Packaging Innovation
logo and packaging design
January 27, 2014

Creating a successful logo and packaging design: mere luck or a stroke of genius?

How come some brands’ logo and packaging design seem to stand the test of time, while others have to be re-imagined almost every year? Surely, an interesting question, yet not one that yields an easy answer! Are so-called timeless packaging designs mere lucky shots or are they evidence of designer genius? Let’s have a look at two of the best-known brand logos and packaging design concepts worldwide: Apple and Coca-Cola!

The two C’s unique brand logo and packaging design

When John S. Pemberton created the formula for his new drink in 1886 his partner and bookkeeper Frank M. Robinson, suggested the name Coca-Cola, thinking that the two C’s would look well in advertising. Wanting to create a unique brand logo with it Robinson experimented with the name in Spencerian script, a form of penmanship characteristic of the time. Little did he know that his design would be unchanged – except for a minor experimentation with the font in 1890-1891 – for more than 125 years. Even today the famous letters are recognized by everyone around the world.

Even though the font has remained the same, the background has been altered over the years quite a lot. In 1969 the white wave was introduced to a red background, while in 2003 some yellow and floating bubbles were added. 2007 saw the brand’s return to the ‘classic’ single white ribbon design.

 The byte/bite in the Apple

logo and packaging design          

Apple’s first brand logo was designed by Ronald Wayne in 1976, depicting Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with an apple dangling above his head. Not surprisingly the design only lasted one year before Steve Jobs commissioned graphic designer Rob Janoff to come up with something ‘modern’. Similar to Robinson’s Coca Cola design, Janoff was unaware that his design would become one of the most iconic logos of all time.

According to Janoff, the bite in the Apple logo was originally implemented so that people would know that it represented an apple, and not a tomato. It also lent itself to a nerdy play on words (bite/byte), a fitting reference for a tech company.

The shape of this initial rainbow logo remains unchanged even today, yet the coloring has changed significantly over the years, partly because printing costs for the design were soaring. The monochrome version of the Apple logo was introduced in 1997 and is still used today.

 Stick to your guns!

What the Apple and Coca-Cola examples make clear is that no logo or brand remain unchanged. Even two of the most powerful brands around the world were altered at some point in time. Yet, important to notice is that these changes never were very drastic. The key features of both the Apple and Coca-Cola logo remained untouched.

What these examples don’t show you is how to create an everlasting logo yourself. Yet, if the histories of the Apple and Coca-Cola logo contain one lesson it’s to stick to your guns! Don’t change key features of the logo because you want to be trendy, yet restrict yourself to making only minor adjustments so as not to damage brand recognizability.