Founding father, original crest designer shares reasoning for refined crest.
By David Daniels
Texas Chapter Founder
What Beta Upsilon Chi is today is not exactly what it was almost 30 years ago in the basement of University Christian Church on the University of Texas Campus. There was no Board of Directors, no National Officer Training and no legal teams representing us at the highest levels. The fraternity in 1985 was a shadow of a greater reality enjoyed by thousands of college men and alumni today.
To become better, we had to change.
Healthy organisms change. It’s an expression of life and growth. And, strategic changes in BYX since it’s founding have strengthened, not weakened our fraternity. The recent change in our crest has caused some concern, but I expect a little background might enable my brothers to appreciate the good that has taken place.
When we started BYX, we had to create everything from scratch: a constitution, officer roles, fraternity colors and our crest. Because I was a graphic design major, the responsibility fell to me to produce a brand that would become the “official” mark of our new brotherhood.
In a pre-computer era (yes, I’m that old), I remember sitting at my drafting board in my Moore Hill dorm room and designing with ink pens, ruling tape, xacto knives and color overlays. It was the best image I could produce, my best expertise at the time, using the best tools that I had. And, that crest has survived since then. How many of you have proudly worn your pledge pins with the BYX crest? By the way, none of us did, because that was a change that would come later.
Fast forward to June 2014.
I met President & COO Jason Hoyt and Communications Director Robert Bember for lunch in Fort Worth. Robert presented a well-researched proposal regarding the design and usage of fraternity crests. They both shared how they had been working diligently to formalize the standards of our colors, typeface and images.
From my design background, I understood that this is what strengthens a brand and the organization it represents. To use a biblical theme form the book of Judges, nothing goes well when “everybody does what is right in their own eyes.”
One of the changes Jason and Robert proposed was a change to our crest. They emphasized that they didn’t want to compromise the fundamental symbols. But they felt it important to sharpen the image and make it more relevant to the Greek culture that BYX is in. Not only do we believe that we have a better foundation than any other fraternity, we believe that we should do everything better.
I agreed, but with one caveat: I requested that, because I was the original designer of the BYX crest, that I be given an opportunity to redesign a better one. They welcomed my participation, and I began focused designing, in partnership with Robert, in September. Now, I had the luxury of a computer, hundreds of archives for research, an endless color palette and almost 30 years of history to support what we were about to produce.
I don’t consider the 2015 crest a “new” crest. It is a refined one because it maintains the tradition and symbols resident in the original. However, I made some intentional design choices that might interest those who are unsure about the change:
- The shield bows convex rather than concave at the top. This shape communicates greater strength.
- The dove and crown were changed to reflect the dove and crown already in use on graduate honor coins. I worked hard to maintain consistency with other images in use.
- The purple background in the top portion of the shield got a pattern treatment to heighten the regal feel of the shield.
- The chalice was given detail and distinction. Both the chalice and the dove have “dropped” out in smaller images making them almost unrecognizable.
- The original budded cross (round tips) has reference to some eastern orthodox religions (something I didn’t know when I originally designed it) while the square-tipped cross is more generic and communicates a more masculine feel.
- The red color was made less “cherry-bright” and the gold made more regal-gold. The original red, yellow and almost-blue looked too “primary” and made the original crest feel juvenile rather than mature.
- The bottom banner was made much more readable, even at smaller presentations.
In the end, the supremacy of God, the Father; the centrality of Christ, the Son; the inclusion of the Holy Spirit who unites us; the chalice which represents the basis of our faith; the cord of three strands and the Chi Rho symbol have been maintained in both versions. This is not a new crest; It is a refined crest using better tools, in a better day, for a better expression of our great God-honoring fraternity.
So, I ask you brothers, to receive this gift. It has been my highest honor to serve the fraternity in creating this work and I trust that it will represent us well as men who living in an ever-changing world under the banner of the only One who never does.