Saturday, January 17, 2009

About the New Pepsi Logo

Every so often something is able to remind me just how much of a graphic designer I still am even though I like to focus on illustration. Pepsi's redesigned logo is one such thing, which I'm sure many of you have seen by now.

(Images from this article.)

I absolutely love it. I've read that reactions to it are mostly negative, which I guess doesn't surprise me too much. When something that we're familiar and comfortable with gets changed we tend to not be too happy about it. I am as guilty of this as anyone else. Sometimes I'll find myself looking up old restaurant or gas station logos and thinking "That old logo was so great, why did they change it?" (This is something only graphic design nerds do, I would assume. You wouldn't believe how excited I was when I found out that they made entire books full of good diagram designs. Sad, I know.)

So let me tell you why I like it. First, the design itself is just...good. I don't really think there's any denying that even if you prefer an older version of the logo. (The 70's vesrion is my favorite.) It's clean and simple, which is very hard to pull off. Second, and more importantly, it's the first major step away from the whole "X-TREME!" branding trend that has been present for far too long. The kids that grew up with brand designs full of unnecessary X's and pointy lettering have, well, grown up. I like that Pepsi did a complete 180 from those elaborate, messy, and gradient filled visuals and were able to do it well.

I've also found that this logo allowed me to prove to myself that my design sense is stonger than my sense of nostalgia. What I mean by that is tied to what I was saying earlier: I, like most people, look at older versions of logos with much more fondness than their newer redesigns. Take for example this image I found in an article you can read here:

Don't you find yourself looking at the older logos and saying "Oh man, I remember when it looked like that! It was so much better!" Now also notice that every one of the older logos is much simpler, and every one of the newer logos took some element of it's older self and put it on a diagonal axis. (See how the words "Burger King," "Pizza Hut," and "KFC," are all slanted, and the bell in the Taco Bell logo is at an angle.) Also see how shine marks were added to BK and Taco Bell, and that the details on the Colonel are much more elaborate.

So the fact that I liked the new Pepsi logo right off the bat proves to me that I don't like all these older logos just because I remember them from when I was a kid, but rather because they are genuinely better logos. Tell me what you are with solid design, not by following a trend that has worn out its welcome.


Randall Nichols said...

Since switching to diet soda, I tend to prefer Pepsi over Coke, even though I generally just buy whatever is on sale. When you and Dave and everyone were talking about the logo on New Years, I was surprised to have not seen it yet, and kind of expected to have the negative reaction, just because so many times the designs had just been... unpleasant. I mean, I was buying for the product, so whatever, but the cans always felt like something I didn't want to have in the room with me.

But I got to say, I picked up usual gross of Pepsi the other day, and I'm really in your camp here, Glen. Not mentioning how many times I got Diet Pepsi's last can design mixed up with the regular Pepsi's design, I just generally like the classier, simpler look. I like holding it, I like the way it looks. I think of a lot of things in terms of panels and angles because of the comic book thing, and it's actually one of those visuals I feel like I could build a scene around.

Which probably makes zero sense, now that I say it out loud. The point of this long rambling response is that I like it too.

Randall Nichols said...

Oh, and also, since I haven't said enough about Pepsi... those cans with the bottle caps on them?

Man, that always messed with me.

Brad said...

I am a die hard Coke fan. If a restaurant doesn't carry Coke products I will usually go with water. So I dont pay much attention to Pepsi, however I did see a billboard recently with the new Pepsi logo. It didnt say Pepsi it just had the logo. I thought at first it was an Obama- Hope logo. Looks pretty similar to me. Maybe they are trying to ride Obama's coat tails?

Glen said...

Brad, I am also a die hard Coke fan! My kitchen and bathroom are done entirely in coke memorabilia. I even own a 1960's Coke machine. Ironically though I decided to stop drinking soda altogether a few years ago, so the Coke vs. Pepsi thing lost most of its importance in my everyday life. :)

Dave Humphreys said...

I didn't realize the Pepsi logo had changed so much in recent years. I believe my favorite out of all of them, probably for nostalgic reasons, is the third from the right in the line-up.

Have you noticed how the image of Col. Sanders' face has been redesigned lately? I've heard people say it was to make him look younger and friendlier, but mostly, it just looks like they shaved off his eyebrows.

Dave Humphreys said...

Also, I'm glad I'm not crazy for noticing that so many logos, specifically food and restaurant ones, seem to be tilted diagonally now.

The Mountain Dew logo before the revamp kind of bothered me because you can't really tell what direction it seems to be turning.