Media Design School


A brand built to ignite creativity.

SomeOne has launched an explosive re-brand for Media Design School — the number one digital design school in APAC. The new brand comes as part of a significant design to tech shift for the school, which has seen their course offering expand to include NZ’s first bachelor degrees in AI and Cloud Computing.

Based in Auckland, NZ, MDS is home to students from all over the world, boasting hordes of award-winning alumni in many areas of creative technology, from video game design to virtual and augmented reality, to 3D animation and VFX.

They are part of the Laureate Education network and work in close partnership with Torrens University, Australia’s fastest growing university and a brand we have been helping to build over the past 2 years.


2020 • Transform Awards

Best Visual Identity in Education — SILVER

2020 • AWARD Awards

Brand identity (Medium business) — FINALIST

Re-Igniting a creative spark

Founded in 1998, Media Design School has some of the best design programs in the Southern Hemisphere. Twenty years after their inception, they approached SomeOne to refresh their brand so it could shine as brightly as the creative output coming from their students.

Coming to us originally with the intention of simply ‘tidying up’ their existing brand identity — the project literally exploded into excited discussions of ‘what if?’.

A progressive design school deserves a progressive attitude, in look and in personality. The time had come for the ‘creative spark’ to break free of its previous two dimensional straight jacket and burst into a hyper-real world.

MDS were the very first school in New Zealand to recognise the growing influence of emerging creative industries — such as Game Development, Animation, Media Design, VR/AR, Creative Advertising, Software Engineering, and more, providing courses and qualifications for the next generation of world-class creative and tech thinkers.

Multiple states

We’ve developed a series of sparks to represent each of the courses offered by the school. Five key disciplines inform the design system and provide a base for endless iterations. With a variety of patterns, angles, colours, textures and lighting set ups, our sparks are ever evolving — shifting and changing with every new communication.

The five disciplines:
Graphics / Games / Interactive / Motion / VR & AR

Deciding on what best represents each course was an iterative process — the ‘Game Art’ sparks, for example, went through rounds of development. Starting in a more basic form, reminiscent of a building block game style (ala Minecraft), to more complete ‘worlds’ — one even featured a little hero character — before eventually settling on the futuristic, minutely detailed, space station style.

We leaned into popular culture to guide the spark styling — giving each iteration a relatable and distinctive look. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Keith Haring, sci-fi movies such as Tron and StarWars and even technology focussed brands like IBM, who have had a significant impact on how technology is used in design today.

Open to interpretation

Something that every art and design school prides themselves on is the output of their students. We’ve always believed that the most exciting work comes from the freshest faces in the room, which is why after the initial release, the 3D spark was handed over to the students to continue it’s creation — a blank, pointed canvas for new points of view, allowing the brand to continue to develop year on year.

Skins and textures are mapped onto the basic model which, when captured at different angles feels like a new iteration every time.

MDS will soon be relocating to a brand new, state-of-the-art, custom built campus in Aukland's Innovation Precinct. The new brand has been designed to match perfectly with their new location and ultra–slick architecture.

Tech inspired Type

Px Grotesk from Swiss foundry, Optimo was chosen for it’s obscure balance between it’s rounded human construction and it’s contrasting, hard edged angular personality in characters such as the lower case, a, f and y. It straddles the line between classic and cutting edge, just like the school itself.

Living, breathing, evolving

Alongside the rebrand, their website has been completely overhauled by the Phantom’s Auckland studio. The new site is as tech influenced as the identity and really pushes the behaviour of the spark  — transforming it on user interaction.

Check it out:

Educators have reputations to uphold, and Media Design School is no exception. They may be relatively young, but they’ve paved the way for design and technology across APAC. We’ve (hopefully) created a brand that sets the bar even higher for the future of the school. Something that can be, remodelled, manipulated and built upon for years to come.

Tom DabnerCreative Director

Spark sketchbook

A few of the early forms explored for the core spark model.

At MDS, our priority is producing the right graduates for an ever-changing jobscape, so we try to bring a future-proof approach to everything we do.  As we move further into the creative tech space SomeOne has been an integral partner in ensuring our visual identity continues to reflect that ethos.  The refreshed spark is the perfect evolution of our brand and, as a creative school, its versatility is hugely exciting.

Kyle GlassBrand and Digital Marketing Manager, Media Design School


Such an undertaking requires collaboration, and we’d like to give a huge thanks to Ben Holden who painstakingly built the sparks, the students of MDS and our brilliant clients, Kyle Glass, Rion Shelley & Justin Hare.