And they thought they hated branding…

It was great to go back to Kingston after 12 years in the design industry. Apart from being overcome by a wave of nostalgia I was truly humbled by the memories of advice, tuition and insight that Knights Park Campus, its faculties and its tutors had invested in me. It reconfirmed my decision to always look to design schools like Kingston to constantly inspire and nurture broad and exciting thinkers.

It wasn’t difficult to position myself in their shoes, a student having a general apathy for branding or what the perception of branding is. My own dissertation at Kingston was about the Designer’s ‘First Thing’s First’ Manifesto, a statement in the role a designer can and should play in the betterment of society and communication. I saw branding and advertising as the ‘Devil’s tool’ to sell, for many it is, but I know that our approach at MB is the antithesis of what I understood of Brand®. Yesterday, I wanted to convince the students of the same.

I had the pleasure of working with some of the student groups on a great project brief for Seat, it was inspiring for me to hear such rich and broad approaches that tried to cut through the hum drum of throw away comms. I’m looking forward to hearing, seeing, smelling, test-driving and sensing the results.

I’m not envious of the tough task ahead for the students in their 3rd year; the arduous road to the final show, industry and academic assessment/approval, landing in the fresh meat market of first employment. But under the tutelage of Malcolm, Paul, Vince, Marcus, Keiron, Marianne and Jake (to name but a few of the faculty staff), Kingston could provide some of the most enjoyable and creatively productive times of their careers.

Have fun, play, break things, fix things, make mistakes, work hard and be nice to people.

Editor’s note: You can see all the lovely responses to Darren’s talk here.


  • George Voke

    Was a great talk, really got a lot out of it. And thanks for the help with the Seat brief. We’ll keep you updated with the work and let you know how it all turns out. Thanks Darren.