A lesson in evolution

Question: When is it ok to say our work is done and stop thinking about your branding?

Answer: Never

The world is forever changing and if you want to stay successful you better change with it. Just because something worked yesterday doesn’t mean it will continue to work today, tomorrow, next week or even next year.

When we think of BIG corporations that have become so familiar to us we can recognise the logo after no more than a seconds glance it is easy to forget they didn’t start out this way. It is also easy to forget that the imaging you know like the palm of your hand won’t necessarily be the same in 5, 10 or 20 years time.

To illustrate this fact we need look no further than the behemoth of industry which is Pepsi. Originally created in 1893 by a ‘Caleb Bradham’ for the first 5 years of its existence it was known simply as ‘Brads Drink’. In 1898 it was renamed Pepsi and then another 5 years later the brand was trademarked.

There are many small discrepancies over exact reasoning for various changes and exactly when/how these changes were incorporated but what remains crystal clear is how with each new imagining of the logo Pepsi have managed to exemplify the era of that period with their design.

In the first instance their logo bore a distinct resemblance to ‘Coca Cola’. Not because they were necessarily aiming to copy the established brand but because that’s just how most logo’s were written at that time.


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And for over 40 years that’s how things stayed with only minimal changes made to the thickness of letters used to write ’Pepsi Cola’. Then in 1940 Pepsi decided to update things.

Gone was the swirly yet quite jagged looking writing and in its place something altogether cleaner. The colours were still the same distinctive red and white.

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In 1943 came something far more radical as Pepsi added a bottle cap to their logo and introduced a completely new colour which up until now has never again been absent from any future branding. The reason for this new colour was to show support for the troops fighting in WWII.

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The iconic bottle cap stayed with Pepsi through the 50’s and 60’s undergoing only a change to the lettering in 1962. It was at this point they also removed ‘Cola’ and became just ‘Pepsi’.

Finally as the world said goodbye to the 60’s and embraced the start of the 70’s Pepsi unveiled their latest change. The style is simplistic in its nature but has a far more modern feel and is much closer to what we see currently.

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A different shade of blue had been introduced too and the traditional white background relegated to a minor role within the design.

 So the 70’s came and went as did most of the 80’s before Pepsi made a minor alteration to the logo when they streamlined the font much better replicating the feel of the time.

In 1991 they decided on a full revamp. The lettering was italicised and everything was moved around. The circle stayed but ‘Pepsi’ was to be the dominant feature and so it was made much smaller almost blending it in to the background. Light blue was also ditched.

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Pepsi didn’t wait as long to update things after that and in 1998 a new logo was born. The writing of Pepsi was shown in white on a blue background and the circle had taken on a 3D feel. The red box had gone and the dominant colour was now blue in an effort to distinguish themselves from the competition.

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Small changes were made in 2003 but then in 2006 the wording was pushed to the bottom, the colours changed around and more 3D effects were added to the circle with ice and condensation to give off the vibe of a crisp and refreshing drink.

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This moves us all the way forward to the present day and Pepsi’s current design. In 2008 they threw out almost everything other than the colour scheme. The typeface which had been all capitals since 1962 suddenly became all lower case. The italics had gone and the font changed dramatically. The circle had become distorted as if stretched over a sphere.

Other than very minor changes in 2014 that’s it but it just goes to show you should NEVER be afraid to reinvent yourself. Sometimes if you want to move forward you have to move back a step first.

To finish off let me show you a reimagining of the current logo I found while researching this piece proving you can’t please all of the people all of time.

Richard Latimer

Customer Services Manager

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