Friday, February 23, 2018

Change to Tripod Nameplate

Eagle-eyed readers of this print edition of the Tripod may spot a change to the nameplate on the front page. Though the old design seemed ripped from the pages of Trinity’s history, the nameplate and image on the front page of the Tripod have historically been changed somewhat every decade or so. As such, the Editorial Staff of the Tripod decided now is the time to make another change.

Though the initial direction was to completely remove the ecclesiastical seal of the college from the nameplate, a faction in the club argued that this might be too drastic a break from tradition. The seal dates back to the 1845 shift from Washington College to Trinity College. Its imagery is Episcopalian, a connection to the school’s religious past. Covered in stars, Latin text proclaiming Trinity’s motto “for church and country,” and other archaic objects, the seal seems to exude either authority or trustworthiness, useful attributes for a newspaper. Though the earliest editions of the Tripod featured the 1845 seal, there have been several variations on the standard theme. The 1980’s saw the rise in popularity of the “Northam Towers” logo in place of the old ecclesiastical seal, a shift which also reached the Tripod. The letterhead has also passed through minimalist periods which favored the crisp, simple lines of the newspaper’s name without the bombastic, eye-catching seal to break them. But the seal reliably returns as often as it disappears.

With its hovering miter, key, crook, and thirteen stars, the fact of the symbol’s survival into the twenty-first century alone makes it recognizable. It is also one of Trinity’s most litigiously guarded logos. Rarely appearing on even the most official college merchandise, official college regulation states that the ecclesiastical seal may appear only in its official colors: Pantone 540 (blue) and Pantone 116 (yellow), though gold may be used in certain situations. The guide to acceptably using the logos include several examples of incorrectly sizing, angling, or retouching the logo. These strict regulations indicate a program to prevent the oversaturation of the school’s more formal, more special “signature” in less than especially sanctioned materials.

Though the changes to the newspaper’s appearance are comparatively slight, the presence of the crest has been shifted. In this way, the long history of the Tripod as an entity at Trinity can be referred to while the crest itself can take on a more stylized, less impactful appearance. These changes express the pride of the Tripod staff at continuing a history of 114 years in campus publication. They also reflect our desire to be seen as a project that is separate from the administration of Trinity and which references but does not fully represent the traditional signature of that administration in its pages.

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