Pepsi is a famous American soda brand, and its logo is as distinctive as the sweet fizz of its famous drink.
The Pepsi logo has undergone an interesting number of redesigns, with a huge shift in concept and tone as the brand evolved. Even those who don’t drink soda (and Coke fans!) can immediately identify the Pepsi logo and know what it stands for.
Let’s review the Pepsi logo’s evolution from the first design in 1898 to the current design that the entire world has become familiar with and loves. But before that, let’s find some interesting facts about Pepsi.
An Overview of Pepsi’s History
Caleb Bradham manufactured the first Pepsi drink in 1893 for his North Carolina drugstore. “Brad’s Drink” was the name given to the mixture, which was created with water, sugar, caramel, nutmeg, lemon oil, and cola nuts.
In an effort to market the drink as a “healthy” cola by 1889, Bradham renamed the drink “Pepsi” after the pepsin enzyme, which promotes digestion.
When Coca-Cola debuted in 1886, the classic drink was created to provide an equivalent purpose. However, the two brands would not engage in true head-to-head competition until over a century later.
In 2020, PepsiCo’s net revenue exceeded $70 billion, giving Pepsi a current market value of approximately $11 billion.
With over $1 billion in annual sales over 23 brands in its current product range, it sells snacks, beverages, water, and other consumables in more than 200 nations.
The Pepsi Logo’s Evolution
The Pepsi logo has undergone significant changes over time to separate itself from the competitor it originally copied. It also changed in terms of style to remain modern and adopt a more trendy, classic look.
The company has chosen to continue with its original colors and overall logo vibe, even if the fonts and artwork gradually evolved into what we see and love today.
The original Pepsi-Cola logo used a fairly unusual font, which was more typical at the time. The first attempt to define the brand’s visual tone used narrow letters with inconsistent kerning (space between letters).
The drink’s tagline, “Exhilarating, Invigorating, Aids Digestion,” highlighted its claimed use as a gut health supplement.
As time passed, the letters in the logo lines started to have a much more even spacing, making them look softer and less wild.
By 1940, the logo had been simplified to a shorter drape with elegant text. It felt quite Art Deco in style. Compared to the version from 1906, where the font had a slightly carnival-like feel, the letters were thin and cleanly cut.
And the lines from the ‘C‘ now have flourishes that accent the rest of the word, rather than the odd connection it previously shared with the ‘P.’
The Pepsi-Cola name is already inscribed on a wave in each of these logotypes; this is a design element that has lasted throughout the history of the Pepsi brand. The words had a delicate upward swoop that created the impression of motion and vitality.
With the red logo and similar typography to Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola has always struggled to rise from the shadow of the competitor brand.
Pepsi made several bold actions in this case due to trademark confusion. The company first used the recognizable blue hue in 1950 for both its logo and bottle caps.
The wordmark on the banner was intact, but the background color sweeps highlighted the wordmark’s wavy lines. The drink’s slogan was “More bounce to the ounce” in an effort to offer more fun than the competitor brand’s offering.
The “Cola” portion of the name and the script font features were removed from the brand in 1962. Pepsi changed its design significantly in an attempt to more clearly identify its brand, but the wavy lines still gave the design a sense of movement and excitement.
Pepsi gave up its previous drugstore label for one that appeared to be a bold stamp of approval in the 1960s when it became a popular drink among youngsters.
Later, in 1965, Pepsi-Cola merged with Frito Lay Inc. to create PepsiCo Inc., which is still in operation today.
1973 – 1990
There was no going back to 1960s flat design. The brand did start to change its look while keeping the font quite basic. The font changed from a simple sans serif to one with rounded corners that were more modern.
The harsh black of the logotype was replaced with a color that matched the lower wave’s vibrant blue.
And the design evolved into the circular symbol we still see now rather than being limited to a bottle cap.
Pepsi launched the Pepsi Challenge in 1975 to significantly boost its growth by stealing a few of Coca-consumer Cola’s bases.
Small booths were put up in malls across America, and young workers wearing a vivid Pepsi Challenge t-shirt would encourage them to participate in a blind taste test from anyone passing by.
Most people favored Pepsi over Coca-Cola, according to Pepsi. The famous stunt undoubtedly provided Pepsi with what it wished for: a larger market share.
In response, Coca-Cola decided to update its recipe and release a new flavor to stay current. The general public disliked it.
As a result, Coca-Cola initially suffered a setback, but Pepsi couldn’t overtake Coca-Cola fully as the market leader. Instead, it reinforced consumers’ demands for Coca-Cola and elevated the brand to the forefront of national attention.
Coca-Cola quietly restored its original recipe. This episode helped define the two brands and their market positions.
Coca-Cola is a time-honored favorite and the product of Santa Claus and Norman Rockwell. On the other side, Pepsi marketed itself as the beverage of the young generation.
It promoted its name as one associated with modern superstars like Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, and Shakira.
The major Pepsi logo change in 1991 was just to remove the brand name from the wavy globe.
Although the logo featured a red banner element that was more prominent than the one from the 1970s, the typography and other design components mostly remained the same.
Additionally, the wavy globe’s white line was significantly narrower than it had been in earlier logo versions.
1998 – 2005
Pepsi suddenly removed the banner in favor of a 3D logo in 1998. For the first time, the blue color took center stage, replacing the red banner with a pure cobalt backdrop.
Furthermore, the new 1998 logo had a shine to it and maintained the sci-fi-looking, curved slab serif font.
The design showed even more depth by changing to a horizontal gradient backdrop and introducing shine to the Pepsi logo in 2005.
For the first time in a while, the font switched to serif, and a blue line was placed to help it stand out against the background. Additionally, the subtle grey shading inside the letters lets them pop out as three-dimensional.
A few mouthwatering drops were added to cover the wavy globe that represented the drink in the 2006 slight logo makeover. In the early 2000s, the Pepsi logo was a very cool trend, even though it was becoming more sophisticated.
Arnell Group spent more than $1 million creating the 2008 rebrand, which was quite a transformation.
Pepsi was in need of a refresh, and they had the insight to go for something more straightforward in the context of the rising surge of virtual storefronts and strong online brand image.
Everything had been flattened and streamlined. Gerard Huerta designed the “Pepsi Light” font, which features an “e” that mirrors the recognizable Pepsi wave.
The globe, however, has fewer symmetrical waves and more angular waves. Some criticized the changes, calling them cheap, basic, lazy, and lifeless. However, Pepsi continued with its rebranding strategy.
They believed the logo still portrayed the youthful, vibrant brand.
After a slight tweak in 2014, the logo now features the strapline without a globe’s border. The implied waves of today’s minimalist designs support the circle’s structure.
The entire personality is perfect for contemporary platforms and packaging. It is simple to read and effectively expresses the core features of the Pepsi brand.
Although the thin, lowercase sans-serif font is a little off-putting to those who are used to the brand’s vintage look, it has a more contemporary and relevant feel for the younger generations.
Pepsi’s strategy has been to stick with the younger demographic ever since the company was launched.
Most brands place a significant value on their logos, and creating a graphical presentation of your brand can be challenging.
If you’re attempting to create a logo for your own company, you can research well-known companies like Pepsi to discover their design decisions over the years.
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