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Opinion Piece: New Pepsi Logo

So it seems PepsiCo has launched a new brand for Pepsi, and the internet has caught fire as a consequence. As the Senior Designer at Sixtwo, these kinds of announcements are always intriguing to me, so what is all the fuss about?

In my opinion, Pepsi has always been a polarising brand. The big visual change with the brand came in the 60s/70s when the script and serif typefaces were binned and everything leaned into a more modern geometric feel. To a young high-schooler back in the 80’s (the era of MTV, huge trainers and the Pepsi Challenge) it always came across as the younger, funky upstart in the cola wars. I loved the brand and bought into its energy, the only problem was I didn’t like the taste of Pepsi so its fate was sealed for me.

Fast forward to the early 2000s and they spent over $1M to move away from the traditional look and feel, switching to a very divisive logo – the Pokemon ball – which is still in use today. This felt like a bad move to me. The brand lost its gravitas and started to feel quite insignificant to me. In contrast, Coca-Cola nipped and tucked and seemed to grow stronger. The brand is long overdue for a revamp so, as a designer, this PepsiCo announcement is most welcome.

The first thing to note is that they’ve retconned the Pokemon ball and gone back to a more traditional, geometric feel – this is not an evolution of the current logo, but more pretending it didn’t really happen. The traditional circle icon is back, with its famous wave shape, and the type has reclaimed its rightful place within the icon.

What is new?

Two things immediately strike me about the new-look type: first is the odd-looking ‘P’ and second, it’s in black rather than a dark blue. If we look more closely at the letters as a whole, the shape of the P can be explained – the angle matches that seen in the ‘S’ and ‘I’ – so it’s a very logical decision, it just feels a little unnatural to me. The black colouring certainly makes it feel more retro (the type hasn’t been black since the 60s) so they’re going all in on the nostalgia. The final result sits somewhere between the 60s and 70s brand, but with a more modern edge to the type.

The other thing to note is the branding ‘system’ which only becomes obvious when you see the Pepsi cola ranges sitting side by side. Packaging for Diet, Regular and Zero Sugar products are all colour coded, with extra imagery for Wild Cherry flavours. I like the simplicity and logic of this even if the end result doesn’t overly appeal to me.

But the burning question the internet is asking – is the new Pepsi branding any good?

In truth, only the consumers can decide, but for me this feels like a nice reset for Pepsi. I don’t think it’s going to affect market share significantly – Coca-Cola just seem to have things tied up right now – but it does feel like a move in the right direction.

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