Because no, four different official versions are not enough: I had to design my own.
Being the Ravenclaw that I am, of course I had to make it into a huge research project on heraldry. I learned a lot, including the fact that J.K. Rowling probably didn’t do much heraldry research. Did you know that snakes stand for wisdom? Yeah, me neither, and I’m not sure it’s what Salazar Slytherin would have intended.
In terms of the great Ravenclaw color debate, both the movies and the books completely ignore actual heraldry. The two metals are or (gold) and argent (white/silver). Bronze isn’t used as a metal but the movies’ black raven on blue breaks the rule of tinctures. Black and blue are both considered colors, whereas coats of arms usually put colors on metals and vice versa. I could have done a blue and silver design, but what can I say? I’m attached to the blue and bronze eagle.
On a different note, what Harry Potter fans often refer to as a “house crest” is actually the shield part of a coat of arms, or the whole coat of arms. The crest is actually the thing that goes on top:
Women’s arms are typically displayed on a lozenge – a diamond – while men use the more well-known shield shapes. I thought about doing lozenges for Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but in the end, I went with shields for all four.
The shield divisions I used are meant to be very symbolic. A pale, or a stripe down the middle like I did for Gryffindor, represents bravery and military strength, while a chevron, the triangular division on the Hufflepuff shield, stands for protection. The chief – the top third of the shield being a different color – stands for rule and authority, which seems fitting for Slytherin, but could also be given as a reward for prudence and wisdom, which makes me think of Ravenclaw. The different lines used in the divisions represent the four elements, which Rowling has said she had in mind when she created the Hogwarts houses.
As for the other elements that I added, I think the swords are a fairly obvious reference to the Sword of Gryffindor. The scales represent justice (“where they are just and loyal”), and the quill and inkwell stand for educated employment (“wit and learning”). For Slytherin, I decided on a tower, which stands for grandeur and protection, and also tried to make it look something like a chess rook, to represent strategy.