Oxford University college Christ Church has revealed new branding developed by London-based design agency SomeOne. Compared to the college’s founding year of 1546, the inspiration for the heraldic crest stems from a far more recent chapter in history.
While researching in the college’s archives, the team came across Betty Stuart Miller’s 1968 version of the college’s historical emblem in a book. The crest she illustrated has now been “painstakingly redrawn and digitised” to be fit for use 55 years later.
The crest itself has far more component parts than we’re used to seeing these days, including symbols of a hat, tassels, and a shield that itself contains multiple motifs.
SomeOne was acutely aware of the “complexity” of the design, which is why the team decided to create nine versions of it. The design comes in three colourways and each of those in three size variants, with more or less intricate detail depending on the scale.
As part of the project, SomeOne also developed new frameworks for colour, typography, and imagery, along with a pattern system based on the elements found within the crest.
Some people will see the new crest as lacking contemporary tastes; others will see it as a case of respecting history and resisting over-simplification. If redesigning historic football club emblems are anything to go by, the crowd will always be divided, but the design feels in keeping with a college steeped in nearly 500 years of history.