The Coca-Cola Design Manifesto Traces The Brand's Design Vision For The Future
by Bill McCool on 03/28/2023 | 3 Minute Read
When we think about tall-tale (but true) design briefs that still resonate with creatives today, it’s hard to top Coca-Cola when they asked for a “bottle so distinct that you would recognize it by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground.” And, if I’m honest, that seems a completely insane thing to ask for, but I think it’s also served them pretty well, as we all know Coke when we see it. Even when you catch the wordmark displayed in another language, for the most part, it’s always—and unmistakably so—Coca-Cola.
In its 136-year history, design has been central to the brand and its vision. Now, you can have a little piece of that design past and future with the newly released Coca-Cola Design Manifesto.
The Manifesto clearly lays out the iconic brand’s design philosophy and future, and it comes in three offerings—a gorgeous coffee table book, a moleskin notebook, and a web page. The tome comes chockful of Coca-Cola design porn, but it also seeks to demystify the brand’s creative process and makes it accessible enough for anyone that works with its stately assets. What’s more, it lays bare that “design is in everything” for the brand and aspires to inspire designers of today and tomorrow.
“The company has never had an official narrative and vision for Design, and now we have reached a state of maturity as an internal capability and a big enough team with over 100 in-house designers worldwide that seemed the right moment to set a clear point of view and our ambition for Design at the company,” says Rapha Abreu, Coca-Cola global vice president of design. “Although the manifesto is rooted in our history and brands, I believe some principles we defined are universal and applicable to other companies. In the end, it's about how to unleash the power of Design, when done right.”
“We are in the business of experiences,” Rapha adds. “It started back in 1886 with our flagship product and brand, our iconic and highly sensorial Coca-Cola bottle experience, and that same thinking is still applied to the way we design today and tomorrow. Our design vision is to continue creating irresistible and distinctive brands that stand the test of time, powered by delightful, behavior-shaping experiences for a better and sustainable future.”
So while we might not know what the future holds for the next 136 years, it’s safe to say that Coca-Cola and its impact on the design world and branding likely isn’t going anywhere any time soon—and neither is Frank Robinson’s flowing wordmark (sorry, 1890 redesign). But it's unmistakable that design remains at the core of the sodamaker's origins and the road ahead.