Obviously, I was going to have to recreate first one, and then the other of the two symbols. That was a delicate job, but nonetheless fairly straightforward. Picking out the most appropriate components to complete the icons was another matter.
Well, let's start with the symbols. It was very important that I get something reasonably similar to the originals, since they not only appear on websites but also get incorporated into derivative symbols for fractions. Here's the original Cousins' symbol:
It is an equal-armed cross with a fleur-de-lys at the end of each arm. I had several of the latter, and simply picked out a nice looking one that had a metallic-looking coloration. From a narrow slice across, repeated numerous times, I created a bar. This was then turned by 45° and cropped at an angle, which was repeated again to mitre one end so that four iterations of the bar could be fitted together. The fleur-de-lys was then attached at each end. All that remained was to shorten the bars—three times!—to get the symbol looking right. I had no idea the cross bars were so remarkably short, proportional to the size of their finials!
Since people may want to use the recreated symbols themselves, I'm going to include them. Here's the one for the Cousins:
For the Light Cousins, the derived symbol looks much more complicated:
The cross is placed on a black background, and wavy white lines radiate out from it as if from the sun. I didn't want to have to deal with multiple squiggles! Instead, I decided to create a gradient that would look a bit like a sun and set that behind the Cousins' symbol I had just made. So that the gradient would shade from true black through warm tones to white, I made it in three sections and carefully fitted them inside one another.
As I said: tricky. However, these were just the first steps in creating the two icons. Like all the others, they composite several different elements; and I now had to decide what I would include.
Cousins & Light Cousins:
I wanted to make at least a nod to LaCroix's Roman history, and initially thought I might use a mosaic background. However, this proved too distracting to the eye when reduced to the small scale. Instead, I used a common border motif that was used on mosaics, and ran it round the edge. This design element appears on both icons, and helps to show the close relationship between the two factions. (While it is true that the Light Cousins did participate separately in wars at the heyday of Forever Knight fandom, it is also true that they have since been resorbed in that context. Indeed, if I recall correctly, one of the three Heads of Cerberus—the leaders of the Cousins—in the last war was a Light Cousin.)
The second thing I needed was a nice screen capture. My first choice for the Cousins was actually the picture that I later decided to use for the Light Cousins! That urbane LaCroix did, however, seem more appropriate for the latter faction. I rather liked the smooth brown shades of the background of the photo, and decided to recreate them by using a brown gradient in the icon, at least on the right side, which was where I put the screencap. With the logo and the rather complicated Light Cousins symbol, the space was pretty well taken up—so that was one icon done.
For the Cousins, I decided instead to use a diametrically different image of LaCroix, and so selected one in which he was in full vamp mode, with glowing eyes and snarling fangs. As I contemplated the result, though, I felt dissatisfied. While a perfectly adequate representation of one aspect of LaCroix, it didn't seem appropriate for the Cousins faction, which seems less attracted to him as a killer than as an autocrat. (There's something rather BDSM about the relationship of the Cousins to LaCroix—exceeded only by the over-the-topness of the NA. Well, it takes all kinds.) I selected a different picture; and its orientation required me to flip the various elements of the icon around so that the screencap could be put on the left.
At that point, I tried a version in which blood dripped down from the top of the icon, trickled down the symbol, and dripped to the bottom! Also rejected, and for the same reason.
This, of course, left the Cousins' icon with a rather large space on the bottom right. What to put there? The corresponding space on the Light Cousins' icon had been filled with the name of the faction; but the Cousins' logo took up less space, being only one word, and fitted quite nicely above the screen capture. Clearly the big space at the bottom had to be put to good purpose. I just needed to figure out what would be most appropriate.
Eventually, I decided to make a nod to CERK, not only because the "Nightcrawler" radio-show host is an important role for LaCroix in the series, but also because the Cousins use the CERK station as their headquarters when they are in Toronto during times of war. I debated whether to use the CERK logo; but, in the end, I combed through the collection of screencaps to crop out a microphone.