I have going though spent a fair amount of time working though my ideas before I brought this here, so I hope that bares fruit and is evident in my design. I have been comfortable with this design for a few months and my prior ideas we not too far from this mark. I am not an artist and haven’t built up the tools to do anything remotely heraldic in an image editor, so you’ll have to deal with my (first) attempt at a blazon.
Azure a double-warded key palewise, wards in chief, surmounted by a flash of lightning and a quill pen in saltire, all Or.
For those familiar with military heraldry, you will see each of the elements have distinct symbolic meaning in that context. All of which apply to me in my military vocation. The short version: Key = security/intelligence, lightning = communications, quill pen = clerical work/intelligence. The flash of lightning and the quill pen in saltire is also the symbol for cryptology/information warfare in the U.S. Navy. I placed the key palewise as to not replicate the symbol, but allude to it. It is double-warded primarily for balance. Most of the charges also carry secondary and tertiary meanings.
As far as tinctures are concerned, gold is the color used by officers in the Navy (sliver for enlisted) and the blue should be obvious.
I am still maturing my ideas on the crest, but those are starting to converge now.
I am open to constructive criticism and am eager to see any emblasonments.
Sounds OK. There is a potential drawback to a design too closely resembling the insignia of a particular military organization or specialty for your descendants, even (or especially) if they are in different organizations or specialties, or enlisted rather than officers. (Not a hypothetical, a friend has experienced something similar.)
The key concern with your design IMO is whether the key is sufficient difference from the Naval intelligence/cryptology insignia. Others with a Navy background can better judge than me - I was Army intelligence, a well- known oxymoron with different insignia.
Other than that, seems like a nice enough design, though likely of little relevance to your extended family if that matters to you.
All good points to consider, and I did give them consideration. The key is nearly completely absent from U.S. Navy use and is more an Army symbol. However, it is prominently used for the NSA seal and in the arms of USCYBERCOM (United States Cyber Command). So I feel there is little possibility of it being too similar to a military symbol. However, below is an image of the relevant Navy symbols.
Here is an image for the Navy’s Information Dominance Corps.
The gold/silver device at the bottom is the dimidiated pins for an Information Dominance Warfare Officer (IDWO) and an Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS). In the shield there are quarterly the rating symbols for 1: Cryptologic Technicians, 2: Intelligence Specialists, 3: Information Technicians, 4: Aerographer’s Mates.
For fun, from Jeff Bacon of Broadside.net:
I mentioned in my prior post that the charges had additional meanings. The key can also be taken numerous ways; too numerous to mention them all. Two bear mention, though, because of their use to extended family. Both my father and grandfather are/were in accounting/economics. You’ll see (especially in a naval context) a key occasionally used to represent that discipline or guardianship in general. It also, and more importantly, references knowledge, something everyone in my family has perused throughout life.
The flash of lightning doubles as a reference to my electrical engineering education.
Finally the quill pen can signify writing (my brother’s pursuit, and a significant one of my own).
I have run this design by my father and he seemed only mildly interested (a father indulging the interest of his grown son). From my talk with my grandfather Christmas he, due to illness, is unfortunately past full comprehension of the subject. My grandfather was a electrician in the Navy in 1945-1947. Consequently, the color of the field and at least two of the charges are still relevant to him. He was enlisted so the gold becomes more of a reference to the U.S. Navy’s colors (blue and gold) and less an officer/enlisted distinction.
My one male Hofer cousin, Michael, I have not seen in nearly a decade (he lives in Chicago, and I have lived all over, but never Illinois). He is a computer programmer and graduate of the Univ. of Michigan (tinctures double in use again). I could sell the quill as writing (even if it is code), the key as computer or financial security, and the flash of lightning still works in a digital context.
My brother is currently living in Japan teaching English and will marry a local girl next October. He never intendeds to move from Japan. He is not interested in this project in that he does not intended to use the arms. However, all the charges still work. Quill pen for his interest in writing (B.A. from UNC in English); key for his teaching a foreign language, unlocking new worlds for his students; and the flash for is frequent communication back with family in the States. In the longer term, if there was any interest in the arms from any future children or renewed interest from him, I would be tempted to change the tinctures (Argent and Gules) to distinguish the Japanese branch of the family.
All and all reference to my extended family was not a major concern, but I did give it some thought and tried to avoid getting to specific on the naval references.
Summary: I am likely the only male member of my family in the last three generations to have any practical interest in this project. All the charges carry additional meanings that can apply to the male descendants of my grandfather. Future generations wishing to distinguish their branch my change tinctures or change a charge and still pay homage to the original arms while being effectively differenced.
Sounds like you’ve got it covered. Before making it final-final you might post it on your fridge or other convenient spot for a few weeks to see if it still resonates - Ms Right not just Ms Right Now.
Personal opinion… I think it might look better (up close at least) if the key surmounted the lightning and quill pen.
I think items in saltire make such good "backdrops."
I agree with Jeff. A minor point perhaps, but it would IMO make for a better visual balance when viewed close up.