Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dissecting A Coat of Arms Achievement

Here's a breakdown of the parts of a coat of arms achievement. I've labeled the significant pieces so you'll know the vocabulary. At first glance, it looks complicated but it really isn't. And the beauty of creating your own coat of arms is that you don't need all of these pieces. You can choose which ones you want to add and which ones you don't want to bother with. As a matter of fact, I've chosen to omit from this diagram the option of supporters... which are typically animals that stand on each side of the shield/mantle section and appear to be holding it up. You can see an example of that here on the State of Michigan flag.

There are no hard and fast rules to apply when making your coat of arms. I've seen some with the motto at the top and others with the motto at the bottom. But most that I've seen don't include a motto at all. It seems that the main parts that all coat of arms seem to have are the shield with a charger (charger in this case just means a design element(s)), and a helmet of some sort. Those are the basic/common elements around which the rest are added.

Notice the "crest"? It's the animal head coming out of the top of the crown (in this case a horse's head). In the previous post I mentioned that I'd get back to the subject of "crests". This is where you get to see what a crest actually is. It's just one segment of the full achievement.

This particular example of a coat of arms is very traditional and recognizable for what it is. But there's no reason you couldn't create something very contemporary if that's what floats your boat. After all, we're talking about Creative Genealogy here!

Coming up next: Create a Coat of Arms: Design Ideas

Previous posts on this topic:
Why You Need To Design a Coat of Arms for Your Family

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