“What is it that induceth you, what stirs you up to believe, or who told you that white signifieth faith, and blue constancy? An old paltry book, say you, sold by the hawking pedlars and balladmongers, entitled The Blason of Colours. Who made it? Whoever it was, he was wise in that he did not set his name to it. But, besides, I know not what I should rather admire in him, his presumption or his s...ottishness. His presumption and overweening, for that he should without reason, without cause, or without any appearance of truth, have dared to prescribe, by his private authority, what things should be denotated and signified by the colour: which is the custom of tyrants, who will have their will to bear sway in stead of equity, and not of the wise and learned, who with the evidence of reason satisfy their readers. His sottishness and want of spirit, in that he thought that, without any other demonstration or sufficient argument, the world would be pleased to make his blockish and ridiculous impositions the rule of their devices.” - Rabelais
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't design and 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. (You can find some of my books about heraldry and a list of my articles and presentations about heraldry at "Our Website" below.) 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 ask or let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
In a recent (April 9, 2013) news article, kentnews.co.uk noted the display in the Natural History Museum in London of the first substantiall...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Monday, April 14, 2014
I Really Don't Think I Understand
No, really, I don't think I understand the reasoning. If a logo is not the least bit heraldic, then why place it on a shield shape? What can the motivation for that be? It's not like the standard heater shield shape is at all intuitive, not like a square, or a rectangle, circle, or oval is. And yet, I regularly see non-heraldic logos placed on shields.
The example that got me to thinking about this anomaly was on a business card that I picked up several years ago while attending a conference on heraldry in North Carolina. As an adjunct to that conference, those attendees who wished had the opportunity to visit the rare books collection at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Since I'm never one to pass up the opportunity to peruse old books, I went along. But while there, my eye was caught by the UNC Greensboro logo on the business cards there.
And here's a sharper version from the University's website:
See what I mean? I find myself regularly drawn to shield shapes, since I'm always on the lookout for heraldry and its use in the United States today and in the past. But this isn't heraldry, is it? Yes, it's on a shield shape, but that is its only relationship to a coat of arms.
The colors of the logo are the school colors: gold, white, and navy blue. The date, 1891, refers to the school's establishment (at that time, as the State Normal and Industrial School. It's had several name changes since then). The primary figure I first took to be Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, but it may simply be a representation of "Spiro, the Spartan," the student body there being the Spartans. (As was the student body at my old college, Michigan State University. But our colors were green and white.) The figure being female, it may also refer back to the university's founding as a women's college.
But for all of that, it's not heraldry. So why is it on a shield? (And its not even an old Greek shield, or a roundel, which would at least keep the theme of "Spartans" going. But a heater shield? Not so much.) To steal a line from the movie Shakespeare In Love, "It's a mystery."