellow, and blue work well together. There's a lot of intricacy in the blue circle, depicting Southern Hemisphere constellations, but it still works as a simple whole--if you squint your eyes and look at it, you can still tell it's the Brazilian flag. It's hard to implement green as the most prominent color on a flag, but this one pulls it off.
3. Barbados: For such a small country, this is an epic flag. It's only got a few elements of design, but it's very bold. The shade of gold used here is A+, and the "broken trident" taken from the image of Britannia both works in Barbados' British heritage while at the same time showing its connection to the ocean. Dark blue and black usually don't work well together on a flag, but the gold that separates them makes it cohesive. The Barbados flag makes me think of this next one...
2. Canada: This flag. Simple and powerful, the maple leaf design is synonymous with the country. On top of that, if you look at the white negative space created by the leaf, you can see two men looking at each other, often cited to reference the dual cultures of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. In addition, the flag is a slightly disproportionate 1:2, meaning it's longer and slimmer. This makes it stand out among other national flags.
1. Uruguay: The Uruguayan flag is righteous. The white field with blue stripes is unusual in a good way, and it works well to make it "white with blue" and not "blue with white" The kicker is the canton: the sun. It's a sun with a face. The Sun of May, to be exact. It shows Uruguay's history while at the same time giving a friendly face to the nation. I want to be friends with this sun. It's as if the sun is hanging out on the beach, with a white-and-blue striped beach towel. I love it.