These have ranged from simple mottoes and words of commitment to more complex messages written in code.
And he further observes that " a great variety of devices and mottoes were used by Edward III.; they were chosen from the most trivial causes and were of an amorous rather than of a military character.
Such a circumstance occurring at a time of general festivity, when devices, mottoes and conceits of all kinds were adopted as ornaments or badges of the habits worn at jousts and tournaments, would naturally have been commemorated as other royal expressions seem to have been by its conversion into a device and motto for the dresses at an approaching hastilude."
The short, pithy sayings have become popular mottoes and household words.
Afterwards, when the use of seals became common, and when they were as often toys as signets, fanciful legends or mottoes appropriate to the devices naturally came into vogue.