The alphabet is one set of arbitrary symbols. The figures of heraldry are another set of arbitrary symbols. In the fourteenth century every gentleman knew one: in the twentieth century every gentleman knows the other. The first gentleman was just precisely as ignorant for not knowing that c-a-t spells "cat," as the second gentleman is for not knowing that a St. Andrew's Cross is called a cross saltire, or that vert on gules is bad heraldry. -- G.K. Chesterson
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.
This is what happens when an heraldic artist has never seen anything more than a very rough description of an heraldic beast when painting ...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Some School Heraldry in Las Vegas
While we were in Las Vegas, taking care of some business for my mother, we found the following bit of heraldry at an intersection.
Challenger School (well, there's three of them in the Vegas area (and 22 others through five western states), so maybe it would be more accurate to say Challenger Schools) caters to pre-school, kindergarten, elementary and middle school (what we used to call "junior high" back in the olden days when I was growing up) students.
They're really proud of their curriculum, as you can tell from their logo: a coat of arms-like device with an painter's palette and treble clef in the first quarter; an open book and pair of compasses in the second; a globe of the earth in the third; and a microscope and a laboratory beaker in the fourth. The motto scroll says "Scientia * Opus * Virtus"
Once again, this is the sort of thing that you get when you let a committee (one with little or no experience with heraldry) design your logo; what I have come to call the "kitchen sink" school of heraldry, one where they try to throw in everything about themselves, including the kitchen sink.
So, yeah, it's a little bit like heraldry, but totally misses some of the basics of real heraldry: simplicity, good contrast, quick and easy identifiability. (I like the rule of thumb suggested by former State Herald of South Africa Frederick Brownell. He said to take a design and shrink it to the size of a postage stamp. If it's still identifiable, it stands a good chance of being decent heraldry. If it's not particularly identifiable when shrunk to that size, well, it needs some simplification.)
Once again, here we have a case of, well, yeah, it's nice that they're trying to use something like heraldry for their logo, but the result is a bit less than satisfying.