Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments (2) Posted 02.06.09 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Mark Lamster

The Real Thing


Tropicana has been getting a lot of flack over its redesigned juice cartons. Steve Heller called the rebranding "a mistake." Jason Kottke simply dubbed it "sucky." Let me respectfully disagree. I was never a great fan of Tropicana's previous packaging system, with its now familiar orange punctured by a straw. Clever, yes, but the trompe l'oeil dewdrops were a bit much — pointlessly deceptive as the cartons so often ended up with actual condensation. I've seen the new packaging repeatedly derided as "generic," which sells it short. It's a clean, modernist design that looks like it would fit right in on the shelf of a high-end grocer in London or Amsterdam. I suspect consumers will quickly adjust to its color-coded system for differentiating between juice types (some pulp, no pulp, etc.) And it's not without a degree of wit either; the half-sphere cap — it's an orange half! — is a nice touch.

I'll defend Tropicana's redesign, but there's no excuse for the awful new logo its parent, Pepsi, is inflicting on the American public. (Both programs are by the firm Arnell.) There was no reason to replace the old Pepsi logo. It was an American institution, even if not in the league of its chief competitor. The hideous ad campaign — massive bland type dropped out of fields of washed out primary colors — introducing the new logo is a blight on the environment. The new mark reminds me of Paul Rand's logotype for the Girl Scouts of America, but any positive associations end there. It's worth noting that Coke has also redesigned its packaging; the "classic" tag is being removed from all cans and bottles of Coca-Cola. (It had been placed there to differentiate the original version from the disaster that was New Coke.) I know it's not popular to say so these days, and for good reasons, but I love Coke and have always felt that it is the single greatest consumer product ever invented.

It made my day to read Gabrielle Hamilton, chef at Prune — a favorite — praising it this week in New York magazine. “A well-timed, ice-cold Coca-Cola is one of life's greatest taste and sensory experiences: the way it makes your eyes sting and tear up and the back of your throat gets that chalky moment as good or better even than some of the highest tannins in a big red wine and then the full sugar and caffeine rush that completely cures what ails you.” Poetry, and spot on. For my last meal you can hold the Petrus. Just give me the Real Thing.

Update
: It has just come to my attention that — of course — there is a Facebook group specifically devoted to those who loathe the new Tropicana packaging. While I can't say I agree in this case, let me applaud the fine citizens who care enough about design to join said group. Fight the power!
Share This Story

RELATED POSTS


The Conceptual Posters of Boris Bucan


Accidental Mysteries, 03.25.12


Reinventing the Thermostat


Accidental Mysteries, 01.29.12


90 Years of Chinese Communism: A Multimedia Celebration



RSS Subscribe to Comment Feed

Comments (2)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT >>

Amen! I actually kind of like them. The softest touch is the cap on the side-pour opening, textured and shaped like a half of an orange. Clever, cheeky.
abernheimer
02.09.09 at 10:20

I somehow neglected to mention above that Karrie Jacobs has also written about the Pepsi logo, on her Itinerant Urbanist blog, and it's worth a read: http://karriejacobs.com/2009/01/come-alive-youre-in-the-pepsi-administration/
mark
02.09.09 at 04:22



LOG IN TO POST A COMMENT
Don't have an account? Create an account. Forgot your password? Click here.

Email


Password




|
Share This Story



Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture. A contributing editor to Architectural Review, he is currently at work on his third book, a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson. Follow: @marklamster.
More >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS