Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in

The client:

ITS Group is a registered charity where profits are reinvested to support its learners and the broader community. It consists of Independent Training College, which enables learners to gain skills and qualifications, and Independent Training Solutions which supports workforce development through training.

The brief:

Dale Evans, the Chef at ITS, has been overhauling the way the canteen is run and wanted a bring the area in-line with the new standards he has set. Previously a school hall, it had been neglected and unloved for years. It was rather unwelcoming and therefore under-used.

The client wanted it to become a welcoming area that ITS learners would want to use not just at lunchtime, but as a recreation space throughout the day. My job was to inject it with some personality.

Initially the client asked for a branding package including the generation of a name, a logo, signage, leaflet and poster templates, but as the job progressed Dale was excited by my ideas and it soon developed in to a full makeover!

The project:

The learners needs were at the heart of the project, and while members of staff were invited to contribute their ideas, the final word would be from the learners. Dale was keen to ensure that they were happy with what we did with it, so I started with some market research and asked for feedback about what the learners would like to see in the cafe. They created moodboards which really helped to steer the project. It became apparent that they wanted more of a chilled out space rather than just somewhere to eat. They asked for more colour, a comfy seating area, a tv, a pool table and a vending machine. While some ideas such as the pool table were impractical in the space, we looked at each suggestion and accommodated as much as we could.

In response to the learners’ suggestions, I created some of my own boards to display my suggested themes and accompanying name suggestions. These were hung in the dining area for people to comment on and vote which they preferred. The chosen name won by a landslide. The new cafe was to be named ‘The Hub’ and have a Pop Art inspired theme.

I created the logo, leaflet, poster templates, corporate guidelines etc as per my usual branding package, but I ended up also looking at the furniture, its placement, the way in which people flow around the room and the decor. Finishing touches included an illustration for a wall canvas and a mural across the full brick wall at the hatch. You can see on the photos that I created a design that worked with the brick shapes, negating the need to skim the walls to keep costs down.

See the results in the before and after shots below.

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More learners are using the cafe facilities and are staying after finishing their meals. The pleasant atmosphere seems to have had a positive effect on learners’ attitudes too – there is a marked improvement in the amount of chewing gum litter and incidents of graffiti in the area. Plus cafe staff have reported that the learners appear to respect them more.

The different levels at which positive changes have occurred since the rebrand is truly amazing. It goes to show that image really does matter!

What the client said:

“Black Bee Creative did a great job with the design and rebrand for the cafe at Independent Training College. They offered real practical solutions to the task and the results speak for themselves. Our learners feel more at home in a bright and welcoming environment which reflects in their achievements. The Hub, as the cafe is now known, is the vibrant heart of our centre.”

Dr. Chris Payne, CEO ITS Group


“It was a joy to work with Steph at Black Bee Creative on the rebrand of our cafe. She is flexible in her methods of work and always found a way that was best for me and my operational needs. She offers a clear, easy and straightforward route through the creative process. Even though our project was out of the ordinary as we had our learners choosing the designs they liked best at each stage. Steph certainly went the extra mile in doing this! She brought ideas to the table that I hadn’t even considered which enriched the final outcome a great deal.

Compared to the quotes from other design agencies the price from Black Bee was amazing without compromising on quality in any way. In fact she went over and above, which would have put a big dent in our budget were we using another company. There was talk of doing the design “in house” but the skills, experience, specialist sector knowledge and time saving have proved invaluable.

I would recommend Black Bee Creative to any company looking for a designer who cares about you. I would not hesitate to work with Steph again and I have passed on her details to other businesses thinking about working with a designer, I can’t think of a better accolade than that.”

Dale Evans, Chef