Love & War

Over the past week or so I’ve been working on a new personal project on the theme of Love & War so I though’t I’d share a summary of the thought process behind it and an update on how it’s going.
All is fair in love and war is an idiom that I’ve heard hundreds of times but upon hearing it recently I started doing a few doodles and felt I could produce some interesting work from it.

I didn’t really know what direction I wanted to go in or what I wanted to produce from it so I simply started by looking at the some of the most obvious visual representations of love and war to try and generate some ideas. The most obvious representation of love is undoubtedly…

The love heart is a symbol that’s easily illustrated and as a result you’re just as likely to see it on a greetings card as you are to see it etched into a school table or furthermore in a status update on Facebook.

Their isn’t a symbol for war that is universally recognised in the way the love heart is for love so this proved to be more challenging and as a result interesting. The armed forces were an obvious starting point due to them being the most instrumental people in wars (besides the politicians) and so I started looking at how their identified visually. military flags
Most branches of armed forces have a seal or flag and further to that award badges and other insignia as symbols of authority or tokens of achievements. Military flags and seals often give a good idea of what the country stands/stood for and when they were established. Image 1A is the flag of the British Army, the presence of the crown points to the monarchy we have in place whereas images 1B & 1C are the seals of the USA and Brazil which are both republics.

I like the way different elements are brought together in military seals/insignia to indicate what is worth fighting for or defending so I thought this was a good starting point.

By this point I’d started to look at the similarities between love and war to see how I could mesh the two together to produce something visually, the two are in many ways polar opposites but looking at them in more depth led me to some ideas worth developing. This is a summary of a mish mash of thoughts, observations and doodles in a notepad so I apologise if this a bit hard to follow lol.

When a war takes place their tends to be two sides who each take up the role of either the aggressor or the defender, both are willing to fight or defend for what they believe in whether it be something of financial value or a moral belief. For a relationship to develop into love their has to be two people and although not always the case their tends to be one person more reluctant to open up than the other. Image Hosted by So I grouped together the two roles that I see as most similar with the intention of producing a coat of arms that represents the mindset of each group. I also gave each group a Latin name, the translations are:
    • Agressor & Pursuer = Instigo to incite, instigate, urge
    • Defender & Resister = Contegoto cover, shield, protect
        I decided that the heart symbol was going to be central to both coat of arms but the usual curvy appearance of a heart has a comforting quality so I decided to make it more angular to make it more in fitting with the military theme.
Heart Transformation
        I decided to start with the seal of the Contego group (Defender & Resister) so I was looking at anything related to military defence that would spark an idea of how to visualise the defensive mind state. After looking at the Pentagon (Us headquarters for the state of defence) I eventually came around to the idea of using the shape of the Pentagon. This symbol was going to be the centre piece of the coat of arms in a similar fashion to the military seals and flags I’d looked at.
Heart Pentagon
        I wanted to make some patterns to use as borders for the seal so I repeated and rotated the main heart symbol.
Heart Decoration
        Now that I was settled on the main elements of the coat of arms it was just a case of putting the pieces together in different ways until I could settle on a coat of arms formation I was happy with. I tried various shapes and styles but eventually settled on the one below…for now anyway.
Contego draft
        I’ve been looking at a lot of well designed coat of arms and insignia over the past few weeks and a number of varying styles but one particular style stood out to me,Russian constructivism. The style is heavily associated with the propaganda posters of the early Soviet Union and more recently has been adopted by Shephard Fairey who owns Obey Clothing. I was influenced by the style throughout the design of my coat of arms and will be looking at it more when I add the type elements.
Soviet Emblems
        After looking at various other emblems I decided to add some depth to my coat of arms through the use of line shading.
Contego Shaded
        I’ve got quite a few ideas of where to go next but I’ve still got quite a lot to do before I’m finished with this coat of arms, I know this breakdown has been a bit sketchy but if you’ve got any questions feel free to ask.
        I’ll update again when I’ve made some more progress,thanks for reading.

One Response to “Love & War”

  1. NathanNatha

    This is nice. I came across it looking for angular heart designs. I like your explanation of things.


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