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Frequently Asked Questions



We'll do our best to answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Heraldry and this site.

If your question is not answered here, please feel free to email us after you've read this section.

License Agreement

Q: Is my shopping experience Safe?

A: Shopping on our site is extremely safe. Our entire site uses TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption to protect all information exchange between your computer any our server. We comply with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) as required by our payment processing partner PayPal.
In fact, we go beyond the minimum required industry standards. we collect the minimum amount of information needed to provide our services and we never see let alone store things like credit card or other payment details, we leave all of that to our payment processing partner that has a dedicated security department.

Q: How do I pay for my purchase?

A: Email us the name of the package(s) you would like to purchase and any questions you may have, and we will create an invoice showing prices and discounts for your approval, and send you links to view or pay it online through our payment partner with VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, DISCOVER, BANK AND CHECK.
Once you’ve completed the payment process you will be sent an email to confirm your purchase along with a user name and password with instructions on how to download the package(s) and access other bonus resources.
For your piece of mind, having your payment handled by our payment processor PayPal adds a third party escrow/dispute resolution layer to the payment process.

Q: Do you offer special Bundle pricing?

A: Yes. If you wish to purchase more than one title, a special bundle price will be available to you. EMAIL the office and tell them which titles you want to buy and they'll tell you what your best bundle price would be. Our bundle offers include a discount that increases with additional packages.

Q: Can you review the Gold Collection Bonuses?

A: Here are the mainfeatures:

BLAZON WEBSITE: Armorial Gold has a special Blazons website accessed by password. Blazons are heraldic descriptions of Coats of Arms. The database is searchable by surname or content and includes some 62,000+ blazons. It features blazons from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It is the largest English searchable blazon site on the Internet. As a special Bonus, Armorial Gold Collection members get free full access. Currently we are also offering all members limited access. It’s a wonderful feature!

THE TARTAN WEBSITE: The Armorial Gold Tartan site features over 500 high resolution Tartans in Jpeg format, scanned from actual cloth. You can download them as you need them. Scottish Clan tartans, Scottish District & Special tartans, and Canadian Provincial tartans. These tartans make fantastic backgrounds for heraldry and craft projects.

Q: How can we make money using Armorial Gold art?

A: Although most folks buy Armorial Gold products for their own enjoyment, designing coats of arms for themselves, friends and family tree, many buy Armorial Gold products to start or add to a business. You can print, imprint, silk-screen, embroider, sublimate, etch, engrave, emboss, carve and more, on any material, using AG art, and sell the finished product. It's a great way to make extra money with a very low investment.

Q: Do you design custom coats of arms?

A:Yes we do. If you don't want to buy the Gold collection or Family Design collection and design your own coats of arms, the heraldic artists at Armorial Gold can design it for you. The first thing you need to do is email the office stating the surname and country of origin.

Q: Why are your collections in Vector Art?

Vector images are made up of many individual, scalable objects. These objects are defined by mathematical equations rather than a grid of dots, so they always render at the highest quality, retaining smooth curves and sharp edges as they are resized. They can be scaled up or down without any loss of quality.

Vector art is key for printing. Since the art is made from a series of drawing instructions it will print very crisply even when resized. For instance, one can print a vector logo on a small sheet of copy paper, and then enlarge the same vector logo to billboard size and keep the same crisp quality.

Because they're scalable, vector-based images are resolution independent. You can increase and decrease the size of vector images to any degree and your lines will remain crisp and sharp, both on screen and in print.

Because vector files are made up of objects which group drawing commands, colors can easily be changed simply by selecting the object and changing its fill color. In our files we try to group the parts of the drawings that generally have their color changed together, so in many cases a single color change will change the color of all related parts of an image (teeth and claws for instance).

Another advantage of vector images is that they're not restricted to a rectangular shape like bitmaps. Vector objects can be placed over other objects, and the object below can show through the transparent parts (a required feature when designing coats of arms). Vector images can have transparent backgrounds and transparent holes.

Here are the main vector file formats:

Windows meta-file (wmf), Scalable Vector Graphics (svg), Adobe Illustrator (ai), Corel Draw (cdr), Encapsulated PostScript (eps), Portable Document Format (pdf)

Bitmap images (also known as raster images) are made up of pixels in a grid. Pixels are picture elements; tiny dots of color that make up what you see on your screen. They generally have a solid background and cannot be increased in size without showing degradation in quality. Typically used for photos and scanned-in images, and where true to life renderings are needed (photos). Here are the typical raster (bitmap) file formats:

Windows Bitmap (bmp), Tagged Immage File Format (tiff), Compuserve Graphics Interchange Format (gif), Joint Photographic Experts Group (jpeg), PhotoShop Document (psd), and Portable Network Graphics (png),


You will need graphic software that will allow you to open and edit vector images. Check out our vector format page where you will find a partial list of compatible software. If you're not sure whether you can work with the file formats offered, you can ask for a free sample.

Q: Are the art collections royalty-free?

A:Yes. There are no royalty fees, and your license to use Armorial Gold art, is good for life!

Q: How long have you been in business?

A:We were in development from 1999, opened a test site in 2000, and started (officially) on the Internet in 2001 and have over 3500 customers worldwide.

Q: How do I know I can read the files?

    A:Before you make any purchase we encourage you to ask for a Sample. All Armorial Gold™ bulk package download archives are available to you in either WMF (Windows), or CDR (Corel Draw). Both are Vector type formats that do not lose their resolution when enlarged. As a free bonus, we have recently added online download access to individual files in additional formats. The bonus download feature includes download access to new files that may be added to your package for one year from your purchase date, renewal options are yet to be announced.
    For most images in the collections the online downloads will be available in WMF, CDR, PDF, AI and EPS Vector formats and high resolution JPEG and PNG bitmap formats, with the PNG having transparency enabled.

      Click HERE to request a sample to verify that your software can import or insert graphic files in our formats.

      If you are a Mac® user, our clients tell us you can read .WMF by using Adobe Illustrator 10+, Adobe CS, or Corel Draw for Mac…, newer version of Adobe Illustrator opens both formats.

      If you don't have Mac graphic software that can read the wmf file format we suggest you download Mac software called "GraphicConverter" It opens 175 file formats, including wmf, and converts to over 75 by single file or by "batch". Here is the link.

      MAC OS X includes it with their platform bundle. It is an award winning shareware. Once you have loaded the software try an Armorial Gold Sample.


      WMF Converter Pro is WMF image viewer and converter application on Mac. It allows you to import single, or multiple WMF (Windows Metafile), images on your mac, render, preview, convert, and save either all, or just selected wmfs/emfs as mac native images in one of 8 image formats, including vector formats (PDF, EPS) and the raster ones, such as TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, JPEG

Q: What is the best software for Viewing and Editing Armorial Gold Art?

A: There are hundreds vector drawing and illustration software programs. The WMF is the most Internationally popular file format and opens in hundreds of desktop and draw and design programs. The Corel Draw (CDR) format opens in Corel Draw 8,9,10,11,12, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, X8 (and newer) and also opens in Illustrator 9, 10, 11, Creative Suite versions 1-6, and Illustrator Creative Cloud (CC)

For a free editor, we recommend Inkscape (www.inkscape.org).
Mac users can contact us for help installing InkScape as Apple recently changed some things that make the installation of Inscape more difficult than typically expected for Mac software. The Inkscape developers are working towards eliminating the extra steps but we can help you get it working while they work on the update.

Here is a partial list (probably out of date) of programs that can read and edit the WMF format.

Serif Draw (a free edition is available)

Corel Draw

Smart Draw

Illustrator (PC)

Freehand (PC)

Companion Software

MS Publisher

Print Shop

Paint Shop Pro (V 8 +)

Adobe Pagemaker

Quark Express (PC)

Many Open Source Programs, such as Open Office Draw and Libre Office Draw

For a more complete list go here: FILE FORMATS

Q: Are there special Upgrade pricing for AG clients?

Armorial Gold Upgrades

A: Yes. If you are an existing customer and wish to upgrade to a more current version of the software you purchased, special prices are available to you. This includes even customers from when we first started on the Internet in 2001 to current customers.

Q: What do our customers think?

Greetings to you all, Just received my order and want to express my gratitude for the bonus and my continued appreciation of your great product and wonderful service. I have been fortunate to have found you as I have learned a great deal and been inspired by your wonderful artwork. I have had many hours of fun playing with it. Many thanks… Dave

Hi Ryan; Letting you know that I made a few samples of the clan badges for my t-shirt shop and they are selling very well. Your art is so smooth, it makes it easy. I’ll probably get the Irish collection in a month or so. BTW thanks for helping me with changing some spellings on the banner....

Hello Mike/ I can’t believe how much art is included in the Gold collection. Last year I bought another collection (before I found yours). It has about 2500 images and I paid $99. The quality of your art is far superior, and 5 times the images...WOW!...like your newsletter, hope you’ll continue with providing helpful tips....

AG Team... What customer service! I can’t believe it. You guys are the best. Special thanks to Rick for helping me with my download....

Hi Ryan; Thanks for helping me create my family coat of arms....I’ve become quite popular with my friends, as everyone wants me to design a coat for them...

Rick; Thanks for helping me put my motto in the banner, and your advice on setting up my goat with chain and collar...

Mike; Just a note to thank you for your amazing customer service. I’ve been dealing with you for about 2 years now, and you guys are so quick and so helpful. Any chance of you coming up with a Russian collection?

Hi Mike; Thank you for translating the French blazon for me. Rietstap’s is a terrifc resource but my French is poor. I see you’ve got a French-English heraldry translator on the Member resources page, now. Very helpful...

AG Team. Got my Gold collection today and everyting is great...more art than I ever imagined. Thought I’d let you know.

Thanks Gretchen. For re-sending my password for the Member resources site. I need to download some tartans and a couple of textures...you’re a life-saver.

Hey Ryan; Thank you for creating the parted shield for me. Your customer service should get an award!

Ryan; From the bottom of my heart, Thank You. I am still trying to learn, but at 70 yrs it is a bit difficult, and the help that I receive from you and Mike, has been truly phenomenal, and I really appreciate it. God Bless.

Would like to express my appreciation for the superior customer service, Ryan. This is the second year that I have been doing business with AG, and I will continue to do so. The artwork is superb and the Customer service is top-notch!!

Dear Mike, Received the CD-ROM and must say I am impressed with the product and the versatility of your clipart - I shall certainly be singing your praises to all my fellow heraldists.

Mike, I am so pleased with your service. Just thought I'd give you a pat on the back. You deserve it. Thanks again.

Q: What reference material does AG use when researching coats of arms and/or Family Shields?

A: Here’s a list of some of our principal sources:

1 - Rietstap’s Armorial General; it was compiled in the late 19th century by Johan Baptiste Rietstap from the Netherlands, and contains some 130,000 blazons of European Families.

2 - Burke’s General Armory; a registry of Armorial Bearings for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. by Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms

3 - Dizionario Storico - blasonico delle famiglie nobilie notabili Italiane; probably the best resource for Italian coats of arms; it was authored by G. B. Di Crollalanza in 1886 and features about 1400 blazons.

4 - The Encyclopaedia Heraldica, 1828, by William Berry, who was the registering clerk for 15 years, for the College of Arms.

5 - A Complete Body of Heraldry, Joseph Edmondson, 1780

6 - Grosses Wappenbuch - Johann Siebmacher's (1605); nobility of Bavaria, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bukovina, the Baltic states, Alsace, and numerous other kingdoms and principalities on the continent…

7 - Irish Families - Edward MacLysaght, former Chief Herald of Ireland.

8 - Irish Arms - Paul Murtaugh

9 - La Methode du Blazon - C.F. Menestrier

10 - Diccionario de Heraldica - J.A. Schnieper, one of our Spanish resources.

11 - Armorial Lusitano - a Portuguese resource, by Zairol

12 - Bolton’s American Armory - Charles Knowles Bolton, American Heraldry

13 - L'Heraldique Napoleonienne-Philippe Lamarque

AG has hundreds of reference books in its Library…

Q: How does AG determine which coat of arms / family shield to feature?

A: First, one must accept that Heraldry is not an exact science. In the periods of early heraldry, blazons (descriptions) were recorded by hand and accordingly the written records were subject to interpretation. Heraldic writers often differed in their descriptions because of this but also, because arms granted by heraldic authorities were based on, in many cases, the “spoken” word of the registrant.

Many surnames do not have a coat of arms; some have one, others have hundreds. AG attempts to determine the oldest on record. If this is not immediately known, usually the first in a blazon manuscript is chosen; this does not, however, mean it’s the oldest, as suggested by some heralds.

AG does its best not to use name variants or anglicized versions of a surname; rather, it uses the exact spelling as originally registered. Genealogical experts suggest that each name can have 6-8 spelling variants, with many having 20 or more; some online databases use this assumption to bolster their number of arms featured, and display the same arms for all of them. This practice is not recommended as many of the spelling variants they assign the same arms to, actually had distinct coats of arms registered.

Please keep in mind that coats of arms were granted to individuals not surnames. However, it's perfectly acceptable to display a coat of arms granted to someone with whom you share the same surname. The coats of arms provided by Armorial Gold are in most cases, based on arms recorded hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

Q: What is Your RefundPolicy?

A: As with all Digital Art, there are no refunds. This prevents folks from copying the art to their hard-drive, then seeking a credit or refund. If any of the art is damaged, we will repair or replace it, without charge.

Q: What happens if my computer crashes and I lose my AG art?

A: It is the responsibility of AG members to make the appropriate backs-ups. However, if your crash (or any other incident) happens within 6 months of purchase, we will provide you with a free replacement.

Q: Do you have a License agreement?

A: Yes, as is the case with all digital art. Here is the Link: License Agreement


Our Commitment: Armorial Gold is committed to respecting your privacy and protecting your personal information. This Privacy Statement explains the current information management practices at our website. The handling of all personal information by Armorial Gold Heraldry Services is governed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). We are committed to protecting your privacy whether you are browsing for information or conducting business with Armorial Gold electronically. When you visit our Web site, we will not collect your personal information unless you choose to use and receive online products and services that require it. For transactions involving credit cards, Armorial Gold systems use up-to-date security protocols to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of information and systems. Cookies: The Armorial Gold website does not currently use persistent cookies. We use session information to keep you logged in during your visit and to enable some of the interactive features. Session information is discarded when your session expires after a period of inactivity. We may eventually offer the use of persistent cookies to enable you to stay logged in. If we do offer that as an option, they will be first party cookies (ie. only our website and you can read them) and you will have to opt-in by manually checking a check-box to enable them.
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We hope your questions have been answered, if not, please feel free to contact us.

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Copyright Information

Copyright © 2001-2023 - Armorial Gold Heraldry Services.
Our Heraldry Art is hand drawn in vector format by our graphic artists. Heraldic art samples are provided as a courtesy to potential buyers and the heraldry samples remain the property of Armorial Gold Heraldry Services. Reproduction in any form other than in the manner stipulated in the Armorial Gold Heraldry Services license agreement or FAQ section or by special arrangement is strictly prohibited.
All Heraldry Art and Heraldry Clipart, vector and bitmap, including: Gods and Goddesses Clip-art, Saints Clipart, Italian Coat of Arms Images, Birds of Prey Clipart, Heraldic Alphabets clipart, Spanish Coat of Arms images, English and British Coat of Arms images, Irish coat of arms images, Das Wapen German Coat of Arms images, Dutch Coats of Arms images, French Coat of Arms Images, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian Coat of Arms images, Polish Coat of Arms Clipart, Portuguese Coat of Arms, Austrian Coat of Arms, Swiss Coat of Arms, Welsh Coat of Arms clipart, American Coat of Arms Coats images, Heraldry Badge images, Heraldic Crest images, Irish Coat of Arms Clipart, Knighthood Orders images, and all other heraldic, coat of arms, or companion images contained in this site including downloads are copyright Armorial Gold Heraldry Services. Heraldic Symbolism information in our Heraldry symbolism library and Heraldic definitions in out Heraldry Dictionary are copyright Armorial Gold Heraldry Services.
All heraldic and companion images purchased through this site are governed by a license agreement executed between the buyer and Armorial Gold Heraldry Services.