Summoning seals & glyphs

As a huge gaming geek, I love video games. As a huge design geek, I love ornaments and decorations.  Thus, I love good video games that sport beautiful ornaments. One example that never ceases to inspire me is the Final Fantasy series. Especially the elaborate magical summoning effects border on amazing.

An important part of summoning effects since Final Fantasy X are the summoning ‘seals’, symmetrical designs that resemble intricate, hermetic patterns not unlike a classical summoning circle. Each summoned being has its own characteristic mark.

High-quality images of the FFX seals are hard to find, but Deviantart‘s hechiceroo has made some beautiful wallpapers out of them:

Sandy's seal by hechiceroo
Sandy’s seal by hechiceroo
Anima's seal by hechiceroo
Anima’s seal by hechiceroo
Ifrit's seal by hechiceroo
Ifrit’s seal by hechiceroo

Each subsequent game in te series has had a distinct style of summoning glyph. In FF XII, they are elongated and symmertrical along only a single, vertical axis. Also, they are strictly monochrome and have very little tiny lines and frills — everything is solid and rich in contrast.

Images via Final Fantasy Wikia

And in XIII, they are just extremely elaborate, with lots of thin lines, a multitude of runes in different scripts. Most everyting in XIII is elaborate, though, with lots of recurring motifs and patterns.

Hecatoncheir's summoning symbol
Hecatoncheir’s summoning symbol
Alexander's summoning symbol concept
Alexander’s summoning symbol concept

Images via Final Fantasy Wikia

It’s a rather common sight in fantasy media to have magic be accompanied by symbols and other drawings in the air. The ‘storytelling tools’ website tvtropes (warning: major time sink!) even has a name for this phenomenon: they call it ‘Instant Runes‘. These elaborate illustrations find their origin in, among others, hermetic magic. Especially for the Final Fantasy X ones, the influence of Mandalas is also clearly visible.

One thought on “Summoning seals & glyphs”

Have an opinion!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.