Gladman & Norman designs Elizabeth Cross

Birmingham-based group Gladman & Norman has designed the new Elizabeth Cross, an award which will be given to the families of British armed forces personnel killed in action or by terrorist attacks since 1945.

This is the first time the name of a reigning monarch has been given to an award since the George Cross was created in 1940.

Dayna White, the designer of the cross, says she worked on it for around a year, to ‘quite a strict brief’ from the Ministry of Defence. She says the award had to feature a secular cross, a wreath and national symbols of the four countries of the UK.

A number of designs were produced during the process, some of which incorporated elements such as different colours or silver gilts, before the final six were put in front of the Queen for her to make the final choice.

White says, ‘As the project was so sensitive, for a long time we didn’t know what it was for. We found it that it was going to be for soldiers who died in operations, so we referred to it as the “died in operations medal”. We only discovered yesterday that it was going to be called the Elizabeth Cross.’

Speaking of the sensitivities of designing a cross for mourning families, White says, ‘It begins to build up on you. Initially it’s just another design brief, then, when you find out what it’s for, you think, “Oh my God, this is really important”.

‘You have to try to empathise with the people who will receive it and be respectful and sensitive.’

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  • Noonanio November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    If you need to be respectful and sensitive, why make it sharp and angular…looks like a ninja star

  • Paul Kiler November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Hi Noonanio,
    Yes, it is sharp… there would be arguments from both sides of this sharp/softened design argument. And in the brief, of course, is the historical design precedents, are you familiar with any of these war/sacrifice medals, particularly of Great Britain?

    For me, the tactility of faceted edges and sharpness matches quite well the level of strength required to make such a sacrifice, that a rounded, soft edged almost fuzzy-wuzzy feeling cross medal would probably come off as.. To me the edges give the medal it’s gravitas, and the natural/organic elements are great design contrast to the roundedness provided by the organic. An all rounded corner/edge cross medal would fail my design ethic when mixed with the organic softness.

    Paul Kiler

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