Heritage Structure | Section 8 – Badge creation process

Table of contents
  • Section 8 – Badge creation process (6-8-1)
  1. Continuity principle. To preserve CAF continuity and heritage, organizations such as branches, formations and units that are reactivated or modified retain their authorized badges. For example, a badge belonging to a ship name is passed unchanged to successive ships, so long as the spelling is the same, even if the origins of the word differ. Thus, the first three ships named Ottawa were named for the river while the fourth was named for the city. The request for exceptions must be justified. Adjustments under these circumstances are normally minimized to preserve visual historic links.
  2. New CAF badges follow traditional practices, principally those of military, heraldic and historic custom.
  3. The Canadian Heraldic Authority applies the following principles in the design of badges:
    1. Each element is chosen for its significance to the unit. The herald assigned the task to develop a badge guides the organization in choosing appropriate and meaningful themes. A design which is tied narrowly to a specific task or geographic location may seem inappropriate if circumstances change. Broader themes are thus encouraged.
    2. The elements of a badge must be represented in contrasting colours. This rule, which dates back to the Middle Ages, states that light colour elements (yellow or white) must be placed on a dark field (red, blue, green, black and purple) or vice-versa.
    3. Simplicity and symmetry are goals.
    4. The badge has to be unique. For this reason, the Chief Herald of Canada restricts the commonly requested charges such as maple leaves, globes, eagles, anchors, swords, and certain CAF traditional colours association.
    5. Modern Canadian practice prefers heraldic symbols and animals over naturalistic representations. Animals and elements of day-to-day life are represented in heraldic colours over natural ones.
    6. Portraits of actual buildings, people, and the like are used only in the very rarest of circumstances.
    7. The traditional elements of a coat of arms (such as a shield or a crest) are usually not included in CAF badges. Coats of arms may only be incorporated with their owner's permission.
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