Branding for Columbia Theological Seminary

CTS seal

In 2015, the Board commissioned the office of Communications with the task of rebranding the seminary. The goal was to communicate continuity with our history and vision for our future. We are an institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 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 continue to use on diplomas, official documents, and in other formal contexts.

Branding is a comprehensive process that encompasses both verbal and visual messages we wish to communicate to all of our current and future friends and supporters. A primary focal point of branding is often the logo. Other elements of branding include tagline, marketing messages, choice of photography, and the general look and feel of our communications pieces. Below is our new logo and wordmark!


This logo represents our story: one that is both recognizable and unique. It is both beautiful and carries deep meaning:

  1. The most obvious feature is the bush or tree. This has been a symbol of Presbyterian and Reformed movements used around the world including both Presbyterian Churches which merged to form the current PC(USA). At the same time, trees have been used as symbols of ecumenical efforts reflective of our commitment to the Big Table.
  2. Next is the book in the middle. We are a seminary committed to both “books” of revelation: the book of scripture and the book of creation. We have world-class bible scholars who are leading the way in connecting the biblical knowledge with the truths of science, justice, and other outcomes of the good news that touch our daily lives.
  3. The structure of the logo emerged from a combination of ideas representing our existing seal and the Kenyan cross with angled arms which appears on the side of the Broyles Leadership Center. It was suggested that the open arms of the cross could be represented and then doubled to give the appearance of a bible in the center of the logo.
  4. Finally, the beauty of the logo reflects the retreat-like atmosphere we have here on our Decatur campus. Visitors regularly comment on the beauty of this place. In fact, the three of the top reasons students come to Columbia are the faculty, the community, and the beautiful campus.


But a logo cannot do everything! Branding is about the whole picture and the message it conveys. Our current tagline is Cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.

This is accompanied by some core messages: Encountering God. Cultivating leaders. Transforming communities.