Ok, so the title of this post probably gave it away, but I’ll bet most of you were thinking it.
During a sunny walk at the weekend along Shad Thames I came across Coca-Cola‘s recent display outside the Design Museum. Celebrating their 125th year the vaults of their Atlanta based HQ have been opened to reveal some “rarities from the Coke archives”.
A small, but carefully curated, selection of items from Coca-Cola, with some pieces particularly fascinating from a design perspective.
The logo itself was created in 1886 by Frank Robinson, and is lettered in the now so familiar Spencerian script. Little known fact the reason for the script is due to the favouritism the typeface had amongst accounting folk of that era. Frank Robinson was in fact Coca-Cola inventor John Pemberton’s book-keeper!
One of the most interesting elements of the display was the collection of bottles through the ages. Despite some slight variations the visual identity has been largely unchanged in 125 years.
Well, you don’t become a globally recognised, iconic brand without some kind of longevity.
When the bottle was first designed, the curved frame of the Coke bottle was actually a nod to the shape of the cocoa bean (though the bean has nothing to do with the drink) and that general form has “sashayed in and out of fashion ever since”.
Some of the details of this relatively small display were fantastic too. From the front you view an undulating wave of bottles throughout the years, but from the back you notice that the stands actually form the cross sectional contours of the modern day bottle. Nice.
One of the great things about this display, was how well they utilised the space. With, essentially, a glass box it can be tempting to cram objects and descriptions into the limited space. But with equally limited space to optimise font size for distance reading, they successfully embraced some modern technology in the humble QR Code.
Just a simple tap on my phone and I had all the information in my hand. Good work guys and girls.
Take the fascinating virtual and interactive tour through the remarkable Coca-Cola archives here to see much, much more. I really can’t recommend it enough.