Established in 1994 with the merger of 13 Catholic university colleges in Antwerp, Belgium, Karel de Grote Hogeschool (KdG) is a Catholic university offering bachelor, master, and postgraduate degrees to more than 13,000 students. Named after Charles the Great, KdG has a small and quirky mix of areas of study, including business management, bio-chemical engineering projects, and research in art and design. Earlier this month, the university introduced a new identity designed by Mechelen, Belgium-based Branding Today.
Somewhere in the extra large, default-looking typesetting of the old logo there was a glimmer of something decent in the form of the square KdG monogram set on a thin cross but it was too small to be noticed. The new logo does away completely with the old and introduces a language of sticks and circles — reminiscent of the new MCA Chicago work — and slightly-off angles. The resulting logo is very unexpected for either a Catholic university or any university and, in its weirdness, it becomes a rather cool mark, paired with a more serious sans serif that grounds it in reality.
The main application to see the logo is in the video above, which conveys the attitude and behavior of both the logo and typography. It’s snappy! Below are some excerpt screenshots of the prototypes shown in the video.
The most important aspect of the identity is that it gives a clear visual voice to the university, whereas before it was mostly generic and forgettable. If you didn’t like the MCA Chicago stuff there is a chance you might like the more tempered approach of this one or it might extend your dislike for this ugly-geometric approach. The full font — most noticeable in the print ad — isn’t that great unfortunately in large doses and the exaggerated kicks in the “l”s, “i”s, and “t”s are very off-putting but the approach to layouts with the angled blocks seems promising. Overall, there is a cool seed planted by the logo but the rest of the identity still needs some time and a few rounds of actual applications to flourish.
Thanks to Bart Rylant for the tip.