Choosing the correct elements in your family symbol is an integral part of creating your family emblem. At the core of generational wealth is creating a rich culture to build your heritage upon. Part of nurturing this culture to last for generations to come is to create a symbol of unity. This is called the family emblem.
Symbolism plays a primary role in the creation of this emblem. The family symbol you choose to create your emblem with must represent the heritage and message appropriate to your family.
I have added a list of dozens of potential symbols and their meanings(subject to interpretation) at the end of this post for you to take advantage of.
Past or Present?
As a founding parent of your dynasty, you will first want to decide what you want this symbol to represent, your history that has been, or the history you want to create.
You might have a rich bloodline draped in culture, which you want to respect and pay homage to. One that you can carry with pride. If this is the case, then with a lot of research you can find and incorporate elements of your family history into your family symbol. Such as finding your family’s crest from the British empire and adopting that, or finding your tribes artistic style and utilizing elements form that.
We always have a family history, as far back as you like to go. But if you, like most modern dynasty builders, are starting with a fresh adaptation to your baseline culture, 4 types of capital and your financial wealth, then you should probably opt for a more modern approach.
A Modern Take on the Family Symbol
When creating a family symbol, you will want to choose a family symbol that means something not only to you and your spouse, but something that represents what your family stands for.
You may choose to add arrows because you and your spouse met at an archery club. But this may mean very little to your family in 2, 3 or 5 generations.
Instead, you want to pick a family symbol that has meaning to others that will also represent your family. So arrows could instead represent readiness, accuracy, taking aim before you shoot.
The way you choose to represent these symbols based on their action and interaction will make a huge difference.
Sticking with the arrow theme, a handful of arrows will mean something different to a single arrow hitting a target. It would be different again to an arrow in a bow, and different again if that bow is aiming at a deer.
Family symbol selection doesn’t have to be limited to just one symbol. Though simplicity is good as it will be somewhat of a logo when it is incorporated into your family emblem.
Aim to keep the symbols to under 3, and having them tie in together in some sort of motif that makes sense to a casual observer.
Once you have decided on the symbols you will use, and how many, the question of how you will get them to gel together arises.
There are 3 types of symbol combination methods:
- Interaction: You can make them interact directly, such as having a horse climbing a mountain.
- Chimera: There’s also a chimera approach, melding the symbols into one singular entity with elements form both. An example of this is a tortoise with arrows springing from it’s shell.
- Shapeshifter: A different approach is the shapeshifter, Turning one symbol into another. For example having a dog head turn into a feather.
This is really down to your creativity. Perhaps you put each of them on a leaf of a clover(if you have 4-5 symbols). You may choose to tie them together. Maybe you have two animals going tug-of-war on a third symbol. You may have chosen a mountain as one symbol and a goat as another. One way to arrange this is having the goat stand triumphant on top of the mountain. Alternatively, the goat may be at the bottom, or the mountain may rest on the horns of a goats head.
However you choose to make the symbols interact, it should make sense and convey the message you intend to represent with your family symbol.
An Example of a Family Symbol
If you look at something like the Rothschild foundation logo, they have a simple bundle of arrows, with a ribbon holding them together as their symbol. This, to me at least, represents readiness, togetherness, and self-sufficiency.
It is simple, elegant, and clear. This is what you should aim for with your logo.
The Next Steps
Once you have decided on the symbols you want to use and decided on how you want them represented, it’s best to create a draft of them in pencil prior to moving on to color selection.
If you have the budget for it, you could contract a service to assist you in the selection of a family symbol and/or an independent graphic artist to create a rendition for you. If you’re going the independent artist route, be sure to have your colors ready first to avoid being double charged.
The family emblem is an often forgotten, but ever important element of you human capital. It’s also important to take your time in making sure you get it right. Remember the less change you have in the core of your family culture, the more you will encourage the permanence it takes to establish a dynasty.
Thanks for reading. Yours,
PS: I have left a rather long list of ideas and their possible interpretations below. Feel free to use these as inspiration in the formulation of your family symbol.
Ideas and Interpretations for Your Family Symbol
Abyss: Represents Honor in heraldry. Also can be interpreted as infinity, or something empty.
Acorn: Represents plenty and abundance. Also can be interpreted to mean something large and long-lasting from something small.
Anchor: Emblem of hope from heraldry. Can also mean: Permanence. Strength. Iron-clad willpower. Stubbornness. and willingness to stick by one’s beliefs.
Annulet: Represented as a circle within a circle(a round band), or 3 bands interwoven. A symbol of strength. The Romans used this a symbol of Liberty. Also: Wealth, containment, commitment.
Ant: Patience. Planning. Intelligence. Unity.
Antelope: In heraldry, considered a symbol of peace and unity(though it is represented as a deer head with a horses tail). Also could mean: Freedom. Hastiness. Alertness.
Ape/Monkey: Represents Intelligence, Unity. In heraldy, it represents sagacity – the ability to form opinions by distinguishing and evaluating.
Arm: In heraldry the arm denotes industry. Outside of this, it can mean versatility, holding something close, or used to symbolize pushing something away. Hand gestures can be utilized in a family symbol with any number of results.
Arrow: The symbol of readiness, commonly used as a pun on the surname, as in Fletcher (arrow maker), usually seen in crests, but occurs regularly on the shield also.
Ass(Donkey): Uncommon in heraldry, represents patience.
Axe: A symbol of industry. Can also be used to denote family origins or intent. Could also be used as a symbol of aggressiveness.
Badger: Means different things in cultures globally. For the British, it represents intelligence. in other places it means aggressiveness, and different again in can mean self-healing. Can also mean self-reflection, deep thought. These widely varying representations mean the badger can easily be misunderstood and thus is rarely found in a family symbol.
Bat: Watchfulness. Acute perception in hard times.
Bear: In heraldry, this is the symbol of family protection. Also a symbol of strength, family, biding time(hibernation), cleverness, resilience
Beaver: Perseverance, industry, building.
Bee: Industry, unity, collective effort. Also can be used to show a willingness to sacrifice.
Bell: Warning, summons, readiness, alarm, earliness.
Boar: Fierce, willingness to fight.
Book: Intelligence, willingness to listen, wisdom, concentration, patience. Often times your family motto can go onto the pages/cover.
Buckle: Fidelity, togetherness, austerity.
Bull: Valor, willingness to defend, abundance, fertility, strength.
Butterfly: Symbol of peace. Can also be interpreted as delicate, weakness. Could at a stretch mean the ability to make a change with small efforts(butterfly effect).
Cannon: A symbol of military service in heraldry. Outside of this could mean: strength, creating results, power.
Cartwheel: A symbol of industry.
Castle: Safety, wealth, power, defensiveness.
Cat: A wild cat can show vigilance and courage, while a household cat can mean curiosity and cunning.
Cloud: Faith, consistency, abundance, shelter.
Cock/Rooster: Vigilance, virility, and bravery.
Crab: Patience and cunning.
Crane: Longevity, spiritualism, fidelity, happiness, prosperity.
Cross: The symbol of Christianity, shows a devout, pious nature to your family.
Crown: Power, legitimacy, victory, triumph, honor, glory, righteousness, resurrection.
Dagger: Espionage, mistrust, cunning, secretive. In heraldry represents honor in battle, but this meaning may be lost in modern-day.
Dart: Readiness, accuracy.
Dolphin: Charity, community, intellect, playfulness.
Dove: Largely the symbol of peace. Can also represent chastity.
Dragon: Courage, inner fire, drive. In catholic traditions, dragons are a symbol of evil. However, in oriental nations, the dragon represents supernatural power, wisdom, strength and secretive knowledge.
Eagle: Fortitude, pride, wisdom, freedom, the messenger.
Elephant: Luck, power, success, wisdom, memory, experience. Also due to their social nature, loyalty, companionship, and unity.
Eye: Awareness, perception, alert, observant, knowing.
Falcon: Swiftness, accuracy, action. Hunter, authority, prestige.
Fish: Common Christian symbol usually to represent Jesus. Outside of Christianity, can mean creativity, fertility, fluidity, feelings, luck, transformation, health, abundance, serenity, happiness, and endurance.
Fork: An emblem of industry. Can also symbolize divergence…depending on what kind of fork. May also be used to represent agriculture, as in a pitchfork.
Fox: Intellect, evasiveness, cunning.
Frog: Tranquility, harmony, and peace.
Gauntlet: Signifies military service in heraldry.
Giraffe: Willingness to reach your goals, tall, proud, exotic, unique.
Globe: A symbol of hope. Can show multinational origins or intent.
Goat: Persistence, strength, tenacity, resilience, intelligence.
Grape: Plenty, industry, wealth, wine, agriculture.
Griffin: Valor, exoticism.
Hand: Emblematic of faith when drawn in particular manners. Hands can also be put into many gestures to achieve countless results.
Hare: Intelligence, rebirth, speed.
Hawk: Action, freedom, power, messenger, knowledge, higher thought, wisdom.
Heart: Love, devotion, passion.
Hedgehog: Perseverance, defensiveness.
Horse: Fortune, Wisdom, Power. Old English culture viewed a white horse as a harbinger of death.
Horseshoe: Luck, industry.
Hound/Dog: Trustworthiness, loyalty, protection, guidance, fidelity, faithfulness, love, alertness.
Hydra: A symbol of fortitude from greek mythology.
Ibis: A Egyptian bird. Often represents virtue and peace.
Ivy: Eternal life, attachment, fidelity.
Key: Knowledge, mystery, initiation, curiosity
Kingfisher: Ancient symbol peace and prosperity.
Knot: Love, faith, bonding.
Lamb: A symbol of Christianity. Also represents gentleness, innocence, purity, suffering, triumphant.
Lance: In heraldry, indicates service as a knight.
Laurel: Success, triumph, victory.
Leopard: Intelligence, independence, leadership, swiftness, confidence, strength, graceful, confidence, power.
Lily: Purity, devotion, innocence.
Lion: Nobility, price, strength, valor, royalty, earth/grounded, fertility.
Lizard: Vigilance, amalgamation, maleability.
Lynx: Loyalty, foresight, independence, patience, understanding, vigilance, the unseen.
Mill-Rind: This is the center of a mill wheel. Symbolizes industriousness.
Mill-Wheel: Similar to the mill-rind. A symbol of industry.
Moon: Emblematic of serenity, intuition wisdom, creativity, youthfulness, enchantment.
Nail: Passion, Industry, togetherness.
Nightingale: Eloquence, purity, virtue and truth.
Oak: Strength, wisdom, knowledge, abundance, virtue.
Olive Tree: A well-known symbol of peace and harmony.
Ouroboros: Eternal Life, eternity, renewal.
Ostrich: Wealth, knowledge, abundance, fertility. Largely because they lay the biggest eggs of any creature.
Otter: Symbolizes intelligence and industry, stability and strength.
Owl: Prudence. wisdom, mystery, intelligence, and wisdom.
Ox: Persistence, fertility, and strength.
Parchment: Sometimes shown as a roll, shows wisdom and knowledge. An open parchment can be used to show other symbols on it.
Peacock: A symbol of power, wealth, renewal, resurrection, pride.
Pear: In oriental cultures: Love, justice, longevity, purity, wisdom, grace, nobility, purity. In western, a symbol of plenty. Sometimes the pear tree is a symbol of comfort. Pears are often linked to Christ’s love for mankind.
Pegasus: The emblem of fame, revelation, memory, protector.
Pelican: Charity, kindness, generosity.
Pentagon: Health, geometric significance & mathematics.,
Pillow: Softness, restfulness, intimacy.
Pomegranate: Plenty, life, agriculture, rebirth.
Portcullis: Protection, guardedness.
Quiver: Readiness, self-sufficiency, reuse, sentimentality.
Rabbit: Fertility, rebirth, family.
Rainbow: Originally a symbol of hope and prosperity, now spoiled by a particular modern movement.
Ram: Strength, perseverance, stubbornness.
Raven: Intelligence, family, memory. Also represents death in a lot of cultures. In heraldry, represents ‘divine providence’.
Rock: Security, stubbornness, rigidity, longevity, stability
Rose: Distinction, devotion love, secrecy, confidentiality.
Salamander: Immortality, rebirth, passion, sarcrifice, protection.
Salmon: Rebirth, happiness, knowledge, femininity, moving, eternal life, knowledge, fertility.
Sceptre: Authority, sovereignty.
Scimitar: Purification, ethereal freedom, courage, strength, action, unity, justice, leadership, aggression, decision.
Scythe: Husbandry, agriculture, death.
Seal: Vigilance, imagination, trust, creativity, integrity
Shamrock(Clover): Luck, symbol or the Christian trinity, abundance, prevalence.
Shell: Usually perceived as feminine, protection, good fortune,
Shield: Defense, protection, control.
Skeleton: Mortality, resurrection, earthly, flattery, truth. Also, pretty spooky.
Snail: Patience, reward, calm, tolerance.
Snake: Wisdom, medicine/health, treachery, transformation,
Spear: Directness, honor, life and death, A phallic symbol.
Squirrel: Perseverence, patience, preparation, playfulness.
Stag: Protector, harmony, happiness, peace and longevity. If shown at odds with another stag, shows the propensity to do battle.
Stone: A symbol of solidity, endurance, permenance, stability, to cherish ordinary things in life.
Sun: Glory, influence, strength, completion of a great work.
Swallow: Virtue, love, happiness, success.
Swan: Harmony, beauty, love, music, poetry.
Sword: Power, protection, courage, strength, intellect.
Thistle: Aggressiveness, pain, protection, pride, poverty, might, brilliance
Thunderbolt: Inspiration, creation, destruction, fertility,
Tiger: Willpower, courage, strength, balance, bravery.
Tower: Hope, freedom, strength, protection.
Trident: Solidity, masculine power,
Unicorn: Courage, virtue, magic, miracle.
Vine: Connection, binding, survival, security, seeking the light. Vine leaves represent industry and plenty.
Vulture: Rapacity, death, cycle of life, wisdom, guidance.
Wall: Solidity, protection, division, longevity, guardedness.
Whale: Patience, understanding, compassion, solitude, creativity, freedom.
Wheat: Plenty, agriculture, abundance, charity, fertility, production.
Wheel: Industry, protection, efficiency, strength, perfection.
Wing: Protection, spirituality, flying, freedom, lightness,
Wyvern: Courage, valor, protection, vision, vengeance.
Yew Tree: Hope, immortality, changes, regeneration, protection, vitality.