Court of the Lord Lyon The Use of
Information Leaflet No. 1
NOTES ON THE USE OF
I. BY THE COMPANY
The arms may be used by
the company in any way or situation it chooses in order to signify the
companys identity. In commercial terms, in the ways in which a
trade-mark or "company image" device is normally used.
The arms may be shown on
a shield, both to signify the companys identity and to mark the
companys property, eg. the shield may be displayed on all
letter-headings, stationary, doors, buildings, vehicles, gates, tools,
packagings, etc. either in colour or in a simplified black and white
version clearly intended to represent the coloured original, as for
example in a stamp or branding iron.
The companys name may
accompany the shield or not, at the companys discretion, but it must
not be added to the shield by printing it across or within it as this
defaces or alters the arms. In effect, the companys arms are a visual
equivalent of the companys name, and can properly be used in any
situation where the display of the companys name would be
appropriate. Thus it is perfectly correct to use the arms to mark the
companys products, either in association with the companys name or
not, as with a trade-mark.
It is perfectly correct
for the company to display its arms upon shapes other than a shield,
where this may have some special purpose. A company flag, for example,
shows the companys arms on a rectangular shape instead of a shield,
but flags are dealt with later in this note. A rectangle, square,
roundel, triangle or free shape are all appropriate and correct shapes
for the display of arms, but the use of a diamond (rhombus) shape should
be avoided as this shape is reserved in heraldic usage for the display
of arms borne by a female.
Where a shape other than
a shield is used, the elements of the coat of arms should fill the
entire shape to its edges, just as they fill the shield. Leaving a space
around the edge would imply that the original arms had a border of that
COLOURS: There are
no "authentic heraldic colours". Any red is red to a herald,
provided it is clearly red and does not verge on purple or orange - or
pink! "Crimson" and "Vermilion" are both
"Red" heraldically, so a great deal of latitude is allowed to
the owner of a coat of arms in the tints he uses to colour it. In
general, the strongest and brightest tints of any particular colour will
be found the most suitable. This sounds as though it would produce a
garish result, but in practice it turns out otherwise. The heraldic
rules about the juxtaposition of colours prevent garish effects -
usually. Colours are usually shown in a plain flat application, matt or
glossy at the owners choice. But they can also be varied in texture,
particularly the metallic colours (treated later) at the owners
choice, and this is often very useful where a large area is being
METALS: This is
the heraldic term for gold and silver. These can be shown conventionally
as white or yellow, entirely as preferred. Silver can also be shown as
any of the "white" metals, such as aluminium, stainless steel,
nickel, chrome, etc., either in bright or satin finishes.
The two main colours, ie. the most prominently used, in a coat of arms
are available for use as "House Colours" or Livery Colours.
One of these is always the colour of the background of the coat of arms,
and the other is that which appears in the largest quantity. It is
correct and appropriate for the company to use these
in every suitable way as its House Colours, eg. in furnishings, carpets
(which can also display the coat of arms), curtains, uniforms (eg.
chauffeurs, guards, commissionaires), overalls, and as colours for the
works sports teams. It must be clear, however, that the works football
club is using the companys colours, not the football clubs
colours. Any of the companys buildings, vehicles, or property in
general can be painted in the House Colours.
II. BY THE PERSONNEL
(a) BY THE MANAGEMENT
COMPANY SEALS: These
correctly show the companys arms on a shield in the centre, usually
surrounded by a circlet bearing the companys name. The usual
restrictions on the use of any company seal apply to heraldic ones.
Expert advice should be taken on its design.
MOTOR CAR PENNANTS: These
should take the form of miniature flags, see later sub FLAGS. They may
be flown on the radiator cap (or where radiator caps used to be), on the
front wings, or on the centre of the front of the roof. The latter is
unusual, and so far as is known is only practised by the Royal Family
who have a special need for the flag to be visible in motor processions
among crowds. Motor car pennants (strictly "banners", as a
pennant is a triangular shaped flag) signify that the car contains the
person entitled to fly the flag. So in that persons absence from his
motor car the flag should be cased or removed. The display of the
companys flag on a motor car is restricted to the head of the
company, who represents the corporate authority of the company vested in
him. But it may also be flown on the car of anyone to whom his authority
has been temporarily delegated, and who therefore "represents"
him. The head of the company may "impale" the companys arms
with his own personal arms, ie. the flag is vertically divided down the
middle and his personal arms fill the right hand half as you look at it,
while the companys arms fill the left hand half. Strickly speaking he
should only display this "impaled" flag while acting on
company business, and cease to use it on his retirement or supercession.
"Impaled" is an odd word, heraldically meaning divided
"in pale", ie. vertically down the middle.
It is recommended that motor car pennants are (a) of
cheap materials of which the normal flag "bunting" is the
hardest wearing and cheapest. Pennants wear out quickly in the wind of
rapid motor cars and although synthetic materials such as nylon are more
expensive they give good results; (b) ordered in batches for the same
replacement reasons. If the companys arms have a gold or silver
background then Lurex material gives reasonably hard-wearing and very
It is correct for the head of the firm to fly both
the companys flag and his own personal banner on his motor car at the
same time, but not usually on the same staff. The usual solution is to
fly the companys flag on the off-side front wing and his personal
flag on the near-side front wing. In Britain the use of motor car flags
is apt to attract a deal of leg-pulling, but this is never free of envy
and is easily countered where the flag and its use are both legal and
(b) BY THE EMPLOYEES
BADGES: It is correct for
the companys employees to wear the companys coat of arms as a
badge, in the same way as a schools pupils wear the schools coat
of arms as a blazer badge. Similarly a small metal shield of the companys
arms may be worn by the companys employees to signify their
attachment to the company.
LIVERY COLOURS: May be worn
by the companys employees, eg. as overalls or as football jerseys by
the works football teams, as treated sub HOUSE COLOURS.
The companys flags
should be of square or rectangular shape and their entire area should be
occupied by the arms, as though the flag is a rectangular shield.
It is quite wrong to show the companys arms on a small shield in the
middle of, say, a white flag. This latter would mean that the shield of
the companys arms was white with another little shield in the middle.
Flags may correctly be
flown from a vertical staff by one edge, or suspended from horizontal
staves by the top edge. The latter is a useful method in indoor
exhibition stands. Small weights can be sewn in the hem of the lower
edge to help its hang. Flags intended for such vertical suspension in
indoor sites are not subject to the buffeting of the weather and very
spectacular ones can be embroidered to give substantial tone to
exhibition stands, or for draping on walls.
Flags are flown over
buildings and sites to convey the same message as would the use of the
companys shield, ie. to signify the companys identity. They can
properly be flown over all the companys buildings and their use need
not be restricted to head offices.
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