Love or hate the product, there's no denying that Coca-Cola (opens in new tab) is one of the most iconic and recognisable brands to ever be conceived. Using bold colours and simple execution, many companies since have taken Coca-Cola's lead in securing their own success.
Vice president of global design for Coca-Cola James Sommerville (opens in new tab) talked to us about the company's latest project – a 'mash-up' of the iconic glass bottle, to celebrate the bottle's 100th anniversary. Sommerville will be part of the judging panel at this year's Brand Impact Awards – to find out how you can enter, head here (opens in new tab).
Tell us about the project...
To honor the 100th Anniversary of the Coca-Cola bottle as an enduring icon in the history of package design, I challenged contemporary artists and designers from around the world to graphically and illustratively reinterpret vintage Coca-Cola bottle imagery for a modern audience using only Coca-Cola red, black and white.
The result is a stunning array of posters we are calling "mash-up", which is currently being featured in 'The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100' art exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (opens in new tab).
In addition, the "mash-up" work is a part of the traveling 'The Coca-Cola Bottle: Inspiring Pop Culture for 100 Years' exhibit that will visit more than 15 countries in 2015 and finally the art is featured in a limited edition book, produced by Assouline (opens in new tab) titled, 'Kiss the Past Hello'. People can view all of the beautiful submissions on our Coca-Cola design social media channels as well.
What's the concept behind the final piece?
The Coca-Cola bottle is a priceless asset for The Coca-Cola Company and an enduring symbol of creativity and design excellence. This centennial celebration in 2015 will serve as a cultural reminder of the meaning and value that the bottle has in popular culture.
The global design "mash-up" project that features the world-famous package design gave us the opportunity to engage with new, emerging and undiscovered creative talent from all around the world.
How would you describe the tone?
When you reach out to over 100 artists and designers from all corners of the world you will inevitably receive many different aesthetic looks. In total we received over 230 posters and each one was a personal representation of the designer, a unique design yet when laid together as a collection – the commonality of the inspiration and color palette gave the overall project a very cohesive feel.
What equipment was used?
Many different materials and equipment are represented in the final work. While some are hand painted and drawn, others were sculpted, photographed or digitally created in 2D vector and 3D renders. This range gives the collection fantastic depth, and while all different, they are also all unmistakably Coca-Cola.
What was the most challenging part?
The campaign to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Coca-Cola Bottle is multi-faceted, featuring a number of activities throughout the year that were all met with their respective challenges and opportunities. The most challenging part of the project for me was selecting the "mash-up" work that we would feature!
Such great choices and we had to make some tough decisions. For example, for the Assouline book, Kiss The Past Hello, we had to select the posters that we felt sat well against the Coca-Cola vintage art and for 'The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100' exhibit at the High Museum of Art, the curators ultimately chose the posters that would be featured as they had to fit with the aesthetic of both the museum as well as the exhibit.
What's your favourite part of the project?
The exhibition at the High Museum in Atlanta entitled 'The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100' for the scale and impact. To see relatively unknown designers work next to a priceless Andy Warhol original is special. Our Coca-Cola Design Pinterest page is also great as it showcases all the work submitted and finally the Assouline book is fantastic showcase – the finished product is beautiful!
As 2015 is the centennial year of the Coca-Cola bottle, we have activity running throughout the course of the year. In fact, the actual patent anniversary for the bottle is November 16th, later this fall.
The #mashupcoke art project will continue throughout the year and while the global submissions process is complete, our local markets will be engaging with new design talent on a local level to continue to develop the project. It’s also exciting for our Coca-Cola design team to see what new talent is out there and how we can collaborate on future brand projects.
This interview will feature in Computer Arts 240 (opens in new tab) – subscribe today for your last chance to bag a free handbook and to save up to 59% on a two-year basis.
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