Designing your own coat of arms – Conclusion

In this last post in the series on how to design your own coat of arms, we’ll try to bring everything together.

In all of the posts in the series, we saw how you can come up with ideas for the charges, tinctures and style of your coat of arms. You can draw from your ancestry, your familial symbols, family tradition, career and religion. Anything that defines you and your family can very well be a source of inspiration.

However, a very basic principle should be adhered to: the principle of KIS or Keep It Simple. Some may know it with an additional S for “Stupid” 🙂

Regardless of the number of Ss, the principle is to not make the shield overbearing and fall into the trap of lucky charms heraldry. In other words, you don’t have to include an allusion to everything that represents you, just enough to identify you.

Also, don’t forget the original purpose of heraldry: to identify a knight on the field of battle from a distance. If the arms are too complex and have too much on it, it becomes a bungled mess.

Grenville Diptych

Above is the Grenville Diptych displaying all the quarterings of the arms of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos. It contains all the information about the family but it’s a mess. A wonderful find for any lover of heraldry to try to identify all the arms depicted and the stories behind them but, as a shield on it’s own it’s too much.

Your arms are a place where you can express yourself, identify yourself, put your own personal touches but it is not a curriculum vitae or a family tree. Take the elements that you think fit best together, use the appropriate tinctures, follow the basic heraldic rules (tinctures, crests, etc) and you’re sure to come up with a very attractive coat of arms.

If all else fails, you can always reach out to any of the various heraldic artists out there, the various heraldry forums, or, if you want, me 🙂

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Start over: Introduction


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