A Complete Guide To The Coat Of Arms And Family Crest: Answering All Your Most Asked Questions

Coat of arms has become an integral part of the European family as it tends to imply your ancestry, their lineage, their achievement, and many more. If you don’t have a coat of arms then worry not, we will help you to either find your coat of arms that you have lost track of or create a new one, even the funny coat of arms too. It all lies in your creative imagination.

What is a family crest?

Before we jump into the minute details of the whole thing, we at first have to discuss what it means. You may think it is just a heavy motto drenched in the sense of royalty but you are wrong.

A family crest is a sign of royalty which has been handed down in a family for generations. 200 years more like it. Since the 11th century, the idea of having a special crest to describe the originality of the family has been going on and it hasn’t died down ever since.

It can be easily used to track your family down. The crest is a symbol of how your family came to be, more importantly, it tells about the achievement a family has garnered in the past generation. It talks about the ranking of the family in the well-established society and how it thrived at that time.

A family crest is not normal, a family crest is something that tells it all about your family. Every family crest is different from the others and stands for their own.

What does a family crest symbolize?

A family crest symbolizes a lot more than you can imagine. it is not just assimilation of pictures that mean nothing as each part of it symbolizes something. Depending on what has gone into the making of the crest, it will reveal a lot about your family.

Mainly what they did in their past, their achievement, and even their ranking of that time. In short, it can tell you about the past of your family and how rarely they did. So a family crest symbolizes a lot of things and you will know about them as you continue to read on.

What is the coat of arms?

A coat of arms is used to determine the pure lineage of the family that has achieved a great deal of reputation. It has minute details which may include a shield, crest, helmet, motto, etc. It depends on the family and what they have achieved.

Each detail is added to describe their achievement and attributes. Later it gives off a symbolism as a whole. It is a window to your past through which you can easily understand your linkage.

What is the difference between a coat of arms and family crest?

What is the difference between a coat of arms and family crest
What is the difference between a coat of arms and family crest

Even though it might come across as the same thing but trust me when I tell you this that it is not. There is a big difference between the coat of arms and the family crest. The family crest is a part of the coat of arms. When the details of the coat of arms are very complex and make one dizzy, many tend to refer only to the family crest.

The coat of arms is a compilation of the crests of which the family crest is just a small part of.

The family crest may include animal imageries such as a lion, cross, tiger, or horse, even unicorns, monsters, and other illusory elements. The family crest is different from the coat of arms but is pretty much interchangeable because of its complexities. Both are very important and bear meanings.

How to get a family crest?

If you are descendants of the European tree then there is a chance that you will have a family crest. It was very common at that point in time as many people around the 16th-17th century were somehow affiliated to the royal family in one way or another.

So they were given a family crest to uphold the honor for their service. It meant a big deal back then. If you are a descendant of those people who were knighted with a family crest, then there is a chance that you still have it.

Even the chances are very rare as only a few percents of the population were related to the royalty and only a few of them achieved something noteworthy of gaining a family crest, but if they did, the best way to find it is to track down a family tree and search for the coats of arms that will be associated with your last name. Such sites that you can use are 4crests, House of Names, All Family Crests. It is the best way to know about your ancestry.

How to make a family crest for a school project?

Many times school administration tries to assign your kids with drawing up the family tree. A family tree is that illustration on a chart paper where you have to mention your lineage by drawing a tree.

By doing this you can go back to as far back as you know and if you come to know during that process that you guys have a family crest then you can include that detail and make it more fun. But what if you don’t have that?

If you don’t have a crest then you can surely draw your own crest to make it more fun. We will provide you with each information on how to come up with a better formation of family trees and crests.

What goes on a family crest?

The basic of making a family crest lies in three things. These three things are always there in each and every family crest however they are not necessary but they are included in most of the crests available in the European family.

  • Shield

  • Mantling

  • The helm and wreath.

These are the basic parts that go into the making of the family crest. Along with these, there are different other things that will be there.

  • Animal

  • Color

The animal that will be included there which will give off a metaphorical meaning. The animal mentioned in the crest will portray the meaning that you want to convey, the image that you want to portray.

Along with the color too. The color has to be chosen properly as every detail has other significant meaning that you don’t want to lose. Along with this which metal will go in the making of the crest is important.

The metal will also tell the economical status. Another part that is very important in the making of the crest is the motto. You have to have a motto that will go accordingly. Are you worried? Don’t be. We will help you give ideas on how to make a perfect crest.

How to Make your own fantasy family crest?

When you try to make a family crest you have to make sure that the crest has a hint of fantasy around it, almost to make it appear like it is dreamy and beautiful so that it can travel you to the time of valor and war.

This crest has to be able to tell a different type of story about your family that you haven’t told. It is about letting others know the part about your family with a sense of pride so you have to make a crest while retaining much of the enchantment around it.

All these elements can be attributed to the coat of arms too because the family crest is a part of the coat of arms as we have discussed above. Originally the crest begins with the basic elements that we have already discussed above.

Now each of these elements is added there, in order to maintain a certain kind of meaning related to the feats they have achieved, all the elements are attributed to their war achievements, the level in which their family presides, the characteristics of their family along with a motto that prescribes the belief they share and live by.

Not each and every family must have a crest or chart of arms so to make yours unique from the scratch so that a sense of enchantment is revolving around it, you have to go by your own fantastic idea.

  • You can choose the background of something you love.

  • You can add the details of those things that make you feel like ‘you’

  • Your family’s interest.

  • Based on what religion your family follows

  • Your philosophical views. It will not only help you with the design of the coat of arms but will also help you with the composition of the motto.

  • Your ethnic choices.

All these abstracts can be the background of your crest which you can apply to the elements that will be added to the crest.

Elements that will be added to custom family crest or coats of arms:

Now that we have discussed what will inspire you to draw the background of the idea of the crest, let’s fill you in with the elements needed for the composition.

  • The shield: Each and every crest has to have a shield upon which other major parts of the drawing or elements are embedded. The shield is the base on which the colors and the tincture will be attended to in order to give it a meaning. The shield refers to the meaning of protection and the sense of preservation that one looks for.

It is in this part that various fields are added to the shields. background of your family, lines of division that your family served, ordinaries and sub-ordinaries of the lineage, furs, and more other luxurious elements that play an important part in the making of the crest.

  • Ordinary bands: Upon the shield, be it of any kind, you have to include a geographic pattern that will create segments on the shield. Each segment represents some sort of meaning. Now you have to choose an ordinary one. It is not necessary however if you do, it will become a part of your crest.

  • Charge: The charge is another important part of the crest. This goes upon the shield. You have to make a charge which will become a source of passion for your crest. A charge is something that provides you with power and passion in your life. It should be very medium that will help you get inspiration. The charge means a source with which you ‘charge’ upon life taking the risks and conquering them accordingly.

For example, if you are a writer, it should be a pen that should become the symbol of charge because that pen is what provides you with passion and power to fulfill your desire and give meaning to your life.

The charge should be an object that gives your life the essence. It is here where you can be creative and add what you like most, what inspires you, what you are a fan of.

  • Helmet: This goes on top of the shield and it implies the rank of your lineage. Suppose you are a royalty then the helmet will be golden if a patron then it will be silver. If you are a gentleman and a squire then the helmet will bear the sign of closed visor. Many times, people tend to include the crown and the coronets in place of a helmet. The choosing of the helmet is a tough and complex thing.

  • Torse: This particular thing is what gives the aura of luxuriousness into the crest. It is generally a fur or a silk robe, or a fabric that is intertwined with the helmet. It provides its own meaning. Sometimes it carries wordings and extra messages upon them.

  • Family crest: It is here where you have to create your own cool family crest. The crest will have any animal along with an ingrained meaning that it will provide if one sees it. You can create your own personal crest and add details that will carry the meanings. Some of the family crest examples are written below

    • Dove: a symbol of piece

    • Tiger: a symbol of vigor

    • Lion: the authoritarian family

    • Deer: gentle and comfortable

    • Fox: cunningness

    • Snake: slithering and smart.

All these can be used for the base upon which you can use your own personal information that you want to add. Along with this crest, there will be another thing adjacent to it which is not only part of the family crest but also the coat of arms.

  • The leaning object: The family crest leans on an object. It is similar to the charge. The leaning object symbolizes what they are leaning on. It could be anything. It is here you can add the secondary object that inspires you. Or something that completes your family. It can be a religious sign, it can be something that is keeping your family together. This object is very important.

  • Mantle: Another important part of the coat of arms and the family crest. It is naturally wrapped around the helmet as a secondary crown. The mantle can be made of fabric or leaves. Whatever you want.

  • Motto: Motto will bear the name of your family. Your motto should be aligned with what you believe in. So make sure that the family mottos coat of arms you choose reflects your ideology, your beliefs, and philosophical bearings. Here are some of the best mottos for you that you can use.

    • Love, honesty, and trust

    • We value empathy and understanding

    • The legacy never ends

    • Brave and hospitable

    • Fight and conquer

    • Believe in thy God

    • Die, disgrace be never.

    • Morality and nobility

    • Health, peace, and prosperity

    • Love, peace, and vigor

    • Passion and fire

All these mottos you can choose to use or you can even make some of your mottos consulting your family members.

What to do next?

We have provided you with the coat of arms ideas and elements needed to make a coat of arms and even a family crest. So all you have to do is to first consult your family first before coming up with the final result. Take their advice upon the smaller details.

After you have all settled down on what each element should be like, draw it carefully on a paper or hire a professional coat of arms designer and give that person the ideas, tell him or her how it should look like. A professional will capture the essence you are trying to capture perfectly. The rate and the elements will decide the cost of the crest but it will be worth it.

A Complete Guide To The Coat Of Arms And Family Crest: Answering All Your Most Asked Questions


What is a family crest?

The family crest is similar to insignia which bears the symbol of the family ancestry.

What does a family crest symbolize?

It symbolizes what has been achieved by the family, their rank and status, and what they stand for.

What is the coat of arms?

Coat of arms is an insignia that many royal houses carry.

What is the difference between a coat of arms and family crest?

The difference is that the family crest is a part of the coat of arms.

How to get a family crest?

You have to search it on google to find your family crest.

How to make a family crest for a school project?

If you don’t have one then you can read the steps written in this article to make one for yourself.

What goes on a family crest?

Shield, colors, mantle, helmet, family crest, torse, motto, and many more.

How to Make your own fantasy family crest?

The steps are written in this article. Give it a read to know about them.

Elements that will be added to custom family crest or coats of arms

The elements are written in the article. Do give it a read to know about them

What to do next?

You can share your idea with a professional crest maker.


Coat of arms is one of those elements that are an excellent example of your linkage to the ancestors. It does not only portray your life but also what it meant back then as it tries to accumulate your lineage, your ancestry, the achievements they made, and many more. In case you don’t have a coat of arms or a family crest, you can always try to make one. Why stay behind right?

Cameron James Connor
Cameron has worked with various business magazines like Business Today,He is an addicted reader of self-help books, fiction, and journals. He is a great enthusiast of hosting events and photography.

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