Tinctures and Composition
Metals, Colors, Style, Charges
Basic Rule of Design: Less Is More
We recommend that you use 1-2 colors with 1-2 metals (gold/yellow or silver/white).
Limit the number of tinctures (metals or colors or furs) to 4. We recommend that you use 1-2 colors with 1-2 metals (gold/silver/white).
Limit the number of charges (elements such as animals, birds, etc.) on the shield to between 1 and 4.
More impact is achieved with one animal that is the focus, i.e., large, and other, smaller charges in balance.
The mantling and torse should echo colors of the design itself.
Traditionally, the mantling and torse (wreath) are composed of the first metal and the first color specified in the coat of arms. With multiple metals and colors, the first two metals and the first two colors may be used, but the metal should be used near the same color it is used with in the design.
Good contrast helps!
Use a metal against a color or a color against a metal. A charge must have good contrast with any charge placed entirely on it. Gold on gold is not advisable because the charge will melt into the background.
Good composition: Balance is desirable.
Repeating an element or charge can provide good balance, as can a quartered shield with opposing colors and charges. The same metal should remain with the same color, i.e., red and silver/white, or gold and blue, throughout the design.
Rules are meant to be broken, even in heraldry.
There is no right or wrong to any designs, but simple rules of good composition, contrast, focus, balance, etc. apply to any piece of artwork.
Can I see some examples of your design work?
Of course! Please see our portfolio and pick some examples that you would like your design to emulate.
What if I want to have the design embroidered on clothing and accessories?
Color and detail in a digital design can look very different when converted to an embroidery format. Please see our web page about embroidery services: Embroidery
Why do some coats of arms have lines and dots?
This is called "hatching" and was used by jewelers and other artists when color was too expensive to use or unavailable.
Popular Ways to Divide Shields
Heraldry and the Parts of a Coat of Arms
Marshalling or Combining Arms
What is Hatching?
"Hatching" is the term for representing the colors of a coat of arms in black and white. This was necessary when color printing was excessively expensive.