Crowning glory of GOV.UK websites updated, sparking frontend upgrades

His Majesty’s Royal Cypher adopted the Tudor Crown, so a new icon was needed

Logowatch GOV.UK websites this week started implementing a major change: a new crown icon.

Head of design Laura Yarrow and senior interaction designer Chris Ballantine-Thomas offered a history lesson to explain the motivation for the change.

"In September 2022, the College of Arms announced His Majesty King Charles III's Royal Cypher, which features the monarch's chosen crown," the pair wrote, explaining that the new monarch's Cypher features the Tudor Crown, rather than the St Edward's Crown favored by Queen Elizabeth II.

Each new monarch apparently does this sort of thing, and their choice is reflected in changes to things like police and military uniforms, and signage on official buildings.

And, for the first time, on websites.

"We wanted to create something that was faithful to both the official heraldry and the visual identity of GOV.UK," Yarrow and Ballantine-Thomas wrote. They therefore "redrew a simplified version of the crown, making sure it appeared clearly at smaller sizes and lower resolutions."

Here's their image of St Edward's Crown (top) and the Tudor Crown, and the GOV.UK icons created for each.

New and old Gov UK crown

The St Edward’s Crown (top), the Tudor Crown, and their respective icons – Click to enlarge

The altered logo had different proportions to its predecessor, so the pair "had to subtly tweak the GOV.UK logo's typography and spacing to complement it."

Here's the result of their efforts.

The new GOV.UK Crown logo

The new GOV.UK Crown logo – Click to enlarge

Some readers may, at this point, wonder if all this is going to see their taxes frittered away replacing images across the vast estate of GOV.UK websites.

Yarrow and Ballantine-Thomas pointed out that GOV.UK has a centralized open source codebase, called GOV.UK Frontend – it's here on GitHub – and that versions 5.1, 4.8, and 3.15 have been updated with the new crown. Upgrading to those versions should not be a right royal pain.

The new image first appeared on February 19 and should roll out completely by March 1. ®

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