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

It's one of the most ubiquitous and recognisable brands on the planet, and there can't be many people who'd struggle to identify a can of Coke in a line-up of soft drinks. But The Coca-Cola Company's new packaging design almost seems designed to get lost in the crowd.

The company has revealed brand new packaging across the entire range of Coca-Cola drinks, along with a brand new flavour, Mocha (which we'll be giving a hard pass). Coke says the redesign is designed to make the flavours easier to differentiate – but judging by the reaction online, it's only making things more complicated.  

Coca-Cola packaging design

How many colours is too many colours? (Image credit: Coca-Cola/Future owns)

Designed to “modernise and simplify" the brand's packaging, Coca-Cola's new cans and bottles feature full colours to "designate single flavours" and stacked colours to communicate "dual flavours" such as cherry vanilla (again, hard pass). But as if throwing a bunch of colours into the mix (at the expense of that instantly recognisable red) wasn't enough, the company has also seen fit to mess with its iconic logo. 

“We wanted to modernise and simplify the look of our packaging to help consumers find the flavour they’re looking for on the shelf through a colourful but clean packaging design,” said Natalia Suarez, senior brand manager of Coke Choice Portfolio, Coca‑Cola’s North America Operating Unit.

Coca-Cola packaging design

Good luck reading these from a distance (Image credit: Coca-Cola )

To denote either full-sugar or zero-sugar, the logo is rendered in either white or black script. That's all well and good, and indeed a pretty smart way of communicating the two variations. But as plenty of internet users have already pointed out, this blanket approach has led to some legibility issues.

Cherry Coke, for example, features a black logo on a dark purple background. And vanilla Coke is white-on-gold. It's enough to make you long for the halcyon 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. Just last April, it unveiled a bold and minimal new look for its core two flavours. But while this week's new designs are consistent in terms of the placement of the logo, the choice of colours is anything but minimal. Indeed, what's the use of one of the best logos of all time if you can hardly read it?

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Daniel Piper
Daniel Piper

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).