As the number one soft drink company in the world, Coca-Cola has one of the most recognizable logos in existence. The company has come a long way since its creation as Colonel John Pemberton’s “French Wine Coca Nerve Tonic” in 1995. As the drink’s recipe changed from a cocaine based medicine to a fizzy soda, the soda company came to life. Though the Coca Cola logo has changed many times since the brand’s creation, it uses the same design elements to remain iconic. Keep reading to find out more about the brand’s rich history.
Coca Cola Logo Design Elements
Over the years, there have been many different Coca Cola logos, and a few of these are still in use today. All of these logos are very similar, so they are all still considered to be a unified trademark. In some versions, the logo is a red circle, but in others, it is a red square or rectangle. Within the red shape is always the brand name, “Coca-Cola” in white letters and connected by a very tiny dash. The two words, written in an elaborate, curling script, has been in use since 1886.
Some versions of the logo use a swirl of white beneath the words to reference the iconic “swoosh” from the 1960s. Though the logo looks different depending on which product it appears on, the red background with a white text and occasionally a white wave remain consistent.
Changes and Evolution
At first, the shape of the logo was simply the text “Coca-Cola.” This changed in 1947 when the classic red disc logo was created. It was a red circle that contained a glass bottle of Coca-Cola overlaid with the phrase “Coca-Cola” in white. During the 1960s, this changed into a stylized red arched shape with white text.
Later, it transformed into a red box with white text underlined with a white ribbon. The phrase “Enjoy” was added over the brand name until the late 1980s when it got removed. However, they added the word “Coke” beneath the brand name.
A more stylized version of the red disc was used until 2003 when the Coca Cola logo reached its current state.
After a brief period of black and white logos in the early 1900s, the company switched to their signature combination of red and white in the 1940s. The company briefly experimented with gray, and yellow accents to the ribbon in the nineties. However, this color change did not last.
Almost all versions of the logo have used a handwritten script. There was a brief period in 1890 when a stylized Art Deco font. Also, there were two years in the 1980s when a slab serif font appeared on the logo. Other than these exceptions, Coke logos have always used their custom cursive font. Like other brands, such as Monster, their text has a major impact on their audience.
Frank Robison created the Coca Cola logo, a bookkeeper for John Pemberton, who also came up with the catchy name for Pemberton’s soda. Pemberton used Robinson’s ideas for advertising. However, eventually, he decided to use a logo based on Robinson’s excellent penmanship. Though it went through several tweaks over the years, the company still uses the design created by Robinson that features elaborate curlicues. This has remained unchanged over the decades because Coke wants to appeal to loyal customers with nostalgia.
Even though the company used variants of Robinson’s logo for decades, they did not become an official trademark until 1893.
The circle version of the Coca Cola logo appeared in signs in 1950s gas stations and designers, and these old logo signs are one of the most highly sought after items for antique collectors. Coke only moved away from its traditional script font between 1985 to 1987. This upset some customers so much that they boycotted the beverage until they restored the original font.
The ever changing Coca Cola logo retains just enough consistency to appeal to nostalgic customers while still altering to fit new trends. An enduring color scheme and iconic font help to make the Coke brand into one of the most popular soda brands in the world. Each time customers see the logo, they can remember the taste of the beverage and start craving an icy cold Coca-Cola.