A microscopic piece of heraldry necessarily stands condemned, because it merely pretends to hint that the owner thinks himself a person of distinction, instead of performing the true function of enabling the casual observer to identify the owner. Monograms and unostentatious heraldry are therefor the badge of the parvenu, and such heraldry is usually bogus. Genuine arms are almost always displayed boldly and beautifully at every possible opportunity, indoors and out. --
Thomas Innes of Learney, Scots Heraldry, pp. 161-162
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
I ran across a recent discussion about the coat of arms of Jan van Abbenbroek in The Netherlands, which appear in an old armorial, the Wape...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Monday, June 24, 2013
Just Because ...
... something is placed on an escutcheon, a shield shape, that does not necessarily mean that it is, or is trying to be, heraldry. Case in point ....
This particular design was being discussed a week ago over on the SCA Heralds newsgroup. It is the logo of Ashford University of Clinton, Iowa (http://www.ashford.edu/). Some folks went so far as to try and blazon it; the most successful attempt was Purpure, a "bend" argent, overall a bend sinister counterchanged tenne and Or and a base counterchanged azure and purpure.
But is the ability to create a blazon for a design like this mean that it is, is trying to be, or should be considered to be, heraldry? I don't think so. Steve Mesnick, posting on June 13, 2013, said as well as, if a bit more emphatically than, I would:
"It happens to be vaguely escutcheon-shaped, because I imagine it's INSPIRED by traditional educational-institution heraldry. I WILL grant you that. But it's NOT their coat of arms, and it's not TRYING to be. The fact that WE want it to be their coat of arms is OUR problem, not theirs."
So, yes, it's on a shield shape. But it isn't, and doesn't seem to be trying to be, a coat of arms. As a corporate logo, it's eye-catching, distinctive, and unique. All good qualities for a modern logo. And it may, indeed, be trying with the shield shape to tie itself into a long tradition of educational heraldry. But ...
Just because it's on a shield shape doesn't mean that it is heraldry.