I design armorials (armorial bearings, coats of arms) for those who wish to properly 'assume arms' of their own. Why would one wish to have a coat of arms designed? Well...
The terms "family crest" and "lastname coat of arms" are often misused to describe an armorial design belonging to an individual with a similar surname. There are hundreds if not thousands of unscrupulous businesses (typically called "bucket shops" by the heraldic community) that sell "surname" or "family" arms.
Keep in mind that arms are typically granted to an individual, and unless one is in direct line of descent (depending on the heraldic traditions of the country of origin), the use of these arms by any other than those who have been properly matriculated, is fraudulent at best. The sale of "surname" or "family" arms is a dishonorable practice. Unscrupulous vendors count on the perspective customer's lack of knowledge of the traditions of heraldry. To use arms that are not properly owned, usurps someone else's heraldic identity. Using someone else's arms is fundamentally a mix of identiy theft and property theft.
In the U.S. we are free to adopt any arms, and may pass those arms to our children. We are also free to use the arms of our ancestors if it is appropriate under the traditions of heraldry. When using the arms of ancestors, we must respect our ancestor by adopting the arms according to the traditions of the country in which the arms originated, following the long held traditions of proper matriculation.
What I do is to design arms based on whatever the armiger would wish shown in the arms. I am a member of International Association of Amateur Heralds - IAAH, and I try my best to retain the proper usages and customs of heraldry. Heraldry uses 'blazons' to describe arms. This is the symbolic language of heralds, and describes the shapes, symbols colors and positions of the items of the arms. For instance: I designed these arms for the International Fellowship of Chivalry Now. In the Arms, the silver (Argent) signifies truth, sincerity, peace, innocence and purity, while the Red (Gules) signifies magnanimity, military strength, warrior and the martyr. The 3 scallops (escallops) signify a pilgrimage, or in their case a Quest, and is from the personal arms of the founder. In the Crest, the phoenix symbolizes 'the rebirth of Chivalry'. Their motto, "Areté" means excellence - it is what their quest is for.
Their blazon is as follows:
Arms: Bendy of 6 Argent and Gules, on the central Gules portion three escallops bendwise Or.
Crest: Issuant from a nest a Phoenix in its flames wings displayed and elevated all proper.
Motto: ARETÉ (Excellence, the Greatest Good, or Highest Virtue!)
My own arms were designed in tribute to my mother Sally Maline Freeborn née Fagan and in memoriam for my father Gerald Edward Kasparek. Bruncvik's two-tailed lion, first used in 13th century Moravia, represents my dad's Czech ancestry. The three keys allude to the three children of Gerald, as well as to my own three daughters. The 8 point star (referred to as the Sternberk star) is from the coat of arms of the Kašpárek's ancestral town of Zlin.
The lion standing beneath the star is an allusion to the family legend of being descendants of Kaspar (Gaspar) who was one of the three magi who visited Christ in Bethlehem. 'Kaspar' in Persian is sometimes translated as 'treasure bearer' and the griffin is known from ancient times to be the guardian of treasure. 'Kaspar' is alternatively translated from Persian as 'treasured secret', the lion is standing within a tressure (treasure), and under the rose (sub rosa - or secret) held by the griffin in the crest, thus alluding to 'treasured secret'.
In the crest, the griffin is holding an heraldic rose, the griffin alludes to the Fagan side of the family as a griffin is used in the crest of well-known Fagan's arms. The rose represents motherhood and is a tribute to my mother, our 'Irish Rose'. The griffin is also known to be a representation of Christ as it has both heavenly and earthly aspects as a creature of the air (the eagle as king of the birds) and a creature of the earth (the lion as king of the beasts).
If you are interested in having an armorial created, please contact me or contact the IAAH for a herald.