The Logo History of Coca-Cola

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Don’t you just want to grab a cold drink when you see the Coke logo? It is stunning and well-marketed. A rich story hides behind this beverage logo. Real logo nerds know that the Coca-Cola logo made such an iconic dent in history.

This Atlanta-born invention has been growing non-stop. Their 2019 sales revenue hit $37 billion and that’s not even their highest record. 

Every day, 1.9 billion servings of the drink provide a sugary sweet experience for Coca-Cola fans all around the world.

Certainly, their logo has played a huge part in this growth. But how did it even start?

Since its establishment in 1886, the logo has been through a lot. We’ve got a lot to cover:

Meet The Designer

Humble is one of the many words you can use to describe the brand’s beginnings. But the word “surprising” does the trick as well.

When pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton started bottling the syrup concoction made of coca leaves and kola nuts, he didn’t exactly have the best logo making tool in the market. Instead, he left the branding to his pharmacy’s partner and bookkeeper. 

It was Frank Mason Robinson who coined the brand name and the brand logo.

Robinson used a design trend to create a logo a year after the product was launched.

This trend involved the hypnotizing script design called Spencerian. It makes sense that Pemberton’s record keeper would be a master of this penmanship. This script was thoroughly ingrained in the American work culture in 1850, a period long before the typewriter came to be a corporate staple, until 1925. In fact, even Ford uses the Spencerian script for their logo.

The curvy form of the logo was strategically put in place. According to name-giver and designer Robinson, the repetition of letter C would look good in advertisements.

The multi-faceted man was clever and we certainly hope he got a raise.

The Timeline 

Now, we’re getting down to the meat of this logo’s story. 

1886

At the time of the brand’s establishment, they didn’t really have a logo. The company opted to have the brand name printed in a sleek serif font that looked great on newspaper ads.

1887

The drink grew in popularity after a year and the brand decided to take their branding up a notch. The company finally decided to bank on the curviness of its name into a script logo.

This time they used red and white to give their products a distinct look. It wasn’t for aesthetics, but for functionality. The vivid shade of red served as a way for tax collectors to wave the product of tax. It was crucial to do this because carbonated drinks used to be packaged the same way as alcohol. Both of the drinks used to be packaged in barrels.

Color psychology has labeled the color red as an appetite-inducing color. Indeed, for the company, this was a happy coincidence. The red logo helped them avoid being improperly taxed and get their audience’s appetite going.

This was the first appearance of the tail seen in the logo’s first C.

1890

A few years after the death of Dr. Pemberton, the company was acquired by another entrepreneur named Asa G. Candler.

This man eventually altered the logo by adding extra elements to the font type. It changed the figure of the brand name’s C entirely. There were added details to each end of the stroke that resembled hanging cherries. It was dramatic and new to the eyes of many Coca-Cola fans.

However, it only lasted for a year. The company soon went back to their original logo. Coca-Cola stuck with the old logo to accompany the newly patented bottle shape. 

1941

Coca-Cola’s old logo got cleaned up. The company ditched the swirly look. They also decided to take the trademark text away and emphasized the logo’s italicized typography. This was also around the same time when the company decided to accompany their logo with an equally slender bottle packaging.

The brand has never been more sure of its identity.

1958

coca-cola-1958-logo

This era of the Coca-Cola logo is better known as arciform or the fish-tail logo. Fancy terms aside, it resembles the end of an arched ribbon. The design featured the brand name with a heavier silhouette.

Back then, the design was often seen with a matte finish, This design was put on nearly everything the company produced. Consumers would see this on bottles,  ads, vending machines, and more.

It was used briefly before being changed into something with a more rigid look.

1969

coca-cola-1969-logo

The logo of this beverage giant was put into a square logo. Of course, the smooth flowing curve wasn’t forgotten. Why would it be? It’s been an iconic part of the brand’s storytelling.

Coca-Cola’s 1969 logo is living proof of how timeless logos benefit companies who adopt them. This rendition is used to this day on their packaging.

2003

coca-cola-2003-logo

After a long while, the logo was given a new element. The logotype didn’t change much as usual. 

The brand decided to add color and detail to its classic wave detail. Its heavier font type makes it look more commandeering. You’ll also notice more depth brought by more lines making up the wave. Coca-Cola’s 2003 face could be called a happy coincidence. Remember when we said that red was an appetite-inducing color? The color yellow has this effect as well. 

Today

coca-cola-present-logo-2020

This brand is worth $80.83 billion dollars. It has survived a handful or rebrands throughout the years. But one thing remained the same, the iconic logotype. 

Don’t fix what is not broken, right?

You could say that Coca-Cola knows what works best for them. All the other elements that surrounded their brand name typography changed drastically through the years. They knew that their logo has stood as a household staple long enough to ever be revised. 

Special Editions

This fizzy drink giant likes to switch it up every once in a while. Just like every other exciting brand out there. The appearance of their packaging changes as the seasons and their partnerships do. You can really see how well the Coke logo holds up to different occasions.

Here are three of our recent favorites. 

TicTac

coca-cola-collaboration-with-tictac-special

Coca-Cola in collaboration with TicTac

A collaboration with the mint candy company urged them to create a striking red print of their logo to put on white rounded cylinders. Usually, it’s the other way around. 

This project with the TicTac certainly put a new look that gave equally strong benefits for both brands.

Crescent Coca-Cola

coca-cola-ramadan-special

During Ramadan season, the Coca-Cola Norway decided to incorporate the Islamic crescent to commemorate the holiday. The company typically creates seasonal campaigns for Christmas. However, for 2019, they decided to be even more inclusive of their global audience.

The detail that made it season appropriate was the crescent new moon shape which is often associated with the religion. This is a season of more intensive worship for the religion.

Sakura Coca-Cola

coca-cola-sakura-design-special

Sakura or cherry blossom season is a special time for Japan. Coca-Cola released a campaign that celebrates this early April phenomenon. The season is known to be the time when pink leaves begin to shed from trees in the said country.

The significance of this event is that the Japanese people see it as a renewal of life itself. They hold festivals to celebrate the shedding.

Theory and Hidden Meaning

Let’s talk about the most interesting speculations about the brand logo.

Theory #1

Originally, the logo was thought to be designed that way to condition people to associate it with Christmas. It used to embody jolliness with its red and white logo. The drink eventually found its way to every merry occasion. It doesn’t even matter if it was the Christmas season. People try to think of good times and Coca-Cola is already on the table.

Theory #2

It is a known fact that the drink was invented and began to grow in Atlanta. It’s an American brand. However, it is unavoidable to have at least someone in the crowd who is trying to be a conspiracy theorist. 

People say that the letter O in the logo looked a lot like the Denmark flag. This went against the brand’s convention of becoming a concretely American brand. The company did not let this happy accident stop them and instead, tried to put the logo in airports. The bulk of Denmark’s airline companies did it and this theory just stuck. 

Conclusion

Other drink companies rarely out-stage Coca-Cola when it comes to branding.

The brand’s competition seems to fall short when trying to outshine the cola company. Coca-Cola managed to commit branding faux-pas here and there, but the brand gets its feet up on the ground.

They are definitely a brand to look up to.

Companies who are looking for the best beverage logos will find value in our beverage logo gallery. This comes together with a user-friendly editor that lets anyone personalize their design and make templates even better. Give it a try today.

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