Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sigils, Seals and Arms

A couple months ago I started reading the Song of Ice and Fire series. Author George R.R. Martin creates a complex world of kings, castles, cities and the people that occupy them (if you have seen or heard of the television series Game of Thrones on HBO it is based on the Song of Ice and Fire series.) Martin loves details. He appears to have spent a lot of time building this world and wants to make sure the reader sees it all. Every character, house and city mentioned in the books is described so richly you feel like you're there. 
One detail I enjoy in particular is that each family has their own sigil – the lion of House Lannister, the direwolf of House Stark or the dragon of the Targaryens for example. Reading about the different houses and their symbols revealed something about me that I had long forgotten – the desire for a family seal.  I think this stuff is so cool. I can remember an art project in elementary school where we created our own coat of arms. It was great. I don’t recall exactly what my final project looked like but I do remember that I took it very seriously (though if I had to guess, considering my age and interests at the time, it probably included a basketball, a bike, some Doritos and the Taco Bell logo). It was fun to think about what symbols represent my interests; or what values my family holds dear. There’s just something about it all that feels historic, old world – from a time when traditions truly mattered and a family’s name meant everything.
The more I read the books the more I thought about my own family seal. If I created one today what would it look like (would I abandon Taco Bell and Doritos?) I finally thought of this while sitting at a computer and did a quick Google search. Among the first results was a website called Make Your Coat of Arms where you can do just what the name promises: make your own coat of arms. It’s free, fast and has plenty of options to personalize.
The site walks you through the creation of your seal one step a time. It’s very easy to use. Below are some screen shots of my experience that will help walk you through it too. Explore. Be creative. Have fun. Feel free to share – I’d like to see what you came up with.
Posted by Brett | House Neff of Stoney Creek

Step 1: Go to and click on the green Get Started button.

Step 2: Enter a name and email address. Click the Submit button
Step 3: Choose a shield. Options are displayed across the bottom of the page. Double click one to select it. Note the Color Chooser on the right side of the page to change the color of your shield.

Step 4: Choose a banner. Options are displayed across the bottom of the page. Double click one to select it. Next add text to your banner (ex: yourlast name.)

Step 5: Add a motto by clicking the drop down menu in the Select Motto box on the left side of the page. Or you can create your own motto by clicking in the text field of the Text Editor box on the right side of the page. Note you can also change your font style and color by using the Font box and Color Chooser.


Step 6: Add values. Similar to the motto you can pick from mottos provided for you on the left side of the page. Or you can create your own by typing in the boxes on the right side of the page.


Step 7: Add symbols. Select from the Shape Categories box along the left side of the page. Select an image by dragging it from the options on the bottom of the page into the shield. To remove a graphic from your shield just click on it.

Step 8: Enter your name, email address and click Print.