Established in 2010, Karl von Busse Institute of Design is a specialty design school in Sydney offering diplomas in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, digital media, visual merchandising, and fashion and textiles. The institute carries the name of (and is led by) Karl von Busse, a German graphic designer who moved to Australia in the 1970s, set up his own design firm, and, after trying to hire young designers, he decided to establish the KvB Institute of Technology in 1978, which grew to have 800 students, making it one of the largest private education providers in Australia — it was sold to an Asian-based education corporation in 2005. There are no figures on how many students are currently enrolled and I had never heard of this school before so I have no idea what the industry opinion is on their students’ work. Earlier this year, Karl von Busse Institute of Design introduced a new identity designed by local firm Born & Raised.
A key part of the KVB curriculum is working in design studios on real briefs. And their studio network extends to affiliations globally, meaning opportunities for internships far and wide.
This led to a simple design solution based on travel and passport-based graphics, and language which focuses on the real, hands-on journey students can expect. Matched by optimistic and real photography, the branding is bold, confident and authentic to KVB’s offer.
Far from a fountain of inspiration or creative motivation, the old look wasn’t particularly encouraging as a place where you could get your creativity on. The gradients and horsy typography made it look more like a vocational college to learn car repair than any of the creative fields the institute offers.
The old logo placed a lot of importance on the coat of arms thing which maybe has some deep meaning — or relevance to the von Busse name — but as a logo for a design school there was something overly pretentious about it, not to mention gratuitous: Wings! Flowing Ribbons! Helmet! Wreath! Shield! Yeah, and? In the new logo (or in the system overall) the coat of arms takes a backseat to a new KVB acronym and system of lock-ups that can carry the full name, the tagline, the different departments, and other things. The logo is typeset in Arete Mono which is smartly used only in uppercase because its lowercase is whack. There isn’t a deep concept to the logo — making it no more or less gratuitous than the coat of arms — but it definitely has a designy vibe that more clearly establishes it as a creative school.
The logo is always used angled at 4 degrees, reminiscent of the angles in the old gradients, and it becomes an easily identifiable style and quick way of putting out cohesive images on social media. If you see their Instagram account, it’s evident what their look is and their images will stand out in followers’ feeds. Back to one element of the logo… the coat of arms has been redrawn in the Dribbble-ist aesthetic of mono thickness line illustration, which strips it off its original pretentiousness and makes it a more fun device, specially with the “surprise” tick marks added on top of the helmet.
The scribbly patterns are a small (positive) deviation from the usual with their ample spacing and varied rotation. It’s a good spin on the wiggles trend (which has died down by now). The photos on the dark pink color are a nice way to tie in with the color palette of the logo and, because it’s such an odd color, they also help establish a defining aesthetic for the school.
The ads and brochure are energetic, engaging, and bring together all the elements fairly nicely. Overall, this isn’t groundbreaking work — there are shades of OCAD and Ravensbourne — but it’s effectively done and sidesteps some current trends (geometric sans serifs and bright primary colors, among others) to offer a slightly quirky and consistent identity.