Text and ZoomThere should be a border image of the Coats of Arms of Canada and its provinces and territories running down both sides of the centre of the page, to the left and to the right of the text. If it is completely or partially missing and you would like to see the page as it was intended you will have to adjust your browser. First lower your text to the "smallest" setting. If that doesn't fix the problem then adjust your view by zooming "in" or "out". The page was designed on a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 with zoom at 100% and text at "smallest". All this should be solved when I recode to the newest html. I apologize for any inconvenience.
Also accept my apologies for any spelling errors. They say that there should never be any spelling errors in this day and age with the powerful computers we use but I strongly disagree with them. Just because a word is spelled right does not mean that it is spelled rite; write?
Heraldry ~ Coat of Arms ~ Graphic Signature ~ Armnature

Although it is widely practiced, adapting a family coat of arms from some long past ancestor may not be an entirely accurate representation of you as an individual, which is exactly what a coat of arms should be. For instance, should I find a coat of arms of one of my ancestors bearing badges of honour for service in a war, would I be right in adopting it as my own?

A coat of arms in feudal times meant a position of power, or more precisely, a man of use to the king or queen because of his combat skills and his men at arms (followers). One really has no reason to stand out in a crowd if no one is following. One follower would grant you the right but really, what would be the point? Should you prove yourself adept in the art of war the followers will, well, follow. Now you need a means to let them know where you are so that they can follow you. Originally a surcoat displayed one's family escutcheon or shield on which armorial bearings, or devices, symbolized one's rank and deeds. Banners were also used to which men at arms rallied during battle. Today it can be used by anyone, although some will still argue that the lower classes have no right to their use and are not even legitimate without registration. But that is not in debate here. Coats of Arms played an important role in our heritage and I believe in keeping that intact. Were I a legitimate descendent of the knights, barons and dukes of the House of Brydges, of which so many played a crucial role in the formation of the United Kingdom, I would be honoured to bear such arms if for no other reason than to remind ourselves where we came from and who the players were. And though I may mistakenly refer to my design as a Coat of Arms it is not my intent to suggest that they are of the same pageantry as the originals. It is only a means to explain what a Graphic Signature or Armnature, for short, is. Like the Coat of Arms, it is a means of identifying yourself and showing your pride in who you are and what it is you feel you represent or have accomplished. Not a means of proving a blood line or even suggesting a relation but a fun and picturesque way of identifying yourself. And whether or not you are a direct descendent of a house you are still an ancestor and incorporating part of a true Coat of Arms into your Graphic Signature is a way of showing your pride in where you came from while still keeping a beautiful part of history alive. Because we live in a time when they no longer serve their original purpose is no excuse to let them fade away. By repurposing them we find a way to connect with our past and draw the best parts of it into the future with us. A new coat of arms can be registered if it meets the necessary criteria but for a Graphic Signature, regular copyright laws are enough to bind your newly designed coat of arms to you. And besides, aren't we all in the fight for survival? And I have two children and more grandchildren to follow me!

Brydges of Wilton, Baron or Duke Chandos of Sudeley?

A theme can run through many coats of arms that makes them common to a surname. A tartan, flag, or symbol could draw all under one surname while maintaining individuality. Keep in mind also that your Graphic Signature may change with every milestone in your life. A marriage, children, or career position could be reason to update your armnature. When a man and a woman join in matrimony a new coat of arms could be designed to show their union. Key areas of both the man's and the woman's individual coats would be combined into one. Usually his in the 1st and 4th quadrant and hers in the 2nd and 3rd.

Heraldry also has a vast number of images that represent positions in society as well as in family. Images to represent a characteristic of your nature as well as ones to let everyone know what you have accomplished. So many icons yet so many of them that do not represent modern times. Even if we only look at one aspect of life alone, our job or career, it is quickly evident that there will be no medieval symbols to represent them. And if we begin using modern imagery, our coats of arms will soon lose their medieval appearance. An example of one graphic signature I designed was for an individual in upper management for an electrical crown corporation. He's in a position of power but doesn't wear a helm. Most people are able to associate what a white hard hat means though. And there you have a very obvious step from one time period to another. Move even further into computers or genetics and your coat of arms will be quite dissimilar to their originals. Very different looking but in meaning? He still has a position of power. He still has people who follow his orders. He still leads his people in the fight to keep his superiors and their positions on top, whether that be a monarchy or a monopoly. A Graphic Signature keeps us firmly rooted in the past but free to branch out into the future.

In my own armnature below, some images can be read quite easily by just accepting them at face value. My name is depicted as a rebus, a lance followed by (3) bridges. The meaning of a lance in feudal times is valid for me today however a bridge is not. The double blue wavy lines under the bridge is my zodiacal sign of Aquarius and also represents my location locally on two different scales. Its original meaning also applies. At that time my wife and our two children were represented by the same bearings that I used on her father's armnature, a Trillium and Lilies-of-the-Valley (both representative of a geographical location). I have two preliminary sets of symbols designed for my grandchildren but have not yet decided upon which I prefer or if it needs to be redesigned completely. A red maple leaf signifies my country of birth. The self designed Kris dagger over a blue moon is symbolic on a more personal level and not meant to be understood.
As my supporters I originally had my wife depicted facing forward but since she has moved on I have replaced that image with that of the secret female facing away, representing her anonymity. My spiritual animal, the wolf, is only one personae of myself and has been modified to reflect recent changes. The female has been replaced to represent an, until recently, unrealized aspect of myself which, although asserting itself, I was refusing to acknowledge it in favour of another aspect. It wasn't until a short time ago that I realized that the two could exist within me without degrading one another, adopting the best of both aspects. A self designed helm is mantled in a black and blue cape that flows down to encompass and protect my supporters. The meaning for the colour blue is still valid for me today.

Armnature original motto in Elven language, Tengwar script

My old motto, above, written in a different language and script, was the very first that I used before I had even redesigned my armnature using a computer. It was more along the lines of a code one would teach their children as a tool for succeeding in life.

armnature second motto in Elven language, Tengwar script

The second motto, above, for my newly cleaned up design was a more philosophical view of life and how I viewed my approach to many aspects of it. It is somewhat cryptic which in itself suggests a characteristic. It appears in the top left, top and top right as well as the bottom left, bottom and bottom right borders of a frame that I later added for a more dressed up look that works well on stationary and other similar uses. The motto also appears in the three scrolls at the top of my armnature.

armnature version two of second motto in Elven language, Tengwar script

I later revised this motto, above, to correct a spelling error as well as a second take on the syntax of the Elven language. It appears on my new armnature. The original motto can still be used if the graphic signature is used for a different purpose.

Temporary post separation armnatureTemporary modified
"Old Ball & Chain" Armnature

Copyright © 2003-2018 Lance Brydges

Time for some revisions!
Well it has been awhile in coming but I finally got enough interest to tackle the job of redesigning my Graphic Signature. After a couple of months of design, throw out, redesign, I came up with what I think I was looking for. Unfortunately, but par for the course, I have several versions that I can't quite decide on which I like the best so I finished all the versions and will now ponder them until I can decide on which version of each element I like the best. So the five designs below have most of the elements I wanted to incorporate into my Armnature but vary slightly in one or two of the other versions and I must choose the one I like the best. The other factor is that it must work well with some of the other elements it shares space with. Once I have decided on the final I will combine them into one and then proceed with the next stage. This will be the adding of more elements that still symbolize something but are more for dressing up or filling out the design to give it a richer, fuller look. I have done this before but not with my own so there will be a lot of trial and error here as well.

I've also taken the time to create a tool I think will make this task much easier. Originally for another purpose but is useful anywhere one has to compare images. It's a Comparison Console. I have loaded the images into it and written down the directions so if you would like to give it a try click the image below otherwise proceed past it to the five versions of my new "Armnature".

Opens the Comparison Console to compare two images side by side

Below are the five different versions of my new Armnature that I have yet to decide on certain elements of the design before I can finish it.

Post-separation Armnature V1

Version #1
New L. Brydges

Copyright © 2017-2018 Lance Brydges

Post-separation Armnature V2

Version #2
New L. Brydges

Copyright © 2017-2018 Lance Brydges

Post-separation Armnature V3

Version #3
New L. Brydges

Copyright © 2017-2018 Lance Brydges

Post-separation Armnature V4

Version #4
New L. Brydges

Copyright © 2017-2018 Lance Brydges

Post-separation Armnature V5

Version #5
New L. Brydges

Copyright © 2017-2018 Lance Brydges

Creator willing I should have a final design in a few months. I may even decide to reveal the more personal meanings of some of the images so check back to see the outcome.

House of Brydges - Baron or Duke Chandos of Sudeley

I designed my ex's armnature as practice to increase my skill at art in this new media. She didn't really care one way or the other about having one so I have used it yet again to hone my craft. It was quite therapeutic as well to put things in perspective. In bringing the motto up to date and more realistic I ran into the age's old problem of sentences not translating clearly. As far as my genealogy tells me my father's line is pure British but with nearly a dozen different spellings, some not even sounding close. My mother's line is predominantly French. Go figure. Unfortunately I never picked up much from the snippets of talk from the elders in my family. Those little nuances that we don't even realize are there make hellish work to translate the meaning and not just the words. Not speaking both languages doesn't help and even my son-in-law, who is fluent in French, had difficulty. A perfect example I remembered from my childhood puts it in perspective. Most of us never notice ourselves using the world renowned Canadian sentence finisher "eh". It has long since morphed out of even being a question of "right?" "savvy?" Now what I heard from my son-in-law's conversations with his family was reminiscent of how my aunt and mother spoke although they used this one word far more often. Almost every sentence ended with "la". I am told that "la" roughly translates to "there". So to translate their French exactly into English their sentences would go something like. "I spoke with Mary in town yesterday there." "She said that Sonia starts her new job tomorrow there." "If she doesn't like it she can always go back to what she was doing before there." "It will be good experience for her there." You see what I mean eh? So our translation is open to interpretation and possibly many versions. A lot of Hullabaloo for so small a word eh? But there you go there.
As for this motto the problems are in the little words as well. The motto seems to be just the end of a sentence that is describing someone. For instance one might say, "Jeb is a farmer and a good carpenter." We could also get away with saying, "Jeb is a farmer and good carpenter." And the motto would then read, "...and good carpenter." Suggesting that the bearer is many things but also a good carpenter. However if we try to make the sentence negative by saying, "Jeb is a farmer but not a good carpenter", it gets a little trickier. "Jeb is a farmer and not a good carpenter", "Jeb is a good farmer and not good carpenter." And so in keeping with the motto it originally read, "... and good carpenter." Make it negative and it would read, "... and not good carpenter." Sounds a little clumsy but do we make it read better or leave it closer to its original form? I chose the latter. As for what the images mean, well you'll have to decide that for yourself. All I'll say is there is a good bit of meaning there that, quite possibly, no one would ever get.

Redesigned Dead Armnature
Copyright © 2017-2018 Lance Brydges

And as a perfect example of the designing aspect is the following version of the above Armnature. In just the repetitive action of reviewing, changing, displaying it in a browser and then repeating it many times, ideas come out of nowhere. Well maybe not "nowhere". At any given moment I may be thinking of a dozen or more ideas each with hundreds of aspects of the idea so it is not surprising that obvious ideas are sometimes overlooked or held for one particular job with only the chance of it being refocused to another purpose. And so with many tweaks to this design, the idea for the second version came, "seemingly", out of nowhere.

Redesigned Dead Armnature
Copyright © 2017-2018 Lance Brydges

The most difficult part of designing a Graphic Signature, for me, is the problem of trying to fit so much imagery into such a confined space. In feudal times, the intricate designs I use today would have been virtually useless. On a wall in my castle it would be lovely and something to be proud of but if you're some poor beggar who just came to from a mace to the face and anxious to find your buddies, you wouldn't really appreciate all of these pretty and meaningful ornaments. No then you would want something very simple and with much contrast so that you can find it in a sea of blood, sweat and blurred steel, and yes, probably many tears. Not everyone is cut out for these rugged outdoor activities. So here a simple black banner with a white cross in the center would be much easier to find and undoubtedly very much more appreciated.
On this particular Armnature I always felt that all those images seemed jumbled up in a pile in the centre of the back and quite confusing to discern. On the second version they are nicely arranged down the length of the arrow shaft with good contrasting background. Still a little crowded but now we also have to consider artistic flare.
Also of note is the Latin inscription that runs the perimeter of the shield. I learned that it is very difficult to translate a verse or phrase from English into Latin and have it mean the same thing. I thought translating an entire paragraph of text would give a clearer more precise meaning but it was the exact opposite. The two barely had anything to do with each other. Add or subtract one word and the entire phrase is changed. In the end I had to break the phrase into many smaller phrases. It doesn't read well but it is much closer to what I wanted it to say.

House of Brydges - Baron or Duke Chandos of Sudeley

In designing a Armnature for ones self one thing to keep in mind is its originality. Apart from common symbols like the Canadian Maple Leaf, all images in my designs are hand drawn. Your Armnature should be as unique as you are and therefore one should limit the use of clipart. Some art may look like something you've seen elsewhere and the reason is probably due to my use of models. Not having the funds or the acquaintance base to hire models for my art I use photos off the internet. One person in my art may be formed from the limbs of half a dozen or so different photos. Occasionally however, I am lucky enough to find a photo with a pose almost perfect to what I need. And for that reason it could be familiar to any who saw the original photo.

Is that cheating? I struggled with that question when I first started painting but after reading and discovering that most artists (and yes even the famous ones) use the same technique I don't think about it as much. Can someone who cannot draw at all create life-like artwork by using models or photos? Still I have no problem admitting that I am not near the artist as those who can just sit down and draw or paint anything and make it look almost like a photo. If they were to be labelled just "artist" then no, I would not consider myself one. But I don't do it for fame and certainly not fortune. It's not unlike any other hobby like gardening or carving or pottery and so on. It is something that gets in your head and won't leave you alone until you create the best version of it as you can. If you have an itch, try not scratching it. That's the arts.


My son's Armnature are in its first stages of growth. At age 10, it will, I'm sure, go through many changes to keep up with his ever changing personality.
The shape of the escutcheon is that of a bull, his zodiacal sign. Through the nose at the bottom is a ring in the shape of the sign of Venus, his ruling planet. The Taurus sign is also present on the escutcheon with a dog print in the middle of it to show his great affection for those creatures. A 6 pointed star is a traditional bearing for a noble man, which is what his name stands for in Elven. Below this is the use of the 3 bridges again to stand for his last name. His supporters are Venus and again his most beloved animals. His helm bears a bullish design, over which an upraised hand holds aloft as mantle, a matador's cape in the colours of his country's flag.

Armnature J. Brydges
Copyright © 2003-2018 Lance Brydges

The following coat of arms I designed for a school. These are great for all kinds of stationery for the school and adds that extra touch to school sports uniforms. I would not label these armnatures as they are better described as logos, crests, emblems etc.

School Crest
Copyright © 1999 Lance Brydges

When considering your Armnature, jot down all the things that you would like to symbolize. There are numerous sites on the web that will explain the meaning behind traditional heraldic bearings and devices. Use your imagination for any areas not covered. And most importantly, have fun with it!

But if you cannot draw to your satisfaction and would rather your Armnature depicted with symbols that are original and not clipart that could be on hundreds of other designs, contact me and I'll give you a price. I'll also do the research myself if you'd prefer. If you are looking for an actual Coat of Arms I believe an office has been opened in Canada and that they offer full research, design and even drawing in the style of their time. When finished you'll have a true Coat of Arms that is fully registered. I'll try to locate the contact info for them and put it here. If anyone has it already and would like to share just send me an email.
Remember, this is a symbol that will last your lifetime and can be used in numerous ways to represent you as an individual. It is also an eye catching image for a company, an organization, a group and other uses too numerous to mention.

TOME The Laws That Bind Genealogy Artwork Poetry & Song Back to the Dungeon with ye


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Lance Brydges
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Namárië an si

Browser PerformanceINTERNET EXPLORER 8 PROs -Window Status, ALT quotes & tab icons work. Dagger & ILU cursors work but active content permission makes it look malicious. CONs-Scroll opens instantly instead of slow roll. Orbs rise instantly on mouseover instead of floating slowly. The cause is that the animations run even on mouseout so any that are set to run a limited number of times run out so on mouseover you see only the frame where the animation stops. A work around is to make all animations run "forever" which may work for some but most will appear clumsy or glitchy. Border="0" is necessary to hide border around scroll.
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