The Karachi School of Business and Leadership is set to start operations in late 2012, and supposedly with that it will revolutionize and modernize the Pakistani business education scene, which in turn will mean real competition for the de-facto top schools, IBA and LUMS, and more unpalatable stuff. In other words KSBL will spell doom for the aforementioned prestigious schools. And it is no coincidence that this doom will befall them in 2012. Yes, 2012. Now do you see it?! Until 2012 however, we have KSBL’s visual identity to judge it and its claims of revolution.

Lets get to it already. The logo itself is great considering it was designed in Microsoft Word in little over 4 minutes. Anyone who tells you that’s not the case is lying. But truth is, the KSBL logo is unimaginative and awkward- just a bunch of text and a block of color. The S and B eat into their respective neighbors K and L, and that – if you weren’t convinced already – is symbolic proof of KSBL’s hostile intentions for Karachi’s and Lahore’s premier business schools. Being the internationally-connected school (Cambridge, no less!) that they are, they should have paid more attention to their brand building, of which design and visual identity is no insignificant part. In short, it is just disappointing that a high-profile and much publicized institution has failed to carve out a proper visual identity for itself, or worse- and I think that’s the case – simply neglected that aspect altogether. In a business world where design is gaining traction as a crucial strategic tool and is being hailed as the new frontier of market differentiation, KSBL already feels antiquated.

It doesn’t help that KSBL’s color palette immediately brings to mind dear old KESC and their bijli ka bill. Needless to say those are very positive associations. Not. To be fair though, both the KESC logo and their bill are rare examples of very good design in Pakistan.

What we have for now to judge KSBL has failed to impress, let’s see if the actual degrees hold more promise.

UPDATE (04/01/2012):

KSBL responds:

KSBL in collaboration with Cambridge University Judge Business School is bringing world class business education and current management thinking to Pakistan. The people behind it are top business leaders and professionals of Pakistan who are establishing KSBL to create capable and transformational leaders for Pakistan who will be able to compete globally. KSBL’s visual identity including the logo is well thought through, designed by distinguished artists and selected and approved by the Board of Directors. It very well represents this top institution of higher learning. We respect comments and critique from everybody and work towards improving ourselves, however, beyond design we are more focused on the key ingredients of world class education including the curriculum designed by Cambridge, world renowned faculty, world class campus providing an enabling environment and selecting qualified students irrespective of their the socioeconomic and geographical backgrounds.