Educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God's changing world.

Columbia Theological Seminary is more than a place to train pastors. We do our best to make resources available to all of our alumni/ae. Become a part of our online community. Try some of the links provided. Or just check out the latest edition of our publications. Feel free to let us know how we can continue to support you in your local ministry. All you need to do is let us know!

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"Logos and Labels"

May 2016

Greetings, Alumni/ae and friends of Columbia Theological Seminary. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fifty years ago in my world as a teenager the shirt maker labels sought after were Gant and Sero. The loafer shoe brands were Weejuns and Docksides. Today, the popular sunglasses include Ray-Ban and the coolers that are really cool carry the name Yeti. And we all know folks will display logo decals on their cars and elsewhere whether they own the commodity or not!  They communicate values and identity.

A brand is a way of messaging that is both verbal and visual. For Columbia Seminary, it includes not just images and taglines, but Vantage magazine, our social media presence, our website, our newsletters—and it includes each of you as our graduates and alumni/ae. Each piece contributes to the overall identity of who we are as Columbia Theological Seminary.

Taking even a portion of the brand and engaging in a new look and verbal presentation is not taken lightly. Just as the brand of many organizations of 50 years ago are not the one’s being used today, Columbia is looking to update its visual and verbal branding. As Michael Thompson, Columbia Seminary’s Director of Communications, explains further…

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From the start, we were asked to communicate continuity with our history and vision for our future. We are a Presbyterian institution with a rich Reformed tradition, yet we are serving a more diverse set of students ethnically and denominationally than ever before. We are a modern institution with a commitment to justice and peace in the world, and our thought rooted in scripture.

Historically, Columbia Theological Seminary has had a seal with a globe, a cross, and a bible, which we will continue to use on diplomas, official documents, and in other formal contexts. More commonly, we have used the two-tone, three-line “Columbia Theological Seminary” wordmark for most things. Now, I would like to present our new logo!

New CTS Logo

This logo represents a unique story that is both beautiful and recognizably ours:

  1. The bush or tree has been a symbol of Presbyterian and Reformed movements used around the world, and is also used for various ecumenical organizations.
  2. The book in the middle shows we are a seminary committed to both “books” of revelation: the book of scripture and the book of creation.
  3. The structure of the logo emerged from ideas represented in our existing seal and the Kenyan cross with angled arms which appears on the side of the Broyles Leadership Center.
  4. Finally, the beauty of the logo reflects the retreat-like atmosphere we have here on our Decatur campus. The three top reasons students name for coming to Columbia Seminary are the faculty, the community, and the beautiful campus.

Branding is about the whole picture and the message it conveys. We are additionally recommending a new tagline: Cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.

This will be accompanied by some core messages about what we do: Encountering God. Cultivating leaders. Transforming communities.

All of this will come together in our press releases, our stationery, our magazine, our recruitment materials, and most importantly our new website which is due to be launched in August. This has been a big process, but I believe the investment of our resources will be well rewarded. Thank you for your support and interest.

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The goal of any new logo or branding effort is to make an impact. That is most evident in the “product”--you and I, and what occurred to us spiritually at Columbia Seminary. So the theological and pastoral education we received and now administer are just as critical in people’s understanding of the Columbia Seminary brand.

It is very interesting that the word “logos” has within it two meanings. We say that a sacrament is an outward and visible sign (logo) of an inward and spiritual grace (Logos). The apostle Paul declares and exhorts that…our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us received from God; we do not belong to ourselves; therefore, honor God with your bodies. (1Cor.6:19-20)

At Columbia Seminary we seek with you, in all ways, to show forth the Eternal Grace who dwells within us all. Thanks be to God.

Randy Calvo '81