Fig. 1



European Coat of Arms and Japanese Mons:
Mons are japanese symbols that are used as emblems for families (=Kamom). Basically it serves the purpose of a logo, so each family can identify via their personal symbol. They only contain one colour and depict a stylized animal or plant. Their simplicity conveys the logo of a quite contemporate logo. More colours and lush garnishments can be found, still they are not very popular as luxury and lush is not welcome. Mostly those emblems are framed in a circle.

Since the 12th decade, posh families already owned them as their emblem. No later than in the mid-19th century Mons became popular with all classes of people. Also the application on kimonos became common then.

Even if they don‘t have a big value in everydays life, almost each family nowadays has her own Mon. The Mon are used for logos, ceremonial acts as well as the Japanes Obdon festival where they remember the dead people. There are also family emblems (kamon) that are left to next generations. Usually, mons are applied on kimonos on both sides of the chest, on both sleeves and the back (Core77, 2016).


So, obviously people like to identify by some certain kind of logo, emblem or other „tool“ to just symbolize a form of unity and togetherness. Even if some of them are presented and showen in public so that it is recognizable at first glance (e.g. through clothing) they can also be presented to just a certain extent. For instance, the mon emblems are rather used discreetly and just convey this feel of togetherness by simply existing.

Fig. 2, Fig. 3





Dressing phenomenon of the 80s. Main purpose seems to be the visual presentation of unity.

Fig. 4


Here it is the significant pose the family uses to show their unity. 

Fig. 5

Fig. 6, Fig. 7




Iona Inglesby Domtone:

Iona Inglesby visualises the DNA structure by using a pattern. This colour codex is as unique as each person‘s fingerprint.

It aims to give people something unique that helps them to find out about themselves as well as distinguishing from other persons. Interestingly, she also uses the tool to depict same structures (patterns) of siblings and families. People can easily compare to each other. One of the main features is, that the products she communicates through are nicely designed and visually appealing. Except from uniqueness and identifying with your relatives the design factor might be one of the success reasons.

Why else would people buy those highly expensive products, that are not really practical.

Fig. 8



Camilla Catrambone  –  Portraits of my family:

Rather than depicting smiling faces of her family, photographer Camilla Catrambone uses a method that allows a lot more imagination, interpretation and fantasy while wallowing in a bit of nostalgia. She characterises them by showing representative objects or food. Especially, the part where she visulises her nanny renata by less means of food, plates and cuttlery feels especially interesting for me.

#depicting an individual by means of food

Fig. 9






Core77 (2016) Early Graphic Design: The Japanese Mon. Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Wikipedia (2016) Mon (Japan). Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).


Visual References:

Fig. 1: WhatsApp image of family tree G. (Edelmann, 2016)

Fig. 2: Wikipedia (2016) Wappen. Available at: (Accessed: 28 February 2016).

Fig. 3: Core77 (2016) Early Graphic Design: The Japanese Mon. Available at: (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Fig. 4: Awkward Family Photos (2016) 57 Matchy-Matchy Photos. (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Fig. 5: Awkward Family Photos (2016) You have to start somewhere. (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Fig. 6: The Goldbergs (2016) Spend time with your family this weekend. (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Fig. 7: Timesunion (2016) Sitcom toys with family foibles. (Accessed: 29 February 2016).

Fig. 8: Dotone (2016) Store. (Accessed: 1 March 2016).

Fig. 9: My Modern Met (2016) Store. (Accessed: 1 March 2016).