I don't disagree with your comment, the older way did seem to stand out slightly more. The kicker is however using the older "OP" banner required a modification while this newer symbol is supported by the base forum software thus I was able to delete the old modification. Seeing how modifications are one of the largest causes of the site crashing I'd much rather attempt to use the built in one verses a modification.
@Leebo - But did that one particular mod cause any issues? I realize that mods can be a pain, but if it's not causing issues why not have it installed?
Or - can you change the graphic in the built in one to something different - something that makes it easier to see? Maybe even "Topic Author" with a colored background in a graphic format to replace what's there now?