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Colours of the flag (Sweden)

Last modified: 2003-12-05 by phil nelson
Keywords: sweden | colour |
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[True Colour Flag of Sweden] by Edward Mooney, Jr.,

See also:

Colours of the Flag

I have found a CMYK-color representation of the colors in the Swedish flag in the book Svenska Flaggan by Jan von Konow:
Blue: 10% Yellow, 50% Magenta, 100% Cyan
Yellow: 100% Yellow, 20% Magenta

When I used that settings in Corel PhotoPaint and translated them into RGB colors it went:
Blue: 0,127,229
Yellow: 255,204,0
Erik Göthe, 2 December 1997

Sweden's PMS matches recommended by the National Archives:
-Blue: 301C or U
-Yellow: 116C or 109U
Jan Oskar Engene, 1998

In the Act on the Swedish Flag of 1982, the colours are stated to be "ljust mellanblå" (light middleblue) and "guldgult" (golden yellow). The above stated CMYK-colours are recommendations.
Elias Granqvist, 13 August 1999

In the Act (1982:269) on the Flag of Sweden, the colours are specified to be "ljust mellanblå" (light middleblue) and "guldgult" (golden yellow). This does not give that much guidance, but the colours are specified further in Ordinance (1983:826) with Guidelines for the Colour Shades in the Flag of Sweden.

I quote this ordinance fully here. I suppose, that even if you can't read Swedish, you will be able to see how the shades are specified:

Förordning (1983:826) med riktlinjer för färgnyanserna i Sveriges flagga

Den svenska flaggans färger, som enligt 3 § lagen (1982:269) om Sveriges flagga är ljust mellanblå på fälten och guldgul på korset, definieras på följande sätt enligt de beteckningar (Natural Colour System, NCS) som används i Svensk Standard SS 019100

den blå färgen 4055-R95B
den gula färgen 0580-Y10R.

Toleranserna i NCS-enheter skall för svarthet, för kulörthet och för kulörton vara mindre än k5 enheter.

Enligt de beteckningar (Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage, CIE) som används i Svensk Standard SS 019101 skall flaggans färger ha följande kromaticitetskoordinater, x och y, och ljusreflektansfaktorer, Y

den blå färgen       x = 0,189
      y = 0,192
     Y = 8,3

den gula färgen     x = 0,472
    y = 0,465
   Y = 64,4."

To quote from the site of the National Arcive,, this is:

Blå: NCS 4055-R95B
PMS 301 C eller U (bestruket och obestruket papper)
EC 10 % gul, 50% magenta, 100% cyan (Ec.15X0)

Gul: NCS 0580-Y10R
PMS 116 C (bestruket) och 109 U (obestruket papper)
EC 100 % gul, 20% magenta (Ec.X200)

NCS = Natural Colour System.
PMS = Pantone Matching System.
EC = Eurocolor (4-färgstryck).

Elias Granqvist, 10 February 2001

Colours of the Flag in History

Before the act of law on the Swedish flags, there were, as far as I know, acctually no regulations on what colours the flag should have. It should only be blue and yellow. In the 19th Century the colours were usually darker (the yellow could be almost orange) than they have been since 1906 (when the present colour shades were decided in the act of law), but before that (in the 17th Century) it is supposed that the Swedish flag had colour shades more like the present ones – and that was the reason those shades of the colours were decided to be the real ones.

Acctually, one can't say for sure what colour shades the flag usually had so long back. All colours on flags tend to fade or change over time.

The proportions of the flag were also set in the act of 1906, and just as the colour shades they are the same in the present act, which is of 1982.
Elias Granqvist, 15 August 2000

I feel Elias nicely summed up the situation: Prior to the 1906 flag law, there was no uniformity to the colours – they changed with taste. And this taste favoured a rather dark blue from the early 1800's until the end of the century. The introduction of the union badge in 1844, which included the very dark blue of Norway, probably only reinforced the position of the dark blue, or else the Swedish flag would have two shades of blue. The turning point in favour of lighter blue was the Stockholm exhibition of 1897. Before the early 1800's, the blue might have been a lighter shade, as far as I understand. Anyway, before 1906 we cannot really talk about "correct" or "official" shades, only say what was common or not common.
Jan Oskar Engene, 15 August 2000

The blue colour for the flags was decided in the 19th century and swatches of the official colour were sealed and placed in the national archives. Unfortunately most dyes used in Europe at the time were imported from the east, mainly from Japan. While most of them were excellent, the blue was unstable and tended to fade. As the samples were sealed and not exposed much to the light, this process was slowed, but not stopped completely. The result was that the blue on the Swedish flag gradually became lighter and lighter until it was realised what had happened. At that time (as I recall sometime in the 1950's) the colour was reconsidered and this time spectrographically defined. Since then, the Swedish flag colour has been consistent.
Michael Faul, 5 October 2001