EXCLUSIVE: KCL spends £300k rebranding to ‘King’s London’ with new minimalist logo

KING’S College London is rebranding to ‘King’s London’ after a three-year-long project costing more than £300,000.

Roar has mocked up what it understands the new logo to look like.

It features a serif letter ‘L’ superimposed on a letter ‘K’ in its characteristic red – although, apparently, many people from the focus groups couldn’t “see it”.

An artist's impression of the thought process of the logo

The logo also features the ‘King’s London’ in an all capitals Helvetica font.

The College were supposed to announce the rebrand last week, but internal disputes reportedly led to its delay.

It’s unclear when they will be introducing the new branding.

The branding project, which hopes to give King’s a “new identity”, was designed by brand consultants Saffron who also worked with Coca Cola and Fujitsu.

An online petition opposing the rebrand has already gained more than 2,600 supporters since its launch.

The petition, addressed to Principal Ed Byrne, was created by second year Theology student Emily Braddock, who said that the rebranding is a “bizarre move considering the institution’s history and status as a College within the University of London.”

KCLSU president Sebastiaan Debrouwere told Roar: “The rebrand was already on the cards when I came into office.

“The name is important but we don’t just want a cosmetic change. We don’t just want a new fancy logo, we want them to fundamentally improve the student experience as well.”

He added: “We’ve pushed [the College] to go out and consult students, which I understand they have done through focus groups.”

The recent rebranding of Leeds Metropolitan University to Leeds Beckett University cost the university £176,828, or £332,382 when the cost of changing all the branding on the hoodies was taken into account.

It has been speculated that a central motive for the rebrand is to remedy the fact that international students are misunderstanding the nature of King’s as an institution because of the inclusion of “College”.

What do you think? Get in touch on @Roar_News and facebook.com/roarnews.

20 Comments

  1. Lola Kveton

    16 December, 2014 at 12:41 am

    No international student would be confused by the term “college”, because it does not mean secondary school in many (many many, please open your point of view to outside the commonwealth) countries. Moreover, if this is a problem, then we might need to consider the fact that the US’ soft power is way more important than the UKs’. Therefore, ‘college’ is most of the time perceived as ‘university’ for international students. Finally, if we need to worry about the fact that the applicants won’t get that it is a university, then maybe we should worry more about KCL’s standards of admission. Come on, the administration better have other actually convincing arguments to explain the fact that they are spending our money carelessly.

  2. Lara Johnson

    16 December, 2014 at 1:22 am

    Who are the sources for the costs and the length of the project? To my understanding it’s only been announced to staff a few months ago.

  3. Amber Shafi

    16 December, 2014 at 2:28 am

    I am an international student too, I understand the difference between university and sixth form, and I did not come all the way to England for a King’s London degree. KCL is a brand name and I feel cheated by this new change whilst I am in the middle of my degree. Student feedback has always been an important part of module and course restructure at King then why did it happen that when it came to the most crucial decision of all that affects each one us, student feedback was not deemed essential? How were the focus groups constructed and if they actually did represent the general student body, why is everyone on social media opposing this change? I respect and support all the work that has been done by KCLSU this year, but on this particular occasion they have failed to be our voice and I hope they realize that after the massive outpour of criticism for King’s London.

  4. Amber Shafi

    16 December, 2014 at 2:31 am

    I am an international student too, I understand the difference between university and sixth form, and I did not come all the way to England for a King’s London degree. KCL is a brand name and I feel cheated by this new change whilst I am in the middle of my degree. Student feedback has always been an important part of module and course restructure at King then why did it happen that when it came to the most crucial decision of all that affects each one of us, student feedback was not deemed essential? I am not satisfied with how the focus groups were constructed because if they actually did represent the general student body, why is everyone on social media opposing this change? I respect and support all the work that has been done by KCLSU this year, but on this particular occasion they have failed to be our voice and I hope they realize that after the massive outpour of criticism for King’s London.

    • Lisa Otto

      17 December, 2014 at 12:13 am

      As an alum I sure won’t be putting King’s London on my CV… that’s not the brand people know.

  5. Ash Kershaw

    16 December, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Firstly:
    This seems ridiculous. The name has caused no confusion for decades upon decades upon centuries. Furthermore, if a person is discouraged from coming to King’s because they think it’s a Sixth Form, I reckon that’s decent natural selection enough to say we didn’t want them at the university in the first place.
    Secondly:
    The name no longer makes any sense. The apostrophe remains in the ‘King’s’ – but the King’s what? The King’s London? The London belonging to the King? The King is London? The what?!
    Thirdly:
    The helvetica font looks like a child mocked it up on WordArt, I could have done a more visually aesthetic logo on Macromedia Fireworks for free, let alone however much this professional logo company charged.

    • Lisa Otto

      17 December, 2014 at 12:09 am

      The price-tag is a bit audacious especially when one constantly receives emails as an alum requesting donations to support the university’s high calibre research…

  6. ..

    16 December, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Yeah I know this is annoying for people, but have you ever had this conversation?

    “Where are you studying?”
    “King’s College.”
    “Oh, which one?”
    “The one not at Cambridge.”
    “Oh.”

    Maybe King’s College will always be “the one not at Cambridge”, and suffer from that, until it changes its name. Maybe then people will be able to see its merits more distinctly and not merely as a place that isn’t in Cambridge.

    Although that said, King’s is also what they call the Cambridge college.

    • Lisa Otto

      17 December, 2014 at 12:12 am

      But surely the confusion is solved by using the full name of King’s College London, or the acronym KCL. And most often I’ve heard the Cambridge King’s referred to as King’s College, Cambridge. Does the same confusion happen with Trinity College Dublin v. Trinity College, Oxford?

  7. Magdalena Samsonowicz

    16 December, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    My experience has just gotten considerably worse! Why do I have to worry about it? Why do they want to change the name a of a great institution which is world wide recognized to some ridiculous one? I never wanted to study at King’s London, I wanted to study at King’s COLLEGE London! Why doesn’t KCL care about the students? King’s College London is like a pass to everywhere, while King’s London is just meaningless.
    It is not what I pay for!

  8. FC

    16 December, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    It’s ugly, it’s meaningless, and frankly looks amateurish, hardly befitting a school of such history. I was an international student, and when I said King’s College LONDON, everyone bloody knows what it is. I frankly think we’re the King’s that people know over the one in Cambridge, so I don’t see why there is a need for a name change at all. Seriously. And this whole nonsense about the word “college” is crazy, I don’t see UCL pulling this crap.

    • FC

      16 December, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      Oh my god they spent MONEY to do this?! at least when they renamed the law school freaking Dickson Poon they GOT money out of it. I have no words.

  9. Lisa Otto

    17 December, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Surely ICL and UCL would be facing the same problem… and if prospective students can’t manage a little internet research to establish that King’s is a university, they probably aren’t the calibre of student that KCL is looking for.

  10. London Donovan

    17 December, 2014 at 10:40 am

    This is the same as renaming Kentucky Fried Chicken to Kentucky’s Fried. disgusting logotype

  11. Henry Severs

    17 December, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    This is Lesson 101 on Brand Dilution! The argument that the inclusion of ‘college’ confuses international students is absurd. Explain, yes, clarify, sure, but don’t just delete, it carries a huge amount of history which should be celebrated. You don’t see UCL calling itself University London do you? Dropping the ‘college’ may make sense for lesser known universities, but for a university ranked 16th in the world, I don’t think it’s a consideration for any prospective student, international or otherwise. In fact, it is that very heritage that is one of the biggest full factors for international students. From a purely aesthetic standpoint: Sans-serif fonts + primary colours ≠ innovative (have we learned nothing from Windows 8!). My girlfriend said it nows looks like a supermarket logo! KCL-Mart!…and don’t even get me started on consultancy fees. Completely obscene.

    • TRT

      14 January, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Quick! Someone ‘phone SOAS and tell them that they can’t attract overseas students to their university because they might be confused with a school.

  12. JG León-Zambrano

    17 December, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    As an international student (who had no idea that eventlually would end up studying in the UK), I’ll be the first to admit to be confused between “college” and “university”. When I was 14.

  13. Craigipedia

    17 December, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    As a KCL alumnus, I can say this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Why would one of the world’s best universities drop a globally recognized brand? Why would it even worry about its brand? It’s a university, not a hedge fund. Also, “King’s London” makes no sense grammatically without the possessed noun college.

  14. Henry Severs

    20 December, 2014 at 6:06 am

    I’m not a lawyer, but would this not also leave the university open to lawsuits arising from alumni or current students following the devaluing of the KCL brand?

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