Darcy the Caravan Bar image by Stacey Bancroft

In 1969 an Oxford caravan was born. After a somewhat ordinary life, the caravan found itself in it’s mid forties and at a loose end. Enter Stacey and Mark Bancroft – graphic designer and draughtsman respectively – looking for an adult caravan to adopt, call their own, and put to work. The couple found the caravan in 2015 and got to work on transforming it into the life of the party it is today. Elegant yet subtle, modern yet classic, and refined yet fun, Darcy is that all-occasions mate you can invite anywhere and know he’ll fit in, no matter what the atmosphere. I talked to Stacey about how they knew their caravan was a boy, why they named him Darcy, which talented graphic designer created his branding, and Darcy’s custom colouring, amongst other things.

Abbie and Garth's HB Wedding, image by Kirsten Simcox

How did you know Darcy was a Darcy? When we first purchased Darcy he was a spare bedroom in Carterton. He had been painted to match the house in green house paint. He definitely wasn’t a Darcy then. I have always liked the name and if we ever had a son, I had wanted to call him Darcy. But Mark vetoed this, so our compromise was the caravan. Since then he was referred to as Darcy. He is our other child.

We wanted a name that was classic, timeless (think Mr Mark Darcy from Pride and Prejudice). We were always going to personify the caravan so that name had to reflect the positive aspects of his personality. He is charming and sophisticated with a bit of character. A charismatic fellow that has the girls blushing with admiration and the boys wanting to know his secret to success. We think that Darcy really suits this character.

Abbie and Garth's HB wedding, image by Kirsten Simcox

Why did you choose to personify Darcy? We always wanted our caravan to be more like a guest at the events he was going to be attending, part of the crowd. So it made perfect sense that Darcy was a ‘person’. A colleague once said to me “You speak like the caravan is a person.” I responded “He is a person!” So yes, we knew from the beginning he was going to be personified.

Darcy is clearly male (he is referred to as such on his website) – was this a conscious decision or was it made for you as the aesthetic of the caravan evolved (side note, calling Darcy “the caravan” feels like calling a child “it”!)? It does feel like calling a child “it”! We felt that there were so many ‘she’ caravans in the caravan world, so it was a point of difference to begin with. I suppose the sophisticated, Scandinavian style we were going with lent itself to Darcy being a ‘him’.

Abbie and Garth's HB wedding, image by Kirsten Simcox

 What do you think of when you hear the name Darcy and what do you hope your clientele/customers think? When I hear the name Darcy now, I think of soirees and weddings and gatherings where people are a little bit fancy, or have come together to celebrate. Overlooking a typical Hawke’s Bay view with some glorious Hawke’s Bay sun for partygoers to enjoy the occasion! I hope our clientele conjure up the same images, but we also hope people think Darcy would be a great asset to their party, a talking point and someone they want to be friends with. 

How often are you asked about the name Darcy? All the time. Quite often people think he is a she. I had never really heard the name Darcy for a girl before, but apparently it is!  

Do you have a behind the scenes nickname for Darcy when talking about the business with friends/family? Darce. Mr Darcy.

Darcy the Caravan Bar image by Stacey Bancroft

What made you choose the colour palate you did for Darcy? Was there much deliberation over the exact shade of white you picked? Because Darcy is a caravan we had to use automotive paint. I think we went with the standard Resene white. There must not have been much talk over the specifics as I can’t remember! The grey on the other hand had to be amended a few times. We wanted a really light grey, but the first one we got was so close to white you couldn’t see a difference. So we added some more tint to it until we got the grey it is now. The factory called it ‘Darcy Grey’.

Abbie and Garth's HB wedding, image by Kirsten Simcox

How did you come to choose the font and colours for Darcy’s logo and branding? How do you feel these details represent your brand? I am a graphic designer so I designed the logo myself. Honestly? I just whipped something up quickly and thought ‘that will do’! Admittedly not a lot of conscious thought went into it at all, though perhaps subconsciously I thought about it. I guess the thought process behind it was having a clean, geometric font for ‘Darcy’, to go with the minimalist Scandinavian feel. And then a scripty casual font for ‘the Caravan Bar’ to show his quirky and charming side. There is also a little silhouette of Darcy that is used on collateral. Again, just a simple design that hasn’t been overthought.

We had come up with the colours in the very early part of the process. We wanted the natural tones of the timber, with the lightness of the white and grey and the contrast of the navy. This was all influenced by Scandinavian design which Mark and I are both huge fans of. The brand itself also uses touches of peach and duck egg blue, just because they are my favourite colours.

Darcy at Craggy Range Winery, image by Sarah Williams

How important are fonts to you and how do you feel about comic sans? The actual fonts we used aren’t really that important to us. Truthfully, the fonts were probably just the current ones I was using at the time in other design work. I couldn’t even tell you what they are off the top of my head! Comic Sans is like the gerbera of flowers. Common and available at your local petrol station or supermarket. Must never be used for special occasions, only if you are desperate. And even then, surely there is another option …

Images by local photographer Kirsten Simcox, Sarah Williams, and Darcy’s proud mama Stacey.


In the two years Georgia on Tennyson has been open, Benny (owner operator) has made a name for himself as one of the most dedicated baristas in town. He weighs his beans whole before grinding, he times each and every shot of coffee that goes through his main espresso machine (“main” implying the presence of another), he voluntarily educates staff that don’t work for him (I know because they’re my colleagues), and his coffee is amazing. Always. But his product speaks for itself. What I really wanted to know was the story behind the name “Georgia”. Spoiler alert: once you read what the logo represents you’ll wonder why I even had to ask.

How many other contenders were there for names before Georgia on Tennyson, why didn’t you choose them, and why did you choose Georgia over them all? We have three sons, and Georgia was always lead contender for a girls name if it came to be. In this case it wasn’t, so we applied it to the shop. Perfect fit with a family twist.

What exactly made it so clear that this was the name for your brand? We bandied about a bunch of different names early on. The name is key. Simplicity, and the ability to recognise a brand often either stems from the name, or a memorable logo/emblem. This was elegant, had a family reference and ties in (roughly) with the Deco City theme.

To some (and by some I mean me), Georgia might come across as an obscure reference – there is nothing in Hawke’s Bay that immediately relates, and the only other obvious connections are the US State, the country, and the woman’s name. How do you feel about this obscurity/potential confusion? Yeah this is true, and I guess that in this case it’s the obscurity which has lead you to investigate our story further, and ultimately commit it to memory, no? The name evokes varying responses depending on who you talk to. This in itself I believe is very valuable and vindicates our choice.

Do you have a personal nickname for Georgia? GoT? Georgie? Yeah we’ve heard it be called all sorts, actually. Everyone has their own moniker for it which is kinda nice, and means people have really bought into our ideal. Like family. My fave is the G-spot.

What do you think of when you hear the word Georgia and what do you hope your clientele/customers think? Because I know the back story with the name it makes more sense to me, for sure, but what it also does is create a point of difference, and a reason for people’s interest to be piqued. I hope people associate the name with quality, consistency and style.

What made you decide to include the location in the name of your cafe (“on Tennyson”)? This is partly to make it super simple for locals to locate us, and it also plays into our model, where we hope to replicate the site and expand the brand in the long term (think “Georgia on High St” etc.).

What does the hexagon-esque shape containing the G in your logo represent? I’m a huge fan of geometric shapes, and in this case our logo loosely represents a vintage 8-sided espresso Mokka pot (looking down on it) with a golden drop of java. Cool, huh? Also, with “Georgia” being heavily feminine we wanted to balance this out with a bold, masculine logo. An elegant solution to make sure we appeal to a broader market and avoid isolating any group or demographic. We get a very broad range of clientele from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. From young mums out for morning walks with friends, to local attorneys and similar professionals. Coffee geeks and hipsters getting their single origin on, to high school kids getting their large mochas in their lunch breaks. We get a really nice cross section of customers which leads me to think we’re doing it right.

How did you come to choose the font and colours for your logo and branding? How do you feel these details represent your brand? We worked really closely with a local freelance graphic designer. We worked through a ton of mock ups, all the while making sure we were referencing the original project brief. We wanted the branding to exude vintage style, class and sharp simplicity. The other consideration is that the building we’re in is a listed heritage building and we wanted something that would be in keeping with the design of the facade, without being tacky deco. Easier said than done, but I feel like we nailed it.

How important are fonts to you and how do you feel about comic sans? Haha, comic sans reminds me of fifth form science assignment covers. I guess that answers your question, too. Fonts can conjure up feelings, good or otherwise, making them a key component of building your brand. So yeah, fonts are really important.

Images taken by yours truly (hire me!) but you should definitely check out Georgia’s social media.

What’s Your Name? SIX BARREL SODA CO.

six barrel soda

Six Barrel Soda Co. was borne from bar owners Joseph Slater and Mike Stewart’s desire to provide interesting non-alcoholic options to the public. Their flavoured sodas, made in house from scratch with local ingredients, were so popular that they started to distribute their syrups wholesale to restaurants, bars, and cafes in New Zealand and overseas. The bar (Monterey in Newtown) has long been in someone else’s possession but the syrups are still handcrafted with real fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices – in the cutest little HQ a company has ever had. Six Barrel is now a well known name throughout the country and intrigued by this name, I hit up Joseph to ask him the hard questions about how the brand came to be and what motivated them to give their bottles a new look.

six barrel soda

How many other contenders were there for names before Six Barrel Soda Co., why didn’t you choose them, and why did you choose Six Barrel over them all? We had a pretty long list, but knew we wanted ‘Soda Co.’ on the end. Me and Mike together with our designers narrowed it down to a top few and we went with Six Barrel Soda Co. because we liked that it’s a bit obscure and reflects the creativity aspect of our drinks. A sixth barrel is a small barrel wine makers and distillers use for experimental batches but sixth barrel soda co is too hard to say.

What do you think of when you hear the name Six Barrel and what do you hope your clientele/customers think? We want it to stand for quality and creativity. Everything we put our name to should reflect that and so I hope that’s what people think when they hear it.

Do you have a behind the scenes nick name for Six Barrel Soda Co when talking about the business with your team or friends/family? Sometimes we call it Six Baz, but usually just ‘the sodas’.

six barrel soda

What is the story behind the classical style of illustration that was part of your branding and what made you decide to change to a cleaner style? The illustrations are still there, but we have stopped the hand stamping for a few reasons. One is that it took ages and as we have grown it was a waste of staff time to be stamping labels. We don’t want to have uni grads stamping labels for 2-3 hours a day! Two, we wanted the syrups to stand out more and to have the flavours and information more visible. Sometimes stamps would be half stamped and you couldn’t read the flavours. Also it’s really hard to find good stamp ink, we used this Japanese stuff but the supplier was always out of stock.

What made you decide to change the design of the syrup labels overall? What was the thought process in deciding to add the additional seal over the lid of the bottle? The seal sticker is because we need a tamper proof opening for retail, and also a part of the sticker stays on the lid so in a busy bar/café/restaurant you can see the flavours from above. Before we found people would write the flavour on the lids with vivid so we thought we would make it easier. Now we have a back label with nutritional and other info to replace the hanging neck tags we used to use, the tags were messy and fell off all the time and no-one read them.

six barrel soda

How did you come to choose the shape of the syrup bottles? Was the choice to use brown bottles for the syrups and sodas an aesthetic one or a practical one? We looked at a lot of different bottles, but settled on our current ones because they have a nice classic look and were quite different to the bottles other companies were using. We use amber bottles because they look great but also to protect the syrups from light damage. We don’t add preservatives or colourings so the colours do degrade over time but it’s slower with amber.  

six barrel soda

What does the cross behind the name in the Six Barrel logo represent? Are they swizzle sticks?? They are stylised bar spoons but swizzle sticks works too.

How did you come to choose the font and colours for your logo and branding? How do you feel these details represent your brand? With the label fonts, we wanted them to be clean and modern to offset the classic style bottle. With the branding in general we were trying to avoid looking fake old-timey.

How important are fonts to you and how do you feel about comic sans? Fonts are important for sure but I’m not a font expert. We have a font we use for our branding and info but it’s not a custom font or anything. Comic sans is underrated, one of my suppliers sends emails in comic sans, it’s great.

Images via Six Barrel’s website / FB (ps, their ‘gram is pretty cool too).


Hawthorne Coffee Roasters Ecoware takeaway cups and packaging

Hawthorne Coffee Roasters in Havelock North is a Hawke’s Bay institution, established in 1999 and still going strong 17 years later. After travelling Europe and running an accommodation business in Scotland,  Tom Ormond along with his wife Benita came home and took ownership of Hawthorne in 2006. Tom  –  roaster, barista, coffee machine technician, packaging expert, and delivery boy – talks about rebranding, what the name means to him and Benita, and their #famous takeaway coffee cups. 

Hawthorne Coffee Roasters ecoware takeaway cup

Where does the name Hawthorne come from? The name Hawthorne originated from Hawthorne House which is a grand old Edwardian villa on the outskirts of Havelock North. The first Hawthorne beans were roasted there back in 1999 before the roastery moved to its current premises on Napier road in 2001.

Hawthorne cafe, Havelock North

What do you think of when you hear the name Hawthorne and what do you hope your clientele/customers think? Well, I was chatting to my wife Benita about this and and she came up with this stream-of-consciousness type response . I think she nailed it:

“Warm and inviting, creative and social, steadfast and authentic. Hawthorne is family. She is local, national and humble. Hawthorne cares first for the people – putting the shine into your rise. A glow in your eyes and a warmth in your belly. Uniting the village and coffee community with the world via 1st class beans and blends. Hawthorne is like the roaster, a toasty warm oven. Hawthorne is social, awake, energetic and professional. She eases through her day in her most relaxed and approachable style. Being helpful. Hawthorne likes to be flexible and relevant. She is creative and loves art, design and technology. Hawthorne works hard to stay authentic and remain steadfast. To be as good as she can be. She is strong, she grows and thrives organically.”

Your coffee cups have been featured on the Coffee Cups Of The World Instagram twice! Can you elaborate on what made you choose to feature artwork on your cups instead of just your own branding, and talk a little bit about your current cup design? Benita and I love art and design and we just saw an opportunity to use the cups as a blank canvas and put something a little different and eye-catching on them. For the first run of ‘art cups’ we used a couple of images from a friend of ours John Brown.

For the latest series we swapped our cup supplier to Ecoware, whose cups are compostable. We took the whole eco-friendly theme and (without wanting to be too cheesy) have tried to celebrate our planet by having beautiful images that incorporate the sun, sea, flora and fauna, landscape etc. The ‘moon cup’ image is the view from the moon looking back at our planet and ourselves. We had to buy that image from National Geographic and it’s a famous photo by Charles Bittinger. I guess by making a habit of not fully covering our cups with our own brand, that in itself has become our branding. We like to be a bit playful with Hawthorne and takeaway cups are a neat way to do that.

Hawthorne Coffee Roasters Ecoware takeaway cups

Do you get much customer response about the cups? The reaction to our cups has been really positive. People like that we have done something a little different. “Beautiful” is a common response. We wanted them to look beautiful and timeless so hopefully they do!

You did a rebrand sometime within the last four years, what was the reason for it? When we took over the reigns of Hawthorne back in 2006, the brand, although working successfully, didn’t necessarily reflect who we were and where we saw the business going in the future.

Hawthorne Coffee Roasters packaging

What is the story behind the classical style of illustration that is part of your branding? We really wanted to portray a sort of timelessness. Something that you could look at and keep looking at that was interesting as opposed to just a logo. The illustration perhaps looks a bit like Hawthorne sounds and it something you can dive into and see that there is also something quite futuristic about it as well as old. It was done by a friend and ex-employee Zoe Chisholm. She got to know us well and what the company was all about and she did a fantastic job of turning our vision of the brand into what we see now.

How did you come to choose the font and colours for your logo and branding? How do you feel these details represent your brand? The only thing that we haven’t messed with is the font for ‘Hawthorne’. This is really the logo I suppose and has become pretty iconic. We like it and want that to stay consistent all the while having free reign to play with all the other artwork we use in our branding.

How important are fonts to you and how do you feel about comic sans? Fonts are very important. I love how a terrible font can cause such a strong negative reaction in some people or awe in others if it’s done really well.  Comic sans should only be used in preschools.

Images via Hawthorne’s website / Instagram plus a few pro ones kindly provided by Tom.

What’s Your Name? BRAVE BREWING CO.

Brave Brewing Co

Matt Smith of Brave Brewing Co. was once an audio engineer and Phantom Billsticker with a home brew hobby and no commercial experience. Matt now runs his own award winning brewery with his lovely wife and business partner Gemma. Here Matt talks about the story behind the Brave branding – from the name to the typography to the bugle (that’s right, it’s not just a trumpet!).

Brave Brewing Co

How many other contenders were there for names before Brave? We had absolutely no marketing or business background so didn’t have a clue what we were doing. We just knew we wanted something that was short, sharp, memorable and would be easy to translate to logos and signage. Also something that didn’t have references to animals or a hop pun in the name like so many breweries. Although, I have since made three beers with animal references in the name. Must be some kind of brewers curse. We had a big list that was narrowed down to two or three. 

What made you decide on Brave in the end? 

One thing for sure is that I’m a very timid person in many ways, so I liked the PMA (positive mental attitude) aspect. It’s something to refocus on when I get scared.

Brave Brewing Co

Someone told me that the “trumpet” in your logo is not actually a trumpet, can you elaborate on this? That’s interesting, it is actually a trumpet, or at least a type of trumpet. It’s a military bugle. We wanted a design feature in our logo that was synonymous with bravery. There were a few options but we decided on the trumpet idea and thought it would be fun to incorporate it somehow in an ambiguous way. When I was young I played the trumpet for the Hastings Citizens Brass Band, so that’s another fun connection.

How do you feel about the possible missed connection regarding the bugle/trumpet? I like that it confuses people.

What do you think of when you hear the word Brave and what do you hope your clientele/customers think? I like to think that it speaks to our journey and encourages people to take risks and follow their passions. That it’s possible to bow out of traditional career paths and chase things that are more interesting to you instead. I’m equally happy if people just see it as a catchy name without too much afterthought.

Brave Brewing Co

How did you come to choose the font and colours for your logo and branding? How do you feel these details represent your brand? In all honesty, that level of thought didn’t come into it. In fact, the colours are actually quite different to what we intended as we didn’t have the budget to do proper Pantone swatch colour matching when we did our first label run. We were lucky to have a friend with a graphic design background help us out with the branding. We liked vintage style typography and simple, bold design, so he was able to take that and come up with a few options for us.

Brave Brewing Co

How important are fonts to you? I’m no expert, but I do know when I look at a product that I’m put off if the font or design is bad, so I’d say very important. 

And finally, how do you feel about comic sans? Funny you should ask about comic sans. One of my favourite breweries, Russian River in the U.S. uses comic sans on all of their labels (and not in an ironic way). They have a Double IPA called Pliny The Elder which has a huge cult following around the world. So comic sans isn’t so bad that it can ruin a good beer, but still pretty bad.

Images via Brave’s FB / Instagram with a little help from here and here.

What’s Your Name? BESTIE

bestie lightbox

Shout out to all the branding nerds out there – this segment is for you (and me because I’m one too). In our first What’s Your Name, Emma Lyell – fellow hospo kid and co-owner/operator/qween b of Bestie cafe in St Kevin’s Arcade, Auckland – responds to questions I already knew the answers to because she’s hospitable like that.

bestie menu

How many other contenders were there for names before Bestie? There were soooo many! I think choosing a name was the hardest bit of all and probably caused the most controversy out of everything we did –  even more than painting the walls peachy!

One name that we liked was Wiz (after our cat and of course, Harry Potter) but that got crushed by one statement from none other than Mr Sean Burns (ex-boss and Napier restauranteur) who said ‘oh like, taking a wizz on K Road!?’  Which was a fair point.

From there it was  on to Luna, Potter (seeing a wizard theme here!?) and something to do with ‘Uncle Kev’ but they just didn’t feel quite right. Finally we settled on ‘Personal Best’.

This was meant to be a little play on words and a theme, as we are both very much not competitive people. We thought it was a cute name and I loved the association with those little ribbons you get when you win something and also just a little bit of a joke. But after some MAJOR critical feedback we decided to shorten it. When we decided on Bestie it felt like a lightbulb moment! So perfect for us – short and sweet.

bestie takeout cups

What exactly was it about the word “bestie” that made it so clear this was the name for your business? I think it was really just the way it fit into everything perfectly. We wanted to be a place to go with your bestie and hopefully be your local. We liked the way it looked and felt. 

My main thing is that I can’t handle it when places take themselves too seriously, so it had to be playful.

 What do you think of when you hear the word Bestie and what do you hope your clientele think? I think that it feels really cozy and friendly! I really do have so many of my besties (new and old) coming in and for me it feels like a second home so the name suits.

I can’t speak for the clientele but I hope they feel welcome and that it’s a fun place, like going to a friend’s house but with table service!

And for those who don’t like us or what we are doing it’s easy enough to change the name to ‘beasties’!! Actually that’s our plan for Halloween!

bestie cafe outsideHow did you come to choose the font and colours for your logo? Tane (boyf and co-owner/operator) did up a shortlist of fonts and we chose from those. Colour wise it’s always been peach for me with the deep green to stop it from going full girly. Also we are pretty plant obsessed so that just ties in easily. The aim is not to have too many different colours happening.

bestie menus

How important are fonts to you? Pretty up there ’cause first impressions right? I have been planning to have my own cafe or bar forever so I had a clear vision of how I wanted those things to look. Because Tane and I have quite a similar style and vision (and he’s a designer) it all came together super easily. I’m no font nerd, but I hate things that aren’t necessary so I like very simple easy to read styles.

How do you feel about comic sans? I have strong feelings against comic sans because I’m not 10.

Images via Bestie FB / Instagram with a couple from these two lovely ladies ❤️