I chose to examine the different designs of soda cans for this blog entry. I chose what I consider to be the four most popular drinks (at least among my friends). Two are dark sodas and two are light sodas, with one of each being made by Pepsi Co. and one of each being made by Coke. Interestingly, the packaging is more similar between similar products than it is between products made by the same company. For example, Pepsi looks more like Coke than it does like Mountain Dew, even though Mountain Dew is made by Pepsi.
Mountain Dew and Sprite are both packaged with green as the predominant color, perhaps portraying the lemon flavor within. Pepsi and Coke are packaged in primary colors. Coke is very traditional, with just red and white. Pepsi adds blue to the mix as its dominant color.
In regard to typeface, both Mountain Dew and Sprite have lettering that is horizontal and ascending – ascending sharply, in the case of Sprite. The lettering is either white or outlined in white. Pepsi and Coke both have white lettering, although Pepsi’s is more blockish and Coke’s is script. “Pepsi” would be more legible if both brands weren’t instantly recognizable anyway. Pepsi and Coke both have large lettering that is written vertically and ascending. I suspect all the typefaces are ascending to mimic the carbonation that is the key to the soda industry. None of the soda’s typefaces have significant serifs.
After completing this examination, I couldn’t help but notice that some soda cans have been modernized in recent years (I tried to choose traditional designs for the examples above.) The most common examples are in Sprite and Pepsi, which both went to a new can with the soda name written horizontally. Interestingly, both also used the names smaller in the new design, prompting me to wonder if visual rhetoric has now completely surpassed text as the language of modern commercialism.
Meanwhile, Mountain Dew and Coke have both been designed in completely new ways as well. The Green Label Art has turned some Mountain Dew cans into pieces of highbrow art on the go, and Coke has marketed a slimline can (with a design similar to the new Sprite and Coke cans) to appeal to twenty-something women. The weight given to visual rhetoric in all of these cases is overwhelming.
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