Friday, 6 February 2009

A taste of things to come?

I was in the supermarket recently and I walked down the soft drinks aisle and was warmed to see that Coke have repacked their famous beverage. It was like going back in time to better days. In what is probably a brave departure for Coke, they've stripped the bottle and can design back to basics. Red background, white type and a swoosh.

I think this is fantastic. And I say this for two reasons. Firstly; The packaging to date with it's bubbles, and swooshes, fizz effects, water droplets, drop shadows and 5 colour printing was in my mind more like a tutorial for Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop than a classic piece of packaging. All that pizzazz never really added anything to the brand and every new design seemed to be utilising every vector and layer trick in the book.

Secondly, years' ago I worked at an agency that dealt with Coke and regularly we had to adapt artwork from their supplied files and it drove me mad. It would be returned marked up showing how we'd missed off a miniscule bubble here or water droplet there - as if the future of absolutely everything hinged on this oversight. Added to that the files were so large they would take an age to process, so that the simple addition of a bubble required the processing power of a small nuclear facility. The lights in the office would visibly flicker when you pressed 'save'. I remember swearing under my breath for a return to the days of simplicity. And now those prayers have been answered – I should stress at this point that we don't work with Coke, and their decision wasn't influenced by my prayers (or maybe it was, they say he moves in mysterious ways). But all said, I'd just like to say, well done Coke.

I think over the next year we'll may see a trend emerge with this return to simplicity from other brands. Personally I say bring back the the old Pizza Hut logo, that was proper. I might even consider eating there again.
Do we really need highlights, drop shadows, water droplets reflections, shadows, pizzazz, jiggerypokerey, dancing clowns and pokerdots on our logos and brands? Does a static logo need
to appear as if it's in motion, bursting with energy implying excitement – yes I am still talking about Pizza Hut? These are questions worth asking. If the logo/logotype doesn't work in one colour, will the addition of whistles and bells make that much difference? The Coca Cola Company don't seem to think so.

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