With roots going back to 1905, Fakultet for kunst, musikk og design, UiB (KMD for short, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design at University of Bergen in English) in Bergen, Norway, was established in early 2017 when the Bergen Academy of Art and Design (est. 1996) and the The Grieg Academy (of music, est. 1995) merged and became part of the University of Bergen. KMD offers BA, MA, and PhD programs to approximately 600 students with a staff of 130, educating future artists, designers, performing musicians, composers, music therapists, musicologists, curators, and music and art teachers. The identity for KMD was designed by Oslo, Norway-based Uniform.
The new visual identity is based on the concept of “Voltage Field”. This has been interpreted through the fact that the term in the field of art (art, music and design) forms an inherent chaos in a vibrant and dynamic logo system. Logo versions expand and pulse from retracted and safe, to clear and powerful. The identity conveys the very nature of the creative faculty - a bearer of chaos with unpredictability and friction.
Uniform project page (Google-translated)
The old logos were somewhat decent. The Grieg Academy logo showed a profile of composer Edvard Grieg that nicely captured his ’stache and a bookish serif underneath. The Bergen Academy of Art and Design was a little more awkward and I’m thinking it was designed back in 1996 before emoticons were common because that was one huge, smiling “k”. One overly positive thing that could be said about the two old logos is that they were very readable whereas the new logo is completely, utterly, and confusingly unreadable, at least in its most compressed form and at least when unaccompanied by its full name spelled out on the side. Yet, I find it completely mesmerizing in its not-a-single-fuck-given attitude towards accessibility in favor of expressing the school’s ethos — I don’t even know exactly what the school’s ethos is but with a logo like this I’m sure somewhere in its mission it says to not give a fuck about what others might think.
Once the shock wears off that this is an actual logo for an institution of higher education and one spends more than five seconds analyzing the logo, yeah, all the letters are there and at least in the semi-compressed version of the logo (“3d” in the chart) the “kunst”, “musikk”, and “design” are all relatively readable. On the school’s website — which would be the main form of interaction for anyone that is learning about it — the logo springs about to reveal the name as the user stretches or compresses the browser and clicking on each of the three faculties leads to a page where the appropriate logo is used, highlighting the faculty where you are at.
It’s a challenging logo for sure and a highly acquired taste but it’s definitely memorable and it conveys the sense that this is not a typical art and design school.
The logo is typeset in Village’s Galaxie Polaris, as is the rest of the identity.
The applications all look like weird typographic experiments because of the logo but they are pretty straightforward actually, with the logo — which, if it were, a typical shield of some sort it would all look normal — either tucked in the upper left corner or blown up big across a layout. The relative normalcy of the applications (in print and in signage below) help make the logo go down more easily just as a spoonful of sugar does for medicine.
Overall, I find the identity captivating and it’s perfectly appropriate for a Nordic music, art, and design educational institution because if they can’t push boundaries what chances do the rest of us have?
Thanks to Simon Nystad for the tip.