Billy Blue & Blue Mountains


It all starts with an idea.

We have refreshed the visual and verbal identities of two Sydney education institutions, Billy Blue College of Design & Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School. The new identities align them with their parent brand (Torrens University Australia), while holding onto the heritage cues that students and industry recognise them for.

Together, they help students identify and thrive in their chosen field, each playing a vital role in building the Torrens University brand — the majority of student intake comes from courses offered by these two schools (known as PowerBrands).


2020 • Transform Awards

Best Visual Identity in Education — GOLD
Best Use of a Visual Property — SILVER
Best Brand Evolution — BRONZE

This story is split into two parts

Part 1 — Billy Blue College of Design
Part 2 — Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School


Billy Blue

Billy Blue College of Design first opened its doors in 1987, the brainchild of renowned Sydney based designer Ross Renwick, who named it after his own studio. Unhappy with the quality of design students stepping out of the city’s universities, Renwick took it upon himself to raise the bar. Expecting only a handful of students to sign up, the first year saw 66 intakes and a long waitlist. The rest as they say, is history.

History played its part in the brand refresh too. Now with 32 years of graduates under their belt there was quite a bit of heritage to protect, while simultaneously moving them into the new world of TUA.

We retained their signature pink colour, stretched their inherent maverick personality and illustrated new poses of the iconic Billy Blue character, inspired by the legendary boatman of the same name who’s creative ingenuity gained him fame and wealth in the 1800’s.

Tom DabnerCreative Director

By championing the morphing world of the Torrens University (TUA) master-brand, we injected a new lease of life for Billy Blue. Taking the essence of TUA’s morphing brand world, we amplified the renderings to bring it into the ‘real world’, transforming the morphing shapes into something tactile — almost as if you could take hold of them and re-work them into whatever you could dream up. A sort of digital modelling clay that brings analogue and digital creativity together.

3D design and animation was developed with Ben Holden, long time collaborator of SomeOne’s Syndey studio.

Working in close collaboration with renowned local illustrator Nigel Buchanan, we reimagined the college’s name-sake character. In the past, Billy had been represented as a well-to-do gentleman, a man of privilege, but this is quite far from his true legacy.

Re-drawn in a variety of poses, he now resembles a truer portrayal of the real man. An enterprising opportunist who didn’t follow the status quo — the maverick that lends the brand the spirit it lives for today.

His new poses are inspired by various brand mantras and traits associated with Billy Blue of days gone past…

Flying a kite; references a famous quote from Ross Renwick — ‘A pencil is a kite flown by the mind’.

Holding his pencil proud; a nod to the college’s ‘Adventure into design’ mantra.

Leaping into the air; representing his maverick spirit.

Together with the morphing brand world, the new identity is a celebration of pure imagination.

With each pose he brandishes his trusty pencil, the symbol for design and one that has been synonymous with the college since it’s inception. The pencil lives on as the social media icon and features on specially branded merchandise.

All the work was developed in partnership with the Billy Blue Creative studio who brought their wealth of knowledge and years of in-house experience to the table. A vital contribution and one that resulted in a coherent, joined-up end result that will keep the brand evolving into the future.

Blue Mountains

fresh and clean

Torrens University’s other ‘Powerbrand’ school tips the opposite side of the scale. Where Billy Blue celebrates creativity, Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (Blue Mountains for short) is all about refinement and finesse; an ode to silver service and crisp white linen one finds in the finest hotel establishments.

Our challenge here was to take the personality and vibrancy of Torrens University’s master brand, with is flowing morph shapes & fluid brand behaviour and re-appropriate it for a school who’s reputation precedes them. They turn out high-end hospitality graduates who go on to represent the world’s top hotels. As a result the Blue Mountains visual identity manifests as a sleek sister to the TUA master brand style.

From polishing the smallest of silver spoons to welcoming the most VIP of guests, good hospitality lies in the details. The very best in hotel management brings a level of service like no other – layer upon layer of skill, thought and attention to detail is brought together in a pure and smooth flowing identity system.

Romelle MenezesLead Designer

Finesse, craft and detail all inspire the deft visual style of the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School brand — white on white morphing shapes allude to the crisp, clean aesthetic of white hotel linens and immaculate staff uniforms. Quietly confident, with thin ribbons of colour, another nod to TUA’s masterbrand palette — the golden (and blue) thread linking them together.

#1 in APAC
BMIHMS is the top hotel management school in Asia Pacific

Every element of each brand’s new visual & verbal operating system is laid out in detail across an extensive set of digital guidelines.


To celebrate LGBTQ Pride month back in June we injected the iconic rainbow flag across all brand assets within the Torrens University Ecosystem. Uniting them as one and flying the flag for equality and acceptance across the world.