CLIENT: Blue Chip Cafe at UBC
INDUSTRY: Food & Beverage, Coffee
Blue Chip opened in the original Student Union Building at UBC in 1989. Offering a variety of cookies, muffins, and other pastries, it was a highly successful business where the only complaint was the wait. Flash forward to 2006, Blue Chip’s reputation exploded as their Java Nut Cookie was featured on an American PBS television show, KCTS Chefs.
With its historical value and fame, Blue Chip - turned Uppercase Cafe - turned back to Blue Chip Cafe makes its reappearance on campus. The updated cafe offers freshly made bagels, wraps, sandwiches, pastries, snacks, fair trade coffee, and a variety of Blue Chip Cookies baked fresh all day.
Design ProcessThe rebrand aims to tell the story of student life at UBC; past and present. The location showcases archival images marking significant milestones in UBC’s past. Using contrasting materials like white brick, blackboard, and wood, the brand pairs UBC’s rich history with distinctive vintage aesthetics.
The primary logo is distressed to reflect it’s history and perseverance. The arched typography gives off a friendly and approachable vibe, with the black cups echoing the logo and blackboard at the cafe. The sleeves give the brand a bit of character by featuring fun, pun friendly coffee and cookie slogans.
Blue Chip Cafe rebranding concepts were derived from the Funnelling Design Process. I met with various executives and stakeholders with the AMS of UBC, and the UBC Student Council President in order to reimagine the brand.
The Blue Chip Cafe logos come in a few different forms, each with specific applications. While the primary logo should be used in majority of situations, we do have a solid (non-distressed) version, one and two color variations, and a special gold alternative.
The brand, inspired by UBC's rich student history, adopted vintage textures and elements into the cafe's space. White walls were replaced with faux brick panels; menus including the typography referenced classic and traditional typefaces; the back entrance features a large blackboard wall to highlight promotions, events and other need to know information; the rear entrance includes a metallic gold vinyl logo; and the hallway signage is an iron bracket with a hanging wooden engraved sign. Throughout the space, historical photos of UBC students and faculty are featured along with knickknacks that personify student life and UBC's culture.
Each stage of the design process helped refine this classic UBC brand. As we planned out the brand direction, we also considered the space and the product. The chalkboard wall is meant to connect current students with the space, offering the opportunity for the creative ones to illustrate chalk art. The cup sleeves are adorned with puns and funny light hearted sayings about coffee in relation to student life. The framed photos illustrate a timeline of UBC's history. Lastly the hand painted (by yours truly) distressed logo on the back wall of the cafe, the final cherry on top.
For Blue Chip Cafe, I was able to redesign the Cafe's menus and signage. Both menus are vinyl prints that stick onto existing acrylic panels. The large product offerings meant using the space creatively while emphasizing the same vintage vibe of the Cafe. In addition to the menus, we created a "break incase of emergency" graphic that was placed onto a display frame filled with coffee beans. The metallic gold exterior signage was also a nice old-timey touch.
Over the course of this contract, I was responsible for sourcing and scheduling the vinyl installations, wooden signage, iron bracket, and other interior elements. These duties were performed at the same time the other UBC AMS brands were designed.