13 Sep Why Coca-Cola bottles are shaped the way they are
Coca-Cola is without a doubt one of the world’s most iconic brands. From the delicious dark fizzy liquid that can quench any thirst to its ad campaigns featuring the likes of celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Natasha Lyonne and Taylor Swift, it is simply a world favourite.
Part of Coca-Cola’s iconic character is its bottle’s product design. Its fluted lines have been described by industrial designer Raymond Loewy as the “perfect liquid wrapper”, and style icon Andy Warhol even likened the bottle design to mass culture.
However, the Coca-Cola bottle that we know today did not always have the same base shape that we have seen throughout the years. When Coca Cola was first introduced to the market, most bottles had straight lines, which could make it difficult to easily differentiate among different brands.
So, how did it all change?
First step: logo
At first, to ensure Coca Cola could be differentiated from competitors that were eager to piggy-back on the drink’s popularity, it introduced a diamond-shaped label in 1906 with the Coca-Cola trademark.
Still, there were some snags as the cold barrels that Coca-Cola was often sold in caused the labels to peel off and competitors still continued to copy the label. Luckily, a smart approach to product design was on the horizon.
An iconic bottle is born
Although an iconic logo was in place, The Coca-Cola Bottling Company knew that they had to go further to protect their business from competitors. Following business discussions, the company’s trustees decided to allocate funds to reach at to glass companies to design unique bottles that will have notable designs that would be recognisable anywhere.
One glass company, the Root Glass Company, took their product design inspiration from the cocoa bean with its stretched-out shape and notable “ribs:”. Thus, the iconic Coca-Cola bottle was born.
Evolving through the years
As with any product or industrial design, the iconic Coca-Cola bottle has seen its share of design updates over the years. Initially a slightly fatter shape, it has been updated for the modern world, while still showcasing its famous curves.
A lesson in product design
If anything, Coca-Cola is perhaps one of the most famous examples of how a brand’s product design can evolve and be updated without losing its distinct character and personality. Truth be told, it also teaches us that what is inside the bottle matters as much as the outside – or, in other words, the product design.
Having a solid design base can provide product designers with their brand blueprint from which they can base every update, without losing the essence of what makes a product design so unique.
It is this realisation that, truly, makes a brand iconic.
At Moss&Schmidt, the example of Coca-Cola’s signature bottle design inspires us every day. As industrial designers, we strive with every project to create iconic designs that will stand out from the rest. Contact us today if you are looking for exceptional designs that will elevate your brand above the exceptional.