In any institution with roots going back over 250 years, there will always be a need to balance a sense of continuity and tradition with the need for change and innovation. If you're very observant about small visual details, you may have noticed some recent tweaks to the design of the website logo for "Columbia University in the City of New York," including the crown and its relationship to the text.
The fact is that many different crown designs have remained in concurrent use at the University over many years. Look at a T-shirt, a coffee mug, a flag, a building sign, anything with the Columbia shield or crown on it and you'll see a range of styles from the historically ornate to the modern and sleek. That's because individual schools, centers and business units now use versions of the crown that best suit their own design needs.
A few years ago, the University administration began using a modernized version of the crown originally created for Columbia University Medical Center. In response to a range of feedback, we made a very slight change to this logo design in order to maintain a simple design while also more accurately echoing the classic crown that is distinctively "Columbia." At the same time, the positioning and size of the crown in relation to the text is now more consistent with its treatment in standard execution of the University logo.
These refinements are part of an ongoing process of balancing the University's unique identity and history with the contemporary need for a distinctive brand that is usable across a wide array of digital and analog formats.