AMID the backlash to the bombshell that King’s is to rebrand as “King’s London,” Roar received a phonecall from the university this afternoon, saying the Principal fancied a chat.
We agreed, and headed over to Waterloo to put your concerns to Ed Byrne (the principal, not the comedian).
He was visibly uncomfortable when we pressed him for his personal thoughts on the rebrand.
On the third attempt, he said: “Do I like it? I like it more than the current brand.”
“I’m still thinking about it, you know, it could grow on me,” he laughed.
Ed reveals all on money and the fate of the rebrand in part two, live at 00:00
“No that’s not fair,” he added hurriedly. “No, I think its got a zing to it.”
“[King’s London] is not good grammar, you know, because I like that slightly raw edge, you know.
“King’s London, what is it, you know? King’s London. No, but then the strap line, you know, ‘one of the world’s greatest universities,’ and then instantly, you know, KCL, the link comes in. And you’re building layer on layer of the story.”
On the loss of prestige
He said the university were “totally embracing the history” of King’s, and “building” on it. “We’re not getting rid of any prestige at all, we’re growing.”
On international students
On being recognised on a global stage Ed claimed: “It’s not fully understood outside the cognoscenti who know the UK system well, what King’s is.
When asked whether the removal of “College” was patronising or insulting to students, he said: “It’s not patronising or insulting at all.”
“Most people in other countries know very little about university systems in other countries.”
On the lack of grammar
When asked whether it was an issue that the new brand lacked grammatical sense, he said: “Do brands always make grammatical sense?”
When pushed, he said: “No I don’t see it as an issue at all because that’s not the way the visual world works.”
On the university’s legal name
He stressed: “Our name, our official name, will remain KCL. That’s the name that appears on people’s degrees. That is our name. But that we brand ourselves as a university rather than a College, that’s what all this is about.”
“Surely people can understand the difference between a name and how you brand over a period,” he added.
On University of London
Ed assured that the rebrand was not signalling their disaffiliation from the University of London.
On the Strand windows and other signage
The Strand windows will change to the reflect the new brand, “but not in any immediate way”.
“There’s no plan in the near future to redo signage,” Ed said, and that King’s would incorporate the new brand “organically” as signs wear out.