Adding Ordinaries | DrawShield

Adding Ordinaries

We have added some interest to our shield by splitting the field into two but we can do more by adding an ordinary. You can think of these as "big shapes" that fit across the field (the shield background, remember?). Ordinaries are usually quite large, obvious features that always appear in the same position on the shield. Ordinaries have a colour and, as we saw with divisions earlier, the colour in blazonry almost always comes AFTER the object.


Let's look at one example, the chevron. We already have a clue about what it might look like from the previous page, where we said that per chevron split the shield into two parts by an inverted 'V' shape. Blazonry is consistent, so we can expect the chevron ordinary to be something that is also 'V' shaped, and indeed this is the case. Using some of our newly found colours we can create the image to the right. Can you work out what its blazon would be?

Recall that the field comes first, in this case, plain white, or argent, then we have a black chevron, so that is a chevron sable, giving us another complete blazon:

Argent, a chevron sable

Note that we have a put a comma in there, and made things easier to say by adding 'a'. In most cases, we can add punctuation to the blazon wherever we think it will help, but we don't have to do it.

Again, this is your chance to try a few things out. Based on what you already know of divisions, you might have guessed that there are ordinaries called a fess, a pale and a bend. Try using these as part of a blazon in the box to the right and see what appears. Don't forget that you can also have a divided field AND an ordinary, just remember to ensure that you provide enough different colours.

There is one other ordinary that is very important and this is the chief. It appears as a thick bar across the top of the shield and is very common. It has a special feature in that all of the other things on the shield get scrunched down to make room for it. We will see an example of this on the next page, when we talk about charges