Own business: opening a heraldic company

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Modern Ukrainian heraldry is represented both by amateurs of drawing coats of arms in private and by specialized companies. The former, as a rule, do not particularly follow the observance of the rules of heraldry that were established back in the Middle Ages, so their coats of arms can hardly be called classical. Rather, they are a kind of vinaigrette from everything seen in books on heraldry and the Internet.

Specialized companies, in turn, not only create coats of arms based on classic heraldic signs, but also try to provide a full range of services for creating, drawing, and sometimes even registering coats of arms. Last year, the turnover of heraldic companies amounted to UAH 3 to 5 million.

What makes this business attractive is the low threshold of entry – about $10-20 thousand. To start, you will need a room, a computer and a specialist in the development of symbols with knowledge of history, which often turns out to be the head of the company himself. There can be no random people in this business: personnel are recruited from graduates of historical departments of universities, former employees of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and sometimes even from museum workers, for example, the Museum of the History of Ukraine. In principle, a heraldic company can consist of five people, but large companies have more than a hundred employees. Some heraldic companies resort to poaching employees, and this is not surprising, because the demand for specialists is quite high, and there is practically no supply.

Heraldic companies note that, starting to work on the creation of the coat of arms of a certain territory, you should immediately prepare for difficulties. The main difficulty in the territorial coat of arms is to explain to the authorities that they really need a coat of arms. Also, a lot of effort is spent on coordinating the sketch of the future symbol with officials and its numerous discussions at round tables.

You can earn $1-5 thousand on territorial coats of arms. However, the main profit for companies comes not from the compilation and drawing of coats of arms, but from their replication. In other words, the company will earn 50% more from the production of badges, medals, flags, awards with the image of the coat of arms than from its creation. The main problem in creating both departmental and territorial coats of arms is the coordination of all plans with higher authorities. Earnings in this area are small, if we are talking only about the creation of the coat of arms itself. But the restoration of uniforms, the creation of award badges, as well as other products will bring the company a good profit. It all depends on the complexity of the order, but, as a rule, the cost of services is not less than $5,000.

A special direction in heraldry is corporate coats of arms. Modern corporate heraldry appeared in our country relatively recently, while in Europe it has been developing for quite a long time. Corporate heraldry is ordered mainly by companies operating in the consumer and service sectors. Most often, these are manufacturers of luxury jewelry, expensive furniture and wines, as well as educational institutions, which in this way are trying to demonstrate respect for the traditions of education and teaching.

Demand for corporate coats of arms has grown by about 30% over the past three years and is expected to increase by the same amount in the next two years. The cost of corporate heraldry ranges from $ 8-10 thousand, and this is taking into account the full heraldo-vexilogical (coats of arms, banners, flags) and phaleristic support (orders, awards, medals). For comparison, we note that in Russia, where the fashion for heraldry appeared earlier, prices for similar services often reach $15,000.

Personal coats of arms, unlike corporate ones, are not yet so widespread. Basically, their owners (armigers) are politicians, persons close to power or even show business figures. The main problem when working with personal heraldry is the desire of many armigers to create a new family coat of arms, although it can only be inherited. It’s like proclaiming yourself a prince.

Also, many customers ask to depict a baronial, ducal or princely crown on the coat of arms, therefore it takes a long time to explain that it is unacceptable to place a crown on the coat of arms of a person who is not the heir to the royal throne or a princely family.

Demand for personalized heraldry has begun to rise in the last three or four years. In Ukraine, the development and creation of a coat of arms for a future armiger will cost from $300 to $1,000. Although it all depends on how the coat of arms is made: in the form of a drawing on plain paper or in kind using precious metals and stones. For comparison, in the US, a personal coat of arms costs from $500, in France – about EUR800, and in the UK – at least GBP1 thousand.

An important point in the work of heraldic companies is the registration of the coat of arms. Since plagiarism is a fairly common phenomenon in Ukraine, experts recommend registering the entire coat of arms as an industrial design, and its individual elements as a trademark.

Private organizations can register the image of coat of arms in Ukrpatent as a trademark – the official fee in this case will be 600 UAH. for each type of activity. You can also register a heraldic symbol at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, paying UAH 1,300. plus the same fee. Personal coats of arms are registered by the Ukrainian Heraldic Society, the Kharkov Heraldic College and the Podolsk Heraldic College. True, it is worth noting that these are public organizations, and registration in this case is not completely legitimate, although the cost of the service ($10) can be called symbolic.

Despite all the difficulties of reviving ancient traditions, heraldic companies are optimistic. There are new departments that want to get their emblem. Therefore, departmental emblems will be actively developed in the near future.

The development of territorial heraldry is also predicted. Despite the fact that most cities and regions already have their own coats of arms, there are also areas that want to acquire their own symbols. In turn, this will contribute to the development of coats of arms for local state administrations and educational institutions.

And of course, personal heraldry will not stand aside. The number of companies that realize the advantages of the coat of arms over the logo will grow, experts are sure. The same applies to individuals: if a few years ago coats of arms were the privilege of only a select few, then in the future they will probably become available to the middle class as well.

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