Design, Techniques and Hints
Lady Sabine du Bourbonnais
In order to create a ceremonial atmosphere at baronial and kingdom court events, we have fashioned personal standards bearing our individual devices. Everyone in our Barony is encouraged to display their devices on a standard, even if your device isn’t registered … yet!
It is unusual, if not rare, for a standard to display an exact representation of an individual’s heraldic arms. More often than not, examples show a design based on the charges and colours that appear in the original design, which means, if you know what colours you are determined to have, and you have decided on your charges, you can design your standard - even if your device submission is bogged down in the quagmire that is the College of Heralds.
For example, this is Lady Salaberge de Granson’s device, which wasn’t registered until months after the standard on the right was completed.
When designing your standard, look for inspiration from period examples. These can be found in illuminations depicting camps and battle scenes etc; patent of arms and roll of arms documents; funereal certificates; needlework and tapestry designs.
Size and shape - It is important to get the size and shape of your standard correct. This means paying particular attention to the size, angle, and section divisions. The standard size we have used on the St Florian standards (sorry!) is 2.7m in finished length, and 1.05m in width. The hoist section is exactly 75 cm wide. Using the same measurements will ensure your standards appear, well… standard.
Please note – the Kingdom of Lochac has no sumptuary laws, this means that you can make your standards or gonfalons any size you like, we have chosen to make our standards to a regulation size so they have a greater visual impact.
Here are a few design elements that are commonly seen in period depictions of standards.
Colour – applying the normal rules of heraldic contrast will ensure the colours on your standard are easily distinguishable and visually striking even at distance. No metals on metals, no colours on colours.
Repetition – charges are often represented repeated down the fly of the standard, graduating in sizes. Usually seen in threes, and often interspersed with motto bands. A useful way of incorporating secondary charges is to show them strewn on the field (semy).
Secondary charges – these would include charges from your own heraldry, or you may wish to incorporate household badges or symbols of rank.
Diapering – this technique is used to overcome what is often called ‘le horror vacui’ which is basically an abhorrence of empty space in the design. If you are planning on using diapering, you will need to research an appropriate pattern for your time frame and culture. For an example – have a look at the argent/white sections of our Kingdom Standards, they are subtly diapered with a buttony cross pattern
Mottos – optional design element, usually incorporated into the design in one of two ways. On motto bands which break the standard design into segments, or in the body of the design on the fly of the standard.
Extant banner for the City of Ghent circa 1375 tempura on linen
Anecdotal accounts support the use of paint on fabric as a period banner and standard making technique, even though examples are hard to find. We have been using Permaset screen printing inks, which, thus far, have proven to be sufficiently colour fast. Having said that, none of our standards have been submitted to laundering or been out in anything heavier than a light rain shower. There are other (cheaper) fabric paints available, but we have found the Permaset paint is easy to use, mixes well, and gives good coverage. But be warned, you should always use it in a well ventilated space.
Permaset paint ‘sets’ best and becomes more waterproof if it is heat-treated – ie: ironed. To heat treat our banners, we usually lay them out on hot concrete for a day or so, which is a lot easier than trying to iron every inch for a minute!
- Add a tiny bit of water to your paint to give it a better consistency, be careful not to water it down. eg – use only a tablespoon of water to a bowl full of paint.
- Avoid loading your brush up with too much paint when doing edges of subjects, or any detailed areas.
- Try to edge up to lines rather than paint along them, you will have more brush control this way and get crisper lines
- Start with darker areas of your design – it is easier to disguise a smudge or mistake on a completed dark patch than to try to hide a dark mark on a finished white section.
- Simplify the detail on the back of your banner – it will only rarely be seen from this side.
- Cover unused paint with cling wrap if you are going to leave it overnight – this will stop it from drying out on you
- Don’t put left over paint back into tubs – it can mysteriously turn your paint ‘off’ or even mouldy (probably due to bacteria introduced in the water).
- Good heraldic colours in Permaset are -
Sable – Jet Black
Gules – Bright Red
Purpure – Purple
Vert – Mid Green
Azure – Blue B
Or – Yellow R or Gold Lustre
Argent – Standard White or Bright Silver
- Plain white cotton – slubby looking if possible (drill is okay)
- 3.0m at 110 cm wide will make one
- 5.0m at 150cm wide can make two (and may prove more economical)
- Permaset fabric paints, available from Oxlades Art supplies in the Valley
- Bulk 1 litre tubs is more economical, sharing colours will work out cheaper
- Bias binding tape - Spotlight or Lincraft, loads of colours and widths available
- 2 or 3 colour binding - one metre of poplin of each desire colour
- access to a cutting mat, quilting ruler and roller cutter
- Brushes ranging from 2cm wide down to 0, 00 and 000 brushes for detail J
- 1m steel ruler, protractor, compass, dividers etc
- Lead pencils and eraser
- A photocopy of your device on overhead transparency
- Cling wrap
- Bowls/plates for paint
Lady Sabine du Bourbonnais
Publishing/Conversion to HTML for the St. Florian De La Riviere Website performed by David Bussenschutt -13th October 2004, with Permission.
Original Source Document is available here in Microsoft Word Format