Designer / Educator

Type of Heraldry

Type & Info Design / Project #2


Interview one of your classmates and find out who he/she is. Create 10 visual signs (icons, indexes and symbol) that represents his/her personality and characteristics, and design a heraldry for him/her. 



Step 1. Debriefing

Define design problem. Expand your horizon using mind map. 

Step 2. Research / Organize Your Research

Interview your partner, and find his/her personal details, such as their name, age, place of birth, nationality, interest, hobby, occupation (major and concentration) history, personality, values, belief, mottos, goal, dream and so on. Study how he/she dress, speak and act. Ask questions like, “When do you get your best ideas?”, “How messy is your desk?”, “Do you follow rules or do you break them?”.

Analyze and organize information about your partner. You may define his/her top 5 values and his essence in keywords or sentences. Or, you may write a short story about him or create a formula (equation) with keywords that describes him. 

Research visual signs (icons, index and symbols), typography and visual styles that may represent your partner. 

Step 3. Ideation & Brainstorming

List your partner's top 10 essential attributes, and create visual signs (icons, indexes and symbol) for each one. One of the key attribute can be his/her name, and you may certainly use his/her initial or depict its meaning with icon. 

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 consider if a certain visual style would represent one of his/her key attributes. For example, you may apply certain visual style that represents his/her elegant personality and/or European cultural heritage to the overall heraldry design. (You may create bit-mapped icons and heraldry design if your partner loves retro 8-bit video game.)

Sketch three ideas for heraldry and share them with your partner. Discuss your idea in a small group setting, get feedback and revise your sketches.

Step 4. Development

Select one idea that best represent your partner, and finalize the design. Apply heraldry to some of his personal items, such as smartphone cover and business card. You may create stickers with the heraldry and give to your partner. 

You may give digital file to your partner, and he/she can further develop it to his/her own liking. 



Week 1 (Feb. 1): Team up with one of your classmate, and start interview process in the class. 

Week 2 (Feb. 8): Present your research and idea sketches to your partner in a small group setting (4 to 5 students). Get feedback, find more about your partner, and revise your idea sketches. 

Week 3 (Feb. 15): Class Discussion. Introduce your partner to the class, and present 3 design options. 

Week 4 (Feb. 22): Class Critique. Present final design and applications. 

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