A Research Of The Pepsi Logo Evolution

Pepsi. It is the refreshing, bubbly drink that we reach for at birthday parties and barbeques. It is one of the drinks that has stayed popular throughout the years and is still prevalent today. When we see the Pepsi logo we instantly know what brand it is, but Pepsi’s evolution dates all the way back to 1898 when the brand just started out. Comparing the logo from 1989 to the present day, there has been drastic changes that have given Pepsi the change to be known as one of the top drinks in America. The iconic trademark that we now know as Pepsi has been through various design changes that have helped shape it into the design we now associate to Pepsi. The whole evolution of the Pepsi logo is influenced by various things such as the invention of writing, the industrial revolution, etc. From pictograms to ideography, Pepsi has utilized graphic design history to design their forever lasting logo. The brand Pepsi originated in North Carolina in 1989 by a man named Caleb Bradham. He was a pharmacist who was hoping to replicate something similar to Coca Cola because they had so much success with their drink. It was made of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other natural additives. He named his drink ‘Brad’s Drink’ but later renamed it Pepsi Cola. It was renamed this because it highlighted the significant ingredients Pepsin and kola nuts. The name was first trademarked in 1903. Pepsi has become one of the top beverages in America to this day. Pepsi is a brand that is able to reinvent their design. They can remake their logo to stand with what is popular at the time and what can sell. It is the reason that Pepsi is still such a popular brand today, because they can change with the times. Because it has been around for so long its logo has gone through many changes since its first debut in 1989.

The first logo was inspired by the font of Script. Its outline is thin and has many bumps around each letter. There are also a lot of curves in the text that swirls around each letter. It looks very old timey. This logo is beginning to have more simplistic qualities. The color that has continued to be a staple in the Pepsi logo is red and the P and C connect in the 1989 logo. It is one of the logos that are significantly different than the other ones that Pepsi came up with in the future. This was the style of the first logo because it was what was the most popular during the late 1980s. The style of this font seems to be grotesque, which is influenced when printing came into Europe. It has an odd shape that does not look like the other logos in the next couple years. It looks like a prototype of what the logo should be. It was also what Pepsi’s rival Coca Cola had for their font and Pepsi wanted to mimic what Coca Cola had to try to increase their profits.

The next change for the logo was in 1905. There were little tweaks that helped make the logo significantly different. It looks like the newer version of the 1898 logo. It still has the same idea as the first logo but improved. The biggest difference in this logo compared to the one in 1989 is that it is thicker. It kept its color as well as the swirly font. They added the flag to the C that gives it more character compared to the logo in 1989. This revision makes it easier to read as well as removing the bumps on the letters makes it smoother. It gave the logo more presence and gave it a bolder look.

In 1906, the changes were small. The font became even more bold and the letters began to look more lined up. This logo looks very similar to the one in 1905, but the added ‘drink’ to the flag on the C. At this time the company touted the slogan, “The Original Pure Food Drink.”, which is why the word “Drink” was also incorporated into the wordmark. Other than that, the logo remained essentially the same. Moving to the 1940s, the logo began to look even more minimalistic. It is bold and has no added design except for the letters itself. They also removed the word ‘drink’ from the flag on the letter C. In 1950, the logo rebranded. This was the first big change for the Pepsi logo. The first major change was the added color of blue. This was added to give support to the troops in World War II. It was made to represent the American flag. “The colors are meant to represent earth’s magnetic field, feng shui, Pythagoras geodynamics, the theory of relativity, and the golden ratio”. This shows a pictograph of the American flag and Pepsi’s support for their troops. Because of the pictograph, Pepsi was able to represent their support for the American troops as well as keep a new and modern symbol with the use of the pictograph. This is also influenced by the ideograph. Pepsi’s use of ideography has given them the logo that they will stick with to the present day. This was also the beginning of the circular addition to the Pepsi logo. This logo would last for over a decade.

Moving into 1962, Pepsi made another drastic change in their logo. It seemed to be influenced by the industrial revolution because of its font. Because it looked like it was typed by a machine it looks like the font that is called slab-serifs. It also had a font that was majuscule, or in all caps. They removed the word ‘Cola’ from their design as a whole. They also changed the font to something more simple, sans serif. This was also influenced by the industrial revolution. It was still bold but changing the font to sans serif made their logo stand on its own and give it a name for itself. Having this new font also added symmetry to the design as a whole. They kept the colors red, white, and blue and the circle behind the word PEPSI. It seemed to have the Greek influence of the unical design by spreading the word PEPSI apart just a bit. This remake was the foundation of what the logos for the next couple decades would base off of. During this time, they also made a campaign called ‘Pepsi Generation’ that also was based off the remake. In 1973, the logo is what is more known in the present day. It seems more modern and looks more attractive to the eye. It is similar to the 1962 remake but they removed the bottle cap and moved towards a present day approach. It is now put in a boxed shape that is what is now attached with the Pepsi logo. This logo is more flat than past logos and gives it a more minimalistic look. The new look is also due to the changes that were happening during the 1970’s. It was a time that was about new beginnings as well as enjoying the new modern things that have come to light. Pepsi decided to work with that and gave their logo a more modern and simple look. The colors remain the same with the addition of a light blue that is still prevalent in their branding now.

In 1991-92, it was a creative change to the remake. It was not the same as the last couple remakes and is outside the box, literally. They removed the word PEPSI from the rectangular box and put it on the top. Although there is no box the logo itself looks like it is still boxed in. The word is still bold and has the same font but it is italicized going back to its roots. This remake is another visual indication of the company’s forward thinking and vision. (fineprintart.com) It gives off a more dynamic look and shows how creative and different the company can be. The colors are also toned down which again gives the logo a more simplistic look rather than a harsh in your face look. In addition to that, the letters seem even smoother than before. There are no harsh points which gives the logo as a whole a more smooth, sophisticated look. The iconic circle still serves its look in this logo. Instead of being the center of the design it is on the side. This gives the whole design a different look that does complement the style of the 1990s.

The 1998, Pepsi celebrated their 100th anniversary. To celebrate this great accomplishment, they decided to switch up their logo. They did this by changing their white background to the classic blue that they incorporated into their logos years before. They did this so that Pepsi could be recognized for a certain color and could stand on its own. They still aimed for simplicity and being bold. The circle was also added with more dimension to give the logo as a whole different look than all other competitors. The word PEPSI was now bold and in white which makes the whole logo stand out more and makes it look more identifiable. They brought back the boxed look but gave a more modern twist to it. The blue background against the white text gives the whole brand a different yet distinguishable look.

In 2003, there was an additional remake to the logo. The white bold word was now outlined with blue to give it more dimension. It was “updated with pseudo-serifs reminiscent of its 1940 rebrand, along with some subtle 3D shading.” This logo pushed more towards giving the whole design a more 3-D look to show more action and motion to this brand. They were trying to give their brand a different look that was not used before. This was one of the only times that Pepsi stepped into a different style than they are used to. The use of 3-D effects was a new way for Pepsi to step their brand up. There was also more curvature to the text. This was one of the last remakes to this logo before the present day logo took its stance. With the use of the ideograph, Pepsi was able to transform their support for WWII into a logo that will be known for the rest of their history as Pepsi.

Going to the present day logo, it is the most simplistic design to this day. Pepsi has made its mark with its iconic color and design. Without the history of design and different design influences, Pepsi wouldn’t have been able to come up with different looks that their logo made. Because of design, Pepsi was able to grab different inspirations from different eras to incorporate into their logo to make what is now the famous Pepsi logo The design can come with or without the word Pepsi. This soda company has become so well known that it does not need the name of the company for people to know what it is. But with the design with the word pepsi, the typeface is soft and lowercase with the color being blue. There is a white wave in the middle of the circle that gives Pepsi its iconic look. The reason for the white middle is to indicate a smile. It gives the logo something different and something that attracts more consumers. The present day logo takes its inspiration from the honoring of the troops in WWII and by giving it the simplistic style that has been seen throughout the logo remakes. As the decades pass and the remakes are many, it has led to the logo that we see today. It is simple and takes its inspiration from the decades before it. Without the influences of all the different typefaces and designs of certain artists and eras, Pepsi would not have the iconic look that it has today.

Works cited

  1. https://www.designhill.com/design-blog/evolution-pepsi-logo-design-hundred-years/
  2. https://medium.com/@inkbotdesign/history-of-the-pepsi-logo-design-a0db24715722
  3. http://www.worksdesigngroup.com/brand-stories-the-evolution-of-the-pepsi-logo/
  4. https://www.fineprintart.com/history-of-the-pepsi-logo/
  5. https://www.britannica.com/topic/PepsiCo-Inc
01 February 2021
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