EXCLUSIVE: King’s Principal defends the rebrand — ‘we’re totally embracing the university’s history’

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.

5 Comments

  1. ResignEd

    17 December, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    What an idiot

  2. Ryan Barnes

    18 December, 2014 at 12:02 am

    He’s admitted it doesn’t make grammatical sense, he’s admitted he doesn’t like it and it’s yet to grow on him, he’s said students in other countries don’t know how our university system works. Sorry Mr. Byrne, I don’t understand the “difference between a name and a brand”, and frankly I doubt my employers will give it much thought either.

    I don’t want Byrne sacked, i just want this stupid idea to return back to the fiery depths of hell it clearly originated from. I love our current brand, this nonsense can fuck off.

    • John Murray

      18 December, 2014 at 8:40 am

      This did start a long time before he took up his post and from the way he talks about it growing on him, it sounds like he may not actually be able to reverse the decision (in which case, what power does a principal actually have?).

  3. Laura

    18 December, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Well I DO know the difference between a name and a brand. I work in advertising. And I am a King’s Alumna. And ‘King’s London’ is awful, both as a brand and as an actual name of an institution.
    But, you know, Ed Byrne is like, totally, down with the kids, you know?
    I would also like to know how much of the budget was spent on the logo design. The only thing going for it is that it is not in comic sans. It is a University, not a fast food restaurant for goodness sake.

    • TRT

      14 January, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      The K(L) logo wouldn’t work on-screen anyway as the gap that makes up the L would disappear as the pixel size drops below 16. I can’t believe anyone in their right mind would have paid anything for that. If it came from a competitive pitch, then I wouldn’t expect to pay for it anyway.

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