My personal achievement
Although they aren't registered with the College of Arms - as is requisite for a New Zealander - due to lack of funds, my coat of arms serve as my personal symbol. You might recognise a simplified version at the top of my homepage.
The burning tower and star is a personal sigil that predates my interest in heraldry; due to my strong attachment to it, it was incorporated unchanged. Although it's a somewhat... destructive symbol, I'd say it works well for me, and it has had a variety of meanings over time.
Since I like crests that echo the escutcheon, mine carries over some of its elements - the stars also reflect the infinite wonder of the night sky. The wings mirror German crests composed of wings or banners, and the woman bearing them references my interest in the humanities, among other things. Her claws serve as a visual balance to the design, and reflect my childhood interest in birds.
A blazon is a written description of the arms that all depictions are based on; anything outside it is the purview of the artist. Mine goes like so:
Argent, a one-windowed tower proper windowed and doored of the first issuant from a flame proper; in the chief a mullet Vert
Mantling: Vert doubled Argent
Crest: A demi-woman proper, vested in a tunic Argent, arms raised to support wings displayed of the first semy of mullets Vert; issuant from each wing, a claw Gules; on the forehead, a mullet of the last
Motto: Lucem porta in tenebris (In the darkness, carry the light; lit. Carry the light in the darkness)
The nature of heraldry means that vastly different results can be derived from the same arms.