Jan 022017
Custom Illustration Masonic Mark

It is not often that you get a brief that is so full of energy, I instantly got the sense that James was knowledgeable and proud of his heritage, knowing exactly what he wanted for this Freemason symbol illustration to look like.  As I read, I could feel his excitement and enthusiasm for this design coming together. It was breath-taking to read how expressive he was in his detail, the descriptions of each feature was an artists dream, it was no wonder that I found myself driven to make this vision come to life!


“In early 2016, I joined the ‘United Supreme Grand Chapter of Mark and Royal Arch Masons of NSW and the ACT’ the chief associated Freemasonic order in NSW. When I received the Mark degree, I was given a ‘mark’ in the same way that ancient stonemasons were as far back as the building of the Pyramids or King Solomon’s temple.”

Custom illustration of a Australian Wedge-Tail Eagle

The aim was for me to capture a sense of Assertiveness in the Eagle without it coming off too aggressive. I found the best way to portray this was through the Eagle’s eye, they say your eyes are the window to your soul so that is where I began my plan to capture the strong wise gaze that these birds of prey are known for, the boldness is in the posture, wing outspread showing the full power of this magnificent bird.

“I wrote a brief and Jenn ran with it – and boy did she know how to run! Her first design was, conceptually, almost exactly what I wanted and needed only a little change to make it perfect.”

Sword & Pen Masonic Design from Dark Design Graphics

Why A Square & Compasses are Classic Masonic Symbols

I found myself at one point getting into a bit of a difficulty when it comes to the arrangement of the original Freemason Symbol. Being quite angular, there was no easy answer to be found. It was most important to James to have this as the central part of his design. After conversations where I felt like I was reading a story. I found myself getting deeper and deeper into his meanings, this helped me greatly. After energising conversations, we decided on the idea of using fine contrasts between the elements would be the best way to go, doing this subtle hint would make the Square and Compasses stand out from the rest of the design.

“The Square and Compasses are the classic masonic symbols which describe the individual’s attitude they should take in relation to the rest of the world. The Compasses represent that the judgement of intentions can, in the final analysis, only be done by the individual and God, while the Square represents how we enact those intentions to the world.”

Custom Illustration of a Sword and Pen Freemason Mark

“As this mark is unique – the USGC keeps a record of all marks ‘registered’ so it can never be repeated, I wanted this to form the central part of a personal seal”

After changing the layout of the Masonic Mark slightly I was able to keep its angular charm and with further research, I found that this pale blue is synonymous with distinguished metalwork. This colour was the key that would make this fit with the rest of the design, by adding depth through shading and shadows on the border to help make it pop out! 

“For me, find that my life is spent interacting with either the pen or the sword. As a teacher, the idea of education and interacting the world matches the pen image, while swords can be used to defend as well as a tool for a variety of different applications.”

Illustration of A Freemason Mark

“By the time I got her hand-drawn design sample, I was astonished by the level of research she must have done to get to understand both Freemasonry and how colours work.”

Creating The Freemason Symbol

The Australian Wedge-Tail Eagle is definitely my favourite! It tops the piece off perfectly. I put so much detail into this bird to really make it catch the eye. Another would have to be the old book with its old vintage pages, I find it complements the Eagle well with its simplicity, therefore, allowing the Eagle to take the full hit for detailed.

Australian Wedge Tail illustration from Dark Design Graphics

The rich browns of the Eagle are something I hadn’t thought of, but she captured that with a determination in the Eagle’s eye that captures the boldness with which Mason’s walk the earth. The blueing in the elements is a colour very widely used in Freemasonry but something I had not expected to see, this also matches the blueing found in very high-quality metalworking. This shows the exceptional research Jenn did to get to that point, and I was hugely impressed.”

The vintage paper effect was so much fun to make, I simply used the old fashioned tea stain effect. By soaking a tea bag in warm water and brushed and dabbed it all over the page. When doing this I would advise using thick good quality watercolour paper to avoid any wearing out as the thinner paper tends to rip. Once almost dry I used an old paintbrush to get the texture into the paper. 

Freemason Symbol & Script illustration by Dark Design Graphics

“She really read into my description to interpret elements that I had not explicitly stated but that made it pop. The use of a Roman Gladius rather than a more generic sword is something Jenn picked up from my History background, which matched the classical fountain pen perfectly.”

Freemason illustration with a personal Masonic Mark

Freemason Symbol Vector Design

When it came to doing the vector design of the project I wasn’t sure how to go about doing the Eagle and old book effect in a way for it to be on par, and reflect the same standard, as the hand-drawn artwork design. This took me longer than I originally anticipated as I went back and forth with techniques and effects and ended up going with the gradient approach by doing this I was able to make the Eagle have the depth that you see in the hand drawn artwork.

Freemason Symbol Vector Brand

“The service with Dark Design Graphics was exceptional. I had planned to talk to a tattoo company as they understand what ‘unique’ truly means and I originally approached Dark Design Graphics as I saw both a Templar sleeve and because of several heraldry samples, all of which really struck a chord with my history brain.”

Framed Freemason illustration

James was perfect! Even though he was emailing from the other side of the world his reply was always prompt and never brief. I find that He loves to express his feelings through compliments which makes the job so much more enjoyable and satisfying. Through James giving me all his trust and patience. Such a great customer to work with.

“I’ll be back to Dark Design Graphics for my next project and cannot recommend them highly enough.”

James Boyce – See James’ full Testimonial…

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