A new logo – just in time for transfiguration

February 16, 2017 by Lee Hinson-Hasty

The best logos distill an organization’s essence into a single graphic form.  Put simply, logos tell a story and describe a mission.  The best logos are recognizable and welcoming thresholds into the who, what, and where of an organization.

One of the best I know is our Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) seal developed when the major streams of the Presbyterian Church in the United States reunited in 1983. The story of how the award-winning PC(USA) seal came into being is worth the read. It was an effort spearheaded by the then President of Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, the Rev. Dr. John Mulder. You can read that here.

Just as organizations evolve and grow, so do their logos, marks, and seals. In fact, in 2016, the Presbyterian Foundation adopted a new logo and design standards. The logo refreshed the Foundation’s look and reinforced its mission as an organization of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): Serving as a Partner in Funding Christ’s Mission. Since 1799, the Presbyterian Foundation has gathered, stewarded, and distributed funds for mission in partnership with individuals, congregations, and mission-minded organizations.

Although the Theological Education Fund (TEF) began receiving gifts in 1989, Presbyterian support of theological education goes back to 1799 and some of the first gifts given to the Presbyterian Foundation in support of future ministers. The TEF moved it operations to the Presbyterian Foundation in 2015, a return to our roots and to a fiduciary organization that supports the mission of future ministers. What we have learned is that many still don’t know and sometimes can’t find the TEF.

This brought us at the Theological Education Fund to redesign our own logo and look to better convey that we are now part of the Presbyterian Foundation. Our goal is to echo the themes established in the Presbyterian Foundation logo, while also tying in our support of Presbyterian seminaries and theological education.

There are several elements of our logo that were important to us and that we asked our designer, Steve Brown of Mind’s Eye Creative in New Albany, Indiana, to work with in creating a new logo and image for us. The logo he created includes the following elements:

    • A preacher and pulpit, a place where ministers and the body of Christ meet to discern the Word of God for the people of God today.
    • An open book. It is open to indicate the importance of reading and learning. The open book also harkens back to what many of us see on the pulpit on Sunday mornings: an open Bible, ready to be read and interpreted for today.
    • A cross, which can also be found in the Presbyterian Foundation logo, is a central symbol in the Christian church. As Christians in the Reformed tradition, we ground our faith in Christ through scripture. We are rooted deeply in its Holy Wisdom.
    • Leaves at the top of the logo symbolize growing faith that is rooted in learning about God: theological education. Supporting future ministries always includes supporting future ministers; cultivating and nourishing the Church, in general, and Presbyterian congregations and ministries, by equipping theologically wise seminarians.
    • The leaves can also be viewed as the flames of a torch, lit by the fire of education and stoked by knowledge.
    • The colors were deliberate choices. We kept the gold color we’ve used for many years and added the deep blue of the Presbyterian Foundation. The logos tie together nicely and the use of similar colors enforces the idea that the Theological Education Fund is housed at the Foundation.

I wonder what you see in our new logo and why you support the TEF and future ministers?

We are switching out our logo on social media and in other places, and we hope it becomes familiar quickly. You can see it in person at events that I’ll be attending, including NEXT Church National Gathering, set for March 13 to 15, 2017, in Kansas City, and Big Tent in July in St. Louis. Hope to see you soon!