The Riverhead Tavern

Brand Identity & Logo Design.

The Riverhead Tavern went through a new lease of life through the passion of it's new globetrotting owners.


Read how we worked closely with them to define a brand and logo design that links to historical past and a modern community.

IQON evolved the design into a simple, clean but elegant brand logo. The sub-brands for the venues are all visually connected but with their own distinct personalities.

“We needed a family of brands that would really connect with the locals in Riverhead, but we also wanted to capture ‘A pub on the river’... ” 


Paula Pepperell
Managing Director
The Riverhead Tavern Limited

The Riverhead tavern had been in existence for over one and a half centuries and it would be fair to say that it had survived a chequered existence from the early days of the gum diggers and founding pioneers through to becoming the unofficial headquarters of some of New Zealand’s most notorious bike gangs, subsequently falling into disrepute and disrepair.

Fresh from an extended round the world sailing adventure, Steven and Paula Pepperell were looking for a new challenge, the Riverhead lay beckoning like a dull jewel lying in a field of mud. With their various entreprenurial and craft skills just waiting to be put to good use they set to work with refurbishment and rebranding to bring the old establishment back up to it’s former glory.

They commissioned IQON Design to research and devise a new visual brand identity and uncover the untold brand story.

“We wanted something that would connect the Tavern to the river” said Steve, “As it was, it was hard to see the amazing character of the place from the road”. Paula adds “There was a rich history here too, digging back in the archives we discovered some amazing stories right from the beginnings of the pub through to modern day, it’s a place that could really house and display the local story and heritage”.

A key part of the brief was that they did not want to be a ‘faux olde pub’ like so many establishments that had sprung up around New Zealand of late, instead they would focus on being a true establishment that gave people a real honest experience rather than a ‘Walt Disney®’ version.

There was also a ‘roguish quality’ that was desired, a little bit of the smuggler quality that made up part of the Tavern’s ancient story.


A key part of the brand identity was that the logo and sub-brands should be easily transferred and reproduced on a wide range of media such as Signage, Menus, Web-site, Livery, Corporate Brochure, Stationery, Apparel design for merchandising and staff uniforms, Newsletters, Magazine and Press Advertising formats, etc.

After much testing and debate, IQON evolved a crafted theme that made the riverboat carrying it’s precious cargo a central element, this also gave the ability to pick up on the beautiful form of a classic clinkerbuilt craft with the proud announcement of the the Riverhead name on the transom. The oars also carry symbols that are a very personal part of the owners history that gives them a strong connection the venture... if you want to know the story though you would need to ask them.

Sub branding needed to work on several levels for the key venues would be a lounge bar and restaurant - The Landing. A function and conference space - The Oaks. And a sports bar for the traditional patrons - The Portage. All had to carry the right brand personality for the task at hand. Graphic Design Council extended the core identity into these individual areas and gave each a crafted feel that was easy to reproduce across all items from advertising and marketing material through to signage and merchandise, all while giving a historical and well considered persona.

“IQON Design have delivered us a brand system that goes well beyond what we could have hoped for” says Paula, “We’ve now got the strong foundations for a successful brand that we can add to for the future”.

A personal element was added through the use of oars, IQON explored the possibilities of unique ownership, this started a conversation that, in terms of a brand story, was pure gold.

Other projects you might like


Pushing the boundaries


Bringing a difficult story to life


A concept that delivers emotion