Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Heraldic-Like Logo

It shouldn’t, I suppose – I mean, I’ve lived in the United States all my life, and I’ve seen it happen over and over (and over, and over, and over) again – but it continues to surprise me that people and institutions create logos for themselves to help establish their “brand” that appropriate, or misappropriate, many of the elements of heraldry, of a coat of arms and sometimes even a crest, but which end up looking nothing like heraldry.

A case in point is the city of Westchester, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where we stayed for a couple of days this past summer while we were there to give a presentation to the Illinois St. Andrew Society. (They are a truly wonderful group of people, and if you are ever in the Chicago area I urge you to see what activities they might be having while you’re there.)

As you can see, Westchester has adopted (and placed on banners along a number of major streets through the city) a logo which appropriates elements of an achievement of arms – a shield, a helmet, and even a motto scroll – but put them together in a way that cannot be considered to be heraldry except in the very broadest sense of the term. The helm issues from the motto scroll (instead of sitting atop the shield, or even being a charge upon the shield), which itself is placed across the center of the shield.

I’m not at all sure what the design of the shield underlying the helm and scroll (and date of founding) is supposed to be. It looks a little like Per chevron checky argent and vert, and argent, but the green line around the whole thing is plain on the bottom portion of the shield and embattled on the inner edge of the upper portion (I know it's hard to see against the checky field(, the whole surrounded with a bordure per bordure argent and azure, overall a mount issuant from base azure.

It’s a shame, really. With just a little bit of tweaking, it could be turned into something like real coat of arms. As it stands, it’s just a mish-mash of heraldic elements thrown together to create a design that is kind of heraldic, but which isn’t heraldry.

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