Welcome to the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal!

Flags of the Nordic countries
A herald wearing a tabard

Vexillology (from the Latin vexillum, a flag or banner) is the scholarly study of flags, including the creation and development of a body of knowledge about flags of all types, their forms and functions, and of scientific theories and principles based on that knowledge. Flags were originally used to assist military coordination on the battlefield, and have evolved into a general tool for signalling and identification, particularly identification of countries.

Heraldry encompasses all of the duties of a herald, including the science and art of designing, displaying, describing and recording coats of arms and badges, as well as the formal ceremonies and laws that regulate the use and inheritance of arms. The origins of heraldry lie in the medieval need to distinguish participants in battles or jousts, whose faces were hidden by steel helmets.

Refresh with new selections below (purge)

Selected coat of arms

Seal of Dartmouth College

The Seal of Dartmouth College is the official insignia of Dartmouth College, an Ivy League university located in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. Anglo-American law generally requires a corporate body to seek official government sanction, usually in the form of a charter, in order to operate. Such chartered bodies normally authenticate their official acts by marking them with a distinctive seal. The seal's design is usually complicated to avoid counterfeiting, but it can also express something about the institution's history or mission. Dartmouth College is one such chartered body, and it obtained its official seal in 1773. (more...)

Selected flag

Red ensign of Singapore

The Red Ensign of Singapore is a civil ensign used by privately-owned, non-military ships that are registered in Singapore. The overall design of the ensign is a modification of the national flag, with the ratio of the width to the length extended to 1:2. The ensign was created by law in 1966. The use of this ensign is regulated by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). According to the MPA, the Red Ensign is the only ensign to be used on Singaporean civilian ships, and the national flag is not an acceptable substitute. The ensign must be hoisted on all Singaporean ships on entering or leaving port. (more...)

Selected article

1957 Coat of Arms of Québec with French, English and Canadian elements

Canadian heraldry refers to the cultural tradition and style of coats of arms and other heraldic achievements in modern and historic Canada, including national, provincial, and civic arms, noble and personal arms, ecclesiastical heraldry, heraldic displays as corporate logos, and Canadian heraldic descriptions.

Canadian heraldry derives mainly from heraldic traditions in France and the United Kingdom while adding distinctly Canadian symbols, especially those which reference the First Nations and other aboriginal peoples of Canada. Canadian heraldry has a unique system of cadency for daughters inheriting arms, and a special symbol for United Empire Loyalists. Since 1988, both personal and corporate heraldry in Canada is officially governed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which reviews all applications for arms. (more...)

Selected picture

A caricature of Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty

A caricature of Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty, Garter Principal King of Arms, from the 1 December 1904 edition of Vanity Fair painted by Sir Leslie Ward.

Did you know...

Annunciation commissioned by Ferry de Clugny, 1465-75

  • ...that the flags hoisted by the Finnish icebreaker Tarmo on 3 March 1918 included a large white tablecloth?

Related portals

Major topics and navigation

Heraldry Web resources


  • Belgium - The Council of Nobility, Flemish Heraldic Council and Council of Heraldry and Vexillology of the French Community
  • Canada - Canadian Heraldic Authority and see also Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges
  • England, Wales, and Northern Ireland - The College of Arms
  • Ireland - The Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland
  • Netherlands - High Council of Nobility
  • Portugal - Instituto da Nobreza Portuguesa
  • Scotland - The Court of the Lord Lyon
  • South Africa - South African Bureau of Heraldry
  • Sweden - National Board of Heraldry, The National Archive
  • United States Army - The United States Army Institute of Heraldry


  • Greek Heraldry Society
  • The Academy of Heraldic Science Czech republic
  • The American College of Heraldry
  • The American Heraldry Society
  • The Augustan Society
  • The Australian Heraldry Society Inc.
  • Bulgarian Heraldry and Vexillology Society
  • The Center for Research of Orthodox Monarchism
  • Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society
  • Chiltern Heraldry Group
  • The College of Dracology
  • Croatian Heraldic and Vexillologic Association
  • The Finnish Heraldic Society
  • Fryske Rie foar Heraldyk
  • Hellenic Armigers Society
  • Guild of Heraldic Artists
  • Genealogical Society of Ireland
  • Heraldry Research Institute (Japan)
  • The Heraldry Society
  • The Heraldry Society of Africa
  • The Heraldry Society of New Zealand Inc.
  • The Heraldry Society of Scotland
  • The Heraldry Society of Southern Africa
  • The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies
  • The International Association of Amateur Heralds
  • Italian Center of Vexillological Studies
  • Lancashire Heraldry Group
  • Macedonian Heraldry Society
  • New England Historic Genealogical Society Committee on Heraldry
  • Norwegian Heraldry Society
  • Oxford University Heraldry Society
  • Polish Heraldry Society
  • Polish Nobility Confederation
  • Real Academia Matritense de Heráldica y Genealogía - Royal Academy of Heraldry and Genealogy of Madrid
  • Romanian Institute for Genealogy and Heraldry
  • The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada
  • The Russian College of HeraldryThe Russian College of Heraldry
  • Serbian Heraldic Society
  • Societas Heraldica Scandinavica
  • Societas Heraldica Slovenica
  • Swedish Heraldic Society
  • Ukrainian Heraldry Society
  • Royal Association Genealogical and Heraldic Office of Belgium


  • Nordic Flag Society


  • Coat of Arms Visual Designer web-based program
  • Puncher Heraldry Program
  • Blazonry Server - pyBlazon
  • DrawShield - creates SVG shield or arms image from blazon
  • CoaMaker - web-based tool
  • Blazon95 and BLAZONS! 2000, older Windows applications


  • Heraldry, historical and popular : with seven hundred illustrations (1863)
  • A Complete Guide to Heraldry (1909)


  • Flags & Heraldry Forum
  • Heraldry of the world
  • Civic Heraldry Bibliography (over 2000 entries)
  • Civic Heraldry of England and Wales
  • Scots Civic Heraldry
  • Heraldic collector's items
  • A Display of Heraldrie by John Guillim
  • Heraldry Online
  • The Armorial Register
  • Flags on antique share certificates


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