Design & Education

Type of Heraldry

Type & Info Design / Project #2


Select a topic (person, place, product, event and so on) you’re interested in, and thoroughly research it. List top 10 - 15 integral data (facts, information, attributes) that make up the topic. Then, create visual signs (icons, indexes and symbols) to represent each data. Then, design a heraldry that represents the topic.



Step 1. Debriefing

Define design problem. Expand your horizon using mind map. 

Step 2. Research / Organize Your Research

Select a topic you're interested. It could be a person, place, event, issue and so on. Thoroughly research it. 

Analyze and organize information about the topic. You may define it in keywords or sentences. You may write an essay about it, or put keywords in order, like a mathematical formula. 

Research visual signs, typography and visual styles that may represent it some way. 

Step 3. Ideation & Brainstorming

List top 10 essential attributes of your topic, and create visual signs (icons, indexes and symbol) for each one. 

Consider if there is a sign that represent more than one of the attributes, and/or if you can combine two signs (attributes) into one. 

Also you may apply certain visual style that represents the topic. For example, you may create bit-mapped icons and heraldry design if your topic relates to 8-bit video game.

Sketch three ideas and discuss your idea in a small group setting, get feedback and revise your sketches.

Step 4. Development

Select one idea, and finalize the design. Create three applications.



Week 1 (Feb. 8): Briefing and discussion

Week 2 (Feb. 15): Present your research in a small group setting. Get feedback, research more if necessary, and revise your idea sketches. 

Week 3 (Feb. 22): Present your topic and signs that represent the integral data that make up the topic. Also, present three design sketches.

Week 4 (March 1): Present final design and applications. Class Critique.

You will continue revising your design until the end of the semester. 




Visual Research: An Introduction to Research Methods in Graphic Design
Page 59 to 87

This Means This, This Means That: A User's Guide to Semiotics
Page 21 to 48

Supplemental (Recommended) Reading

Marks of Excellence: The History and Taxonomy of Trademarks
Page 8 to 41

Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming
Page 88 to 89



Heraldry (Coat of Arms)

Today, the word 'heraldry' has two meanings; it refers to both armorial signs themselves as well as to their study and design. The term originates from ars heraldica, the art of the herald. The herald was an official at medieval tournaments of arms who was responsible for the identification of fighting knights. He would scrutinize the insignia of prospective combatants and announce their identity to the spectators. As the knights were often covered by armour, heraldic marks on shield, dress, helmet and horse helped to identify combatants.

Today, heraldic mark in the shape of shield is generally called a coat of arms (or just arms) after the surcoat with armorial bearings worn by a knights. Sometimes the term crest is used in its place and attributed with the same meaning. In medieval times, the crest was the identifying mark of a knight's helmet.

From individuals and families, coats of arms have been adopted by towns, regions and countries and today most places in the Western world can claim their own. These are sometimes, in their turn, incorporated into the trademarks of companies, showing their place of origin. Other companies have adopted basic heraldic elements, such as shields, helmets and crowns, or ordinaries.

Excerpt from Mark of Excellence Page 17 to 23


Modern Heraldry

The Observer's Book of Heraldryi> describes heraldry as "a system of identifying individuals by means of hereditary devices placed upon a shield, which originated in Western Europe in medieval times." W.H. St. John Hope's book Heraldry for Craftsmen and Designers describes these "devices" as elements of "a symbolical and pictorial language." The elements (also called charges) that are placed on the shield are collectively referred to as being the coat of arms, and the shield itself is but one key component part of what is known as full heraldic achievement.

The original 13th-century heraldry represented identity. Let's explore whether it is possible to revisit those origins and generate arms that reflect 21st-century individuality through visal symbols and colors.

Excerpt from visual resarch page 76