Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Duckworth

Coca-Cola: “Well, what do you mean by Design…”?

In the interview with Debbie Millman, David Butler, Vice President of Design at Coca-Cola said:

“In 2004, Coca-Cola decided to open a position of Vice President of Design and hired me.  My first task was to getting familiar with the archieves and the story of Coca-Cola.  I asked achevist Phil Mooney: “If I were to learn about design, where would I start?” Phil replied: “Well, what do you mean by Design…”?

So I asked Phil about packaging, the role of bottle contour, the point-of-sale materials, the posters, the clothing lines that Coca-Cola designed in the 80’s…

It turned out that in 1916, Coca-Cola was the first franchise to design its chain stores.  In the same year, the design brief for the bottle stated two requirements:

First, the bottle should be unique and be found in the dark among all other bottles, and

Second, when broken, the shattered Cola glasses should be recognized as part of Coca-Cola


The first redesign job of Butler was the vending machines, most preponderant in the US and Japan (70% of sales in Japan are done through vending machines).  A redesigned door of the machine and a 44 inches screen monitor were added to display all the digital content, thus providing an extra connection platform with teenagers…

Butler hired Bruce Duckworth to redesign Coca logo: Who needs to show bubbles? Isn’t Coca-Cola drink bubbly enough

The two themes recurring are: Connectedness and optimism. 

The 3 main features are: Red, the Spencerian script, and the shape of the bottle...

Do you know that 25% of world population consume Coca-Cola, in 206 countries

In Mexico, every individual drinks Coca-Cola three times a day...Butler was thus transferred to Mexico for six months, and he is learning Spanish

Wherever there is a disaster (hurrican, earthquakes…) Coca-Cola produces only water and distribute free bottles.

Coca-Cola has the largest distribution network and has far more trucks on the road than FedEx, DHL, and UPS combined

Coca-Cola is ideal for emergency situations because of its wide transport networks around the world to almost every village in remote regions…

Pepsi designed a 2l bottles as it discovered that people are inclined to drink unlimited of soda when readily available and managed to compete with Coca-Cola. 

Why people behave as cultist by exclusively selecting one of the brown sugar-water soda brands?

Note: David Butler joined Studio Archetype for building digital brands with Clement Mok before being hired by Coca Cola.  Debbie Millman published “Brand thinking…” and interviewed 22 brand designers

“Never let a piece of work go out that you’re Not proud of”

Bruce Duckworth, who was asked to redesign Coca-Cola logo, said in the interview with Debbie Millman: “Mary Lewis of Lewis Mobely, an art director, taught me to Never let a piece of work go out that you’re Not proud of. The motto is “Let no bad work goes to market. And I am proud of every single piece of work in the drawers of my study…”

“I wanted to do advertising, and I am a real sucker: If a brand tells me this spread lower the cholesterol level, I believe it… I couldn’t see how I could run my own advertising agency.  I could envision how to run a design company.  Package design at the time left a lot of room for improvement…”

Branding is an experience: It leads to an ownership, one that has a touchy-feely aspect to it.  Advertising is mainly a temptation and is more distant in nature: It offers a promise, but it doesn’t give you the product.

“When Coca-Cola gave me that Spencerian script logo, I couldn’t stop smiling: Coca-Cola is the most famous logo in the world, and Coca-Cola wanted to simplify the logo.  The logo was to eliminate all generic elements that other brands could use in their designs.  Why the bubbles? Who in the world doesn’t know that Coca-Cola is a bubbly drink?”

It is the influence of the client (who knows the product better than anyone) that makes the brand design more believable, better, and more real.  Afterall, we are in the business of selling more, and not getting award-winning honors.

Wit is absolutely the key in designing a brand: It provides depth and soul. Wit is halfway between “serious” and “funny”: It includes a little touch of warmth and emotion. First we want the message out, after that we want people to go through the process of discovering the logo, one step at a time…

In this age of mass production, brand design is the closest you’re going to get to meeting the people who made the product…

Note:  Bruce Duckworth is partner with his brother Turner Duckworth. Bruce designed the CD “Death Magnetic” for the band Metallica at the instigation of drummer Lars Ulrich, and packaging for Motorola, and the redesign of the Amazon logo




June 2022

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