6.17.2013

16 oz Pepsi


The 2008 redesign of the Pepsi-Cola logo is a grand monument of graphic design, more of an art piece than a simple rebranding.  The company's logo work has always been top-notch - the 1973 style being a particular favorite - and both its fascinating history and abundance of strange flavors in Japan certainly helped win me over to their products.  But it was the combination of minimalism, font choice, and color palette five years ago that were the large reason of why I first opted for them as a preferred beverage choice which has now led to minor obsession.

And so I am worried.  An announcement back in March declared that Pepsi bottles would take on a new shape with a swirled grip and would first appear in a new 16 oz size.  However, their press release seems to ignore two disconcerting aspects.  First off, the plastic label has shrunk to make room for the swirl design, and in doing so has taken away from the wonderful use of negative space.  Also - and I am unsure if this will carry over into the 20 oz bottles - the label's shade of blue has been lightened.

This may not sound like a big deal, but it is indeed a Big Deal.  The previous design - especially on the 12 oz can - is one of the few images - or perhaps things in general - that I have come across in my life and can say with confidence is Perfect.  By playing around with these two elements, it steals away the inherent beauty, and I fear that this design will make its way all the way, somehow, to its aluminum brethren.

This unfortunate situation is reminiscent of the 2008 change to the Super 8 logo, which went from a - not perfect, but spectacular look to something one would expect to find on a supermarket.  I hold a certain affinity to that particular motel brand, but don't see myself ever happily returning.  This decision of mine will not be applied to Pepsi- the taste itself is not changing, after all - but it remains a disappointment.

One cannot fight the evolution of consumer culture, unfortunately, but one can stock up on certain designs and keep them for purely nostalgic reasons.  If a frame exists to hold the modern Pepsi can, I shall place it in one.  Perhaps a glass box.  It might just be the pinnacle of consumer creation, after all, and we must not let it be lost to the cruel indifference of history.