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How to Choose the Symbols on a Family Crest

by Kimberly Dyke

Is your little princess demanding a custom-designed family crest to fly atop her backyard castle? Or perhaps your brood has decided to create a family crest together as a representation of family unity. Regardless of your personal heritage, the sky is the limit when choosing symbols for a family crest.

Design an overall layout of your family crest to determine how many symbols you will need. Sketch a shield in the center of the crest. Include a banner at the top and bottom of the shield to feature your name, motto or country.

Consider your family’s heritage, current situation or goals to select a meaningful color scheme. Choose blue to represent truth and loyalty, white to represent peace and serenity, or red to represent passion and strength. Use as many colors as you'd like for your family crest.

Choose the symbol for the center of the shield based on its meaning, such as an anchor to represent hope, a bear to represent strength, or a cross to represent faith. Select a symbol that represents your family’s overall purpose or one that represents what binds you together.

Divide the shield into four quadrants and select a symbol for each quadrant. Consider choosing a symbol for each person in the family or to represent your goals as a family. Pick a shepherd’s hook for the ever-watchful mother, a deer for the peacekeeper in the family or a sword for the protective father. Make the shield a meaningful centerpiece to your family crest.

Select a top mantle that will hover over the shield on the family crest. Choose a classic swirl of ribbon with feathered ends, or design your own graphic that follows your chosen color scheme.

Choose a shield supporter for each side of your shield. Follow the theme from your shield symbols, and select an animal such as a lion to represent dauntless courage or a griffin to represent valor.

About the Author

Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.

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