Coca-Cola at the Design Museum
To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Coca-Cola has just opened a new display on the history of its visual identity at the Design Museum in London...
The exhibition fills the Design Museum's glass tank and features some rarities from the Coke archives, commonly housed in a vault in the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta. The display also shows that while differently shaped Coke bottles have come and gone, the brand's visual identity has survived largely unchanged in 125 years.
When I viewed the collection, Ted Ryan, manager of the Coca-Cola archives, was on hand to talk through the contents of the tank and to discuss the longevity of company's design. The Coca-Cola logo itself was created by Frank Robinson in 1886 and, Ryan explained, was written out in Spencerian script because that was the favoured typeface of accounting folk at that time. Robinson was Coca-Cola inventor John S Pemberton's book-keeper.
One of the stand-out pieces in the tank (though designers will love the rare design manuals and identity guidelines on show) is the Raymond Loewy-designed fountain dispenser, shown above. First made in 1947, it resembles a sleek speedboat engine and is a triumph of applied typography.
Occupying the rear of the Design Museum's tank is a display of several Coca-Cola bottles, charting the subtle changes in shape that have occurred since the straight-sided Hutchinson bottle launched in 1899.
When first designed, Ryan explained, the now more familiar curvy frame of the Coke bottle was actually a reference the shape of the cocoa bean (though the bean has nothing to do with the drink) and the form has sashayed in and out of fashion ever since.
Ryan manages the company's archives with Phil Mooney and Jamal Booker and is, undertandably, chock-full of facts relating to the visual history and design of Coca-Cola. I'll be sharing the best of them in a piece in the next issue of CR, in which the Design Museum's Michael Czerwinski and curator Ria Hawthorn will also be discussing why Coca-Cola's brand heritage is of such interest to the museum.
For now, take a virtual tour of the Coca-Cola archives at theverybestofcocacola.com and get across to Shad Thames in London for a close-up look at the objects on display.
The Coca-Cola exhibition is on at the Design Museum until July 3.
In the foreground, above: a sheet of Coca-Cola logos applied in different perspectives.
This dispenser is one of the oldest objects in the Coca-Cola archive, from 1896. It dispensed syprup that was then mixed with carbonated water.
LOVE IT! the last image is clever :]
have you seen this http://bit.ly/SADBh
Very cool, I'm going along to view that.
I absolutely love the coca cola logo and brand, and to survive 125 years is pretty impressive. I also love coca cola as a drink..... Refreshing!!!
All that high-fructose corn syrup, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate (linked to DNA damage in yeast cells and hyperactivity in children), and other delicious ingredients.
To quote Wiki...'Coke concentrate, or Coke syrup, was and is sold separately at pharmacies in small quantities, as an over-the-counter remedy for nausea or mildly upset stomach.' I feel a great wave of 'nausea' just thinking about their marketing strategy and brand guidelines. I have first hand experience of both. It goes on to say 'When launched Coca-Cola's two key ingredients were cocaine (benzoylmethyl ecgonine) and caffeine.' All good there, I hear you say...
Why exactly so much adulation for something which cleans metal to a high shine (by the by, it's great for cleaning car exhaust pipes)? Is it the Listerine marketing effect: From floor cleaner and a cure for gonorrhea, to daily mouth wash?
This is a company that has made billions marketing a product that impairs the health of children and adults alike. Is it not therefore morally reprehensible to glorify it in such a manner? Would you do the same for DDT, which celebrates its 137 year this year?
last image is cleveeeer!! I love cocacola!
and @Curator what your saying is true but if u want to stop at each product in the market you won't finish
Say what you will about their product, Coca Cola is the epitome when it comes to brand recognition and excellence in advertizing.They are more than a brand, they are an icon.
Coca Cola doesn't any more advertising...there's enough in London
Good Public Relation project!
You cannot say Coca Cola has been surviving all these years. I am surviving, but them, my God, they have been making a hell of a life out of the business.
love the last one! and you got to be coca-cola to do that.
name a soft drink - orange juice, is what comes to mind :-)
fantastic creativity, my eyes thank you!
jeeesh, what a bunch of what banal coca-cola-led comments
having said that coke has done some terrific advertising and especially illustration-led advertising
but ain't the Sistine Chapel, E type jag, etc, etc, etc.
I have an unopened bottle I bought on the very day it was stated- the design is going to change-? early 60's
Moulded glass of course.
Is it worth much?
nice one....bt whr the coca cola is been missing now a days.????
This article and the display is about the design of the packaging and the logo, not about the value of the product. It's fascinating to see how trends change in fashion, architecture, furnishings and advertising. Why not enjoy and learn from it, rather than criticize.
Yes horrible drink....much damage done to public health...blah blah blah etc. I can dislike something and still admire it from a design standpoint. I hate Coca Cola, makes me ill to drink it. But I love their design aesthetic, they created so many fantastic ads. They are a brand icon. That "C" you can see it anywhere you think CocaCola.. 125 yrs of brilliant work
Whatever the damage, the firm is all powerful and the brand global. Rumour has it that the next campaign is gonna be release under the alias splitop. meant to be the who opening the can and splitting the top part. whatever that sound is. You know what i'm talking about.
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