Monday, December 30, 2013

Once Again ...

... I have found it to be true: "You can find heraldry everywhere!"

In this specific instance, I had taken my lunch time and left the office where I work to walk to a nearby shopping center to see if I could find a couple of Christmas gifts for some family members.  And on my way, I passed a new hamburger joint that had recently opened.  (The Hopdoddy Burger Bar if you must know.  I haven't tried their burgers yet, but I may have to before long.)  And on some large panels covering part of the building, interspersed with the name of the Burger Bar and with its logo were this arms-like logo:

By way of some explanation, though the location of this shopping center is a little north of downtown Dallas, it is not "in" Dallas, but in one of two "island" cities (so-called because they are completely surrounded by the City of Dallas) often referred to as the "Park Cities," Highland Park and University Park.

As a logo it is, I suppose, reasonably distinctive.  As heraldry, it has some problems.  I would blazon the "coat of arms" here as Quarterly, 1, Argent three bars Sable, 2 and 3, Argent plain, and 4, Argent three pallets Sable.  (The red banner with the words "Park Cities" is, in my opinion, external to the shield and thus not really a part of the arms.  Though I could, and I know of others who might, argue otherwise.)

In any case, I found this another example of being able to find heraldry, or heraldry-like depictions, everywhere, even while walking down the sidewalk on my way to someplace that had nothing to do with heraldry.  And how cool is that?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Oh, My!

 Just in time for Christmas!  The Gallo Family Vineyards of offering their free on-line "Crest Creator."  Now you, too, can go to their website and create - to download or to share - a "family crest" for your family.

Using a wide selection of shield shapes and backgrounds, charges of various types, and so on, you can design a "crest" for your own family,  complete with a motto (the limit on the template I selected is ten letters, including spaces and punctuation, hence the lack of an exclamation mark at the end) like the one I did here.
Pretty awful, huh?  (The flamingos are a long-running bit between my late father and a friend of his.  I just couldn't resist using them as supporters when the opportunity reared its ugly pink head.)

Still and all, it can be a fun little game to play around with.  And it's free.  And best of all, it's not really heraldry.

Feel free to drop by and spend a few moments taking this hobby a little less seriously than usual.  You can find the Gallo Family Vineyards' "Crest Creator" on-line at

Monday, December 23, 2013

New Heraldry in the News!

The town of Niagara-on-the-Lake has unveiled its new coat of arms recently, on the 200th anniversary of the razing of the town by American forces during the War of 1812.  (I remember, years ago - we won't discuss just how many years ago - driving through Canada on our way from Michigan to Massachusetts and seeing a brochure depicting the burning of a town - possibly this one - by American forces during the War of 1812, and noticed that the Americans portrayed in it seemed to be wild-eyed and all had sharpened pointy teeth!)

The arms, though too new to appear yet in the on-line Public Register of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, appear on the flag which was granted the town at the same time.

It is a beautifully simple coat of arms, and I have to commend both the town and the Canadian Heraldic Authority for the design.  (Though I know a few individuals who will probably quibble about the use of fimbriation outlining the bend to avoid the use of color on color.)

You can read more about the unveiling of the arms and flag by the Right Rev. Ralph Spence, Niagara Herald Extraordinary, as well as get a good idea of what the full achievement of arms looks like from the explanations of the various elements of it in the "Fact Box" with the article, on-line at the website of the Niagara Advance at

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Heraldic News on Facebook

Chief Herald of Canada Dr. Claire Boudreau posted this announcement on Facebook on Tuesday about the milestone reached by the Canadian Heraldic Authority:

As Chief Herald, I am delighted to announce that the entire Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada is now available online, with the launch of the first 200 pages of Volume VI, which were preceded this past summer by the earliest volumes of the Public Register. From now on, as the Register grows with time, its online version will be updated twice a year. To have the online Register up-to-date has been a long-term goal of the heralds, and it is fitting that this achievement has transpired during the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. I send my warmest congratulations to all who have made this possible.

You can access pages 2-200 of Volume VI at:

And, of course, the entire Public Register can be consulted from:

I think congratulations are in order for all of those who have worked so long and so hard to make this idea - that of a truly "public" heraldic register - become a reality.

Monday, December 16, 2013

They Paid How Much?

Well, it seems to me that I am definitely in the wrong business.  I mean, I enjoy what I do and all with heraldry, but it doesn't really even begin to cover what my heraldry books alone cost me.  So when I read this story that a reader of this blog had forwarded to me, I immediately came to the conclusion that I'm not doing it right, or at least not as remuneratively as I could.

It seems that the University of New Hampshire, like so many other educational institutions these days, decided that they needed a new logo with which to brand themselves.  Gotta keep up with the times, don't you know?  And, like to many other educational institutions, apparently they wanted something that reminded them of heraldry.

But instead of talking to anyone who knew about heraldry (and the American College of Heraldry, as only one example, still only charges $325 to help design and register - with the American College of Healdry - a coat of arms), they instead decided to go to a New York City design firm to get their new logo.  And they ended up with this.

And what did they pay for this logo?  US$65,000.00.

So, as I say, I seem to be in the wrong business.  I would have been happy to design them something more appropriately heraldic for a couple of thousand dollars, and would have considered myself more than justly compensated for the trouble.  But, really, $65,000?  Wow.  Just, wow.

And, of course, not everyone is happy that it's on a shield shape.  Allison Wood, a sophomore at UNH, is quoted as saying that, "I don't know why they went with a shield. It's got an older look to it."  And Jess Snowdon, another sophomore, said: "It looks a little old-fashioned."  Maybe the University should consider a freshman course in "The Timelessness of Heraldry and Heraldic Design" or something similar, because their sophomores don't seem to understand the difference between classic design and something that is "old-fashioned."  (Or maybe it's me that's old-fashioned.  No, that couldn't be it.  At all.)

Anyway, if you'd like to read the article, it is quoted in part on the blog College Insurrection at or can be read in its entirety on the website of the New Hampshire Union Leader at

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Another On-Line Armorial

Someone on one of the heraldic forums I occasionally lurk in pointed out an on-line armorial that I hadn't seen before.  It is the Heraldic Register of the Vlaamse Heraldische Raad (Flemish Heraldry Council).  (This is their coat of arms here.)

The Register is a searchable one consisting of 41 pages of registrations, illustrated and with blazons (in Flemish).

The blazons have some features not always found in English armorials. Each one stipulates the pattern of the helmet (if there is one), including the color of the lining; the color of the strap by which the shield hangs from the helmet; and the tinctures of the motto scroll and the lettering on it.  

I've added this site to the list of On-Line Armorials in the left-hand column of this blog under the name "Heraldic Register of the Vlaamse Heraldische Raad", or you can visit it now by clicking on this link:


Monday, December 9, 2013

Once Again, Finding Heraldry Everywhere!

Once again, I have found some more heraldry without even trying to look for it.

In this specific instance, it was on the letterhead of a letter which was mailed to one of the attorneys at the law firm I work for (hey, I've got to support my heraldic book habit somehow!) and, naturally enough, it caught my eye.

This is the "coat of arms" at the top of the letterhead of the Dallas, Texas law firm of Shamoun & Norman, LLP.  They also have it with their name surrounding it.  And, of course, it can also be found used on their website.

I'm not really sure why the bear.  I mean, they also use a picture of a bear on their website ( ...

... but they also have photos of a flying eagle and a stag ("at gaze," as we would blazon it), so I guess I'm not really sure what message they're trying to send by using the bear passant on their shield logo.  I've never really associated a bear with being a guardian (except a mother bear watching over her cubs).

For those of you wondering about the "LLP" in their name and on the shield, “LLP” is lawyer-speak for “Limited Liability Partnership.”  The Free Dictionary (on-line) defines an LLP as “The Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is essentially a general partnership in form, with one important difference. Unlike a general partnership, in which individual partners are liable for the partnership's debts and obligations, an LLP provides each of its individual partners protection against personal liability for certain partnership liabilities.”  So basically it's a lot like being a corporation (in limiting the liability of the owners) without having all the paperwork and associated fees to register as a corporation.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fun With Heraldry

It's always interesting to see people having some fun with heraldry.  I had run across an article a little while ago about Swatch CEO Nick Hayek and his vision for Swiss manufacturing.  (Basically, he'd like for commercial items to have at least 60% of the their parts and construction to be in Switzerland before having a "Made in Switzerland" label stamped on them.  "We show that Swiss Made has a value," Hayek says.  Not the most gripping of news stories, I know.)

But accompanying the Annual Report on which the article was based, and included in the article itself, were some humorous versions of the arms of the Swiss cantons.  For example, here's the one for Bern:

Which is, of course, a humorous take-off on the actual arms of Bern (just left of center in this postcard):

Or as shown in this, also humorous but in a different way, version from another old postcard:

I can't reproduce all of the arms here, but you can certainly go see them for yourself over at the website, at

If you enjoy heraldic humor, you'll find them well worth the look!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Flag in the News

Or maybe it isn't news so much as it is a statement of the status quo.

In this case, it was a notice in an article about the push in Scotland for its independence from the rest of Great Britain, and what would happen to the Union Flag* in that case.

And the College of Arms in London has said that "there are no plans to change the Union Flag if Scotland becomes an independent state."

So there you have it, the word, officially, from the arbiters of heraldry in the United Kingdom.  If Scotland chooses to secede from the Union, the Union Flag remains unchanged.

The article about this particular piece of vexillological information can be found on-line at the website of ITV at

* Yes, I know it is commonly referred to as the "Union Jack," but that may be a misnomer, as the term "jack" is generally limited to naval usage.  Yes, the Admiralty has said in a 1902 circular that "Their Lordships had decided that either name [Union Flag or Union Jack] could be used officially."  (Wikepedia, cf. "Union Jack")  Nevertheless, the term "Union Flag" is what was used in King Charles's 1634 proclamation, and you'd think that he would know better than anyone what it should be called.