Before, oh, February of this year, I never once thought about a family crest. I don’t have a large, historic, or proud-of-our-roots family. I can’t spin any (true) tales about naughty great-great-great Aunt Edna or boast about the exploits of One-Eyed Grandpa Harry from the 1800s.
What is a family crest? Your dictionary defines it as a shield with symbols and figures that represent a family, person, a group or other organization. I’m a little hazy on the difference between a family crest and a coat of arms, but basically the design reflects who you are as a family.
Aaron Draplin’s class challenged me to create a logo that reflected the personality of the four people I live with and love the most. I dragged my feet a bit on this project, but I’m so glad I persevered. I ended up really loving the end result.
Modern Family Crest Inspiration
Starting absolutely from scratch, I desperately needed some artistic inspiration. In studying art history and visiting places like Scotland, I’ve seen plenty of traditional crests. But, I felt totally clueless when it came to modern family crest design. As always, Pinterest came to the rescue!
If you are fortunate enough to already have an established family coat of arms, I would start there for ideas. Keep what speaks to you, and toss the rest.
Creative people amaze me. I mean, look at this gem! I would love to have my logo burned on a tree slice, wouldn’t you?
Shannon Kirsten painted this gorgeous crest. I love the delicate look of the watercolor paired with bold color. Amazing!
For more modern coat of arms inspiration, check out my Family Crest Pinterest board here.
You might also want to waste some time on the Hipster Logo Generator. Experiment with different shapes, motifs, text placement, lines, and more.
Here is one hipster look I whipped up using the generator today. Fun, right?!
Modern Family Crest Design
With the inspiration phase behind me, I scribbled a list of elements I wanted to include: travel, cycling, hiking, Slovakian heritage, and our faith in Jesus. Luckily, a cross appears on the Slovakian flag, so combined the last two and whittled my list of elements down to four.
I decided on a traditional crest shape (the shield), and split it into four quadrants. I placed one motif in each spot and then customized them.
For the hiking quadrant, I chose a mountain with three peaks to symbolize our three boys. For the travel quadrant, I settled on a simple airplane as a car reminds me of traffic (no thank you).
Since we love to cycle, I included a bike in one quadrant. But, I thought it would be fun to use a bike chain instead of a laurel wreath to round out the crest. I used a custom brush I created in this class.
This bike chain wreath turned out to be my favorite part of the design!
Disclosure: Berger is not my real last name. Names have been changed to protect the guilty, er, I mean the innocent.
Adding an Inked Look
I work mostly in Adobe Illustrator, and I love the simple flat look of vector art. But I recently made an inky texture thanks to Jamie Bartlett, and I am obsessed with it!
This stamped look works well for simple text, but it can be used for more complex art as well.
I dropped my modern family crest into Photoshop (bit by bit – uggggh) and out popped this fun look!
You know I’m not going to end a blog post without showing you my work on a mockup, so here’s my modern family crest on a t-shirt.
YOUR Modern Family Crest
Maybe you have one of those fabulous old families that tells stories of famous relatives or infamous black sheep. Perhaps you already have an established coat of arms.
BUT, if you have nothing to slap on family-trip-to-Disney t-shirts, it’s time to treat yo’self to a family crest!
I would love to help YOU design a modern coat of arms that fits your family! Your crest can adorn apparel like t-shirts, paper products like stationery, even a rubber stamp to show off your return address on that stack of Christmas cards this year. Email me to get started today!
If you already have a family crest, please do share by leaving a photo or link in the comments. I would love to see it!