July 13, 2007

Coke vs. Pepsi (Aesthetically Speaking)

Less is definitely more. The Coca-Cola Company proved that with the recent enema it performed on the famous Coke can. This simple redesign turned out to be one of the best product packaging overhauls of the last several years, and it is one that will go largely unnoticed by the general public. Instead, consumers will experience a barely detectable sense of nostalgia and perhaps an enhanced connection to the bubbly beverage, and nothing more. Why such a slight consumer reaction? Rather than slapping swooshes, splashes and halftone patterns onto the design, they removed extraneous design elements and, in so doing, returned the Coke can to its long-ago simple glory.

In a marketing milieu where corporations flood the public with visual noise, a move like this from such a large player should be applauded. Now Coca-Cola actually deserves the name "classic".

On the other end of the boxing ring stands Pepsi. Now I should probably mention that I have little conviction about which is a superior soft drink. My girlfriend Julie feels very strongly that Coca-Cola is the apex of all beverages. Because of this, no Pepsi can has ever seen the inside of our refrigerator. That notwithstanding, Pepsi's latest marketing effort takes the exact opposite approach as Coca-Cola, and quite frankly their new cans turn my stomach.

Adorned with flashy, urban patterns this suite of 15 unique designs attempts to speak directly to young consumers in what Pepsi calls "a salute to the spirit of youth and discovery". Unfortunately, these cans only succeed in widening the gap between mega-corporation Pepsico and it's consumers by trivializing youth culture with graphics of car rims, snowboarders and DJs. For Pepsi's full spectrum of youth culture clich├ęs, click here.

July 11, 2007

The news never looked so purdy

Before I dive into this post, I'd be remiss not to make a quick address. I'm a bad blogger. It's true. The only excuse I can present for being such a sporadic author it that, at the detriment of my blog, I've been highly productive in other areas of my life. So to any of you out there who actually look forward to my posts—if there are any of you out there—I apologize for keeping you hanging.

Back to the news. I have an online fetish. It doesn't involve web cams, internet porn, or Myspace. No, this is much more highbrow than any of that. It's the news. CNN.com to be exact. Why the sudden interest in world affairs? Well, its never looked so darn good before. CNN.com went live with their newly designed website early this month and has set a new standard for news coverage on the web.

I won't even begin to mention the myriad technical ways that the site has been improved. For more on that check out Andy Rutledge's article "Quiet Structure". I will however say that CNN definitely knows how to clean shop. The ease of understanding has been vastly improved. Before the viewer would have to tediously sift through the stacks of often strangely worded headlines. Now, with so much less visual noise, the content finds you. This transformation perfectly illustrates the value of thoughtful design.