Coca-Cola’s new packaging design is a total mess

It’s one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable brands on the planet, and few would struggle to identify a can of Coke in a range of soft drinks. But The Coca-Cola Company’s new packaging design seems almost designed to get lost in the crowd.

The company unveiled all-new packaging for the entire line of Coca-Cola beverages, as well as an all-new flavor, Mocha (which we’ll give a pass). Coke says the redesign is designed to make the flavors easier to tell apart — but judging by the reaction online, that only complicates things.

Coca-Cola packaging design

How many colors is too many colors? (Image credit: Coca-Cola/Future Owns)

Designed to “modernize and simplify” the brand’s packaging, the new Coca-Cola cans and bottles feature full colors to “designate single flavors” and stacked colors to communicate “dual flavors” such as Cherry Vanilla ( again, hard pass). But as if throwing a bunch of color into the mix (at the expense of that instantly recognizable red) wasn’t enough, the company also saw fit to spoil its iconic logo.

“We wanted to modernize and simplify the look of our packaging to help consumers find the flavor they’re looking for on the shelf with a colorful yet clean packaging design,” said Natalia Suarez, Coke Choice Senior Brand Manager. Portfolio, Coca‑Cola’s North America Business Unit.

Coca-Cola packaging design

Good luck reading them remotely. (Image credit: Coca-Cola)

To designate full sugar or zero sugar, the logo is rendered in white or black writing. That’s great, and indeed a pretty clever way to communicate the two variants. But as many Internet users have already pointed out, this global approach has led to problems with readability.

Cherry Coke, for example, features a black logo on a dark purple background. And the vanilla cola is white on gold. That’s enough to make you dream of the good old days of simple white on red.

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This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Coca-Cola update its packaging design in recent months. Last April, it unveiled a bold, minimalist new look for its two main flavors. But while this week’s new designs are consistent in terms of logo placement, the color choice is anything but minimal. Indeed, what good is one of the best logos of all time if you can barely read it?

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