Pepsi’s New Logo

Pepsico recently revamped their brand identity for the range of Pepsi soft drinks, provoking a minor storm in the design community. The new look has few supporters, some who are indifferent, and a great many detractors.

The last decade or three has seen a fairly dynamic Pepsi “look” designed to appeal to the younger demographic that the company worked to steal away from Coca Cola. (Remember “The Pepsi Generation”?) Here’s the history, courtesy of John McWade’s website for the brilliant Before&After Magazine, ¬† (highly recommended, by the way, for anyone in, or interested in, the graphic design field).

Pepsis 1987 logo
Pepsi's logos from 1920 through 2008

The later logos broke from the swashy script that was, by any standards, too similar to arch-rival Coca Cola and won them a good chunk of the cola market. There is much more on this subject in just about any marketing textbook you care to read, from Al Ries to Sergio Zyman and everyone between.

Pepsi’s new look could be described as quirky, ¬†perhaps, but certainly not dynamic. Designers generally have strong opinions about it, but I suspect the public will greet it with a yawn.

One interesting sidelight is a possibly-bogus document that surfaced on the Internet, purporting to be from the Arnell Group. While the company does list Pepsi as a client, the document has not been acknowledged by them, as far as I know. It makes interesting reading as an exercise in “baloney baffles brains,” utter unreality or sheet cynicism.

If it’s real, and the Pepsi marketing people bought into it… Well, let’s just say that, as a designer, I hope neither of those things is true.

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