The Coca-Cola logo is iconic for being universally recognisable. However you may be surprised to know that the brand’s world-famous script and wave haven’t always looked exactly as they do now.
This timeline explains some of the changes that occurred since the first-ever Coca-Cola was poured nearly 130 years ago.
1886 – What’s in a name?
On 8 May 1886, Dr John S Pembertonnailed the formula, but it was his bookkeeper who came up with the name "Coca-Cola®". Frank M Robinson, suggested that “the two Cs would look well in advertising”.
And with that, Robinson also designed the now world famous Coca-Cola script logo.
He wanted his name for the new product to have an effective and dramatic style of its own. He experimented with an elaborate Spencerian script, a form of penmanship characteristic of that time. After consultation, the others working at Pemberton’s company adopted the script by unanimous consent.
Drawn in flowing handwriting, Robinson’s elaborate script was very “of the moment”, and it remains one of the most recognisable trademarks in the world.
1887-1890s – Inserting the trademark
On January 31, 1893, the logo was trademarked with the U.S. Patent Office. The words "Trade mark" are written in the tail of the "C" in Coca.
1890-1891 – Extra swirls
For one year only, the Coke logo gets a dramatic, swirly makeover.
1941-1960s – Tail tweak
‘Trademark Registered’ move out of the tail of the ‘C’. The trademark is noted
below the logo, instead of inside it.
19 November 1947, the modern Spencerian script, as we know it today, is registered in Australia.
1947-1960s – The Coca-Cola Red Disc
Since 1947, the Red Disc or “button” sign has been used to advertise Coca-Cola. The strong graphic image of the disc shape, became a cornerstone for outdoor signage. In 1948, the discs began to be hung inside a place of business as advertising and decoration.
Red Disc images also appeared in print advertising into the 1960’s when the Arciform or “fish tail” signs began to be used.
1958-1960s – A fishy shape
sees the script placed inside an Arciform shape, which looks like an arch. The Arciform sign (better known as the “Fishtail”
sign) was unveiled in 1958. Within a year, the Arciform design was used in
copy, signage, cartoons and on vending machines.
Unfortunately, by 1965 this design was phased out and replaced by the familiar Red Disc of earlier years. It was decided that the red circle was the strongest visual association with the trademark.
1969 – That white wave
Arden Square logo is unveiled. In a red box, the Coca-Cola script is underlined with a white ‘wave’, or ‘Dynamic
Ribbon Device’. This is still used today.
1982 – Diet Coke®
The 1980’s featured memorable slogans such as “Coke is It!” and in 1982, the introduction of Diet Coke - the first extension of the Coca-Cola trademark. The famous script logo was changed to a slab serif font. And the original Diet Coke logo design included bold red letters against a white background.
2003 – Keeping it real
With the introduction of the "Coca-Cola... Real" campaign, the Dynamic Ribbon Device was enhanced with a shock of yellow and some bubbles.
2007 – A classic design
A simple, bold approach with a single white ribbon.
2011 – 125 years of happiness
Coca-Cola's 125th birthday logo sees bubbles bursting from the contour bottle– a celebration of the past, present and future.
2013―2014 – Your name, that classic font
The Share a Coke campaign, swapped out the Coca-Cola logo with your first name. Originally,
the idea was conceived with names printed in the traditional “Coca-Cola”
Spencerian script. However, due to trademark issues, a brand-new typeface
inspired by the “Coke” logo was created. The typeface was named “You” because
it’s about you, the consumer, not Coca-Cola.
The first-of-its-kind campaign, was created in Sydney in 2011 and has since reached more than 70 countries. Coca-Cola teams around the world have put their own creative spin on the concept, which revolved around the iconic logo.
2016 ― “Taste the Feeling”
taste and iconic appeal of the original Coca-Cola Trademark, unites the
Coca-Cola family of four Coke products. The new global creative campaign
features the familiar Coca-Cola icons, such as the contour glass bottle and the
popular Red Disk logo design.
Here’s a fun fact, “Taste the Feeling” is the 47th major advertising slogan Coca-Cola has introduced through the years!
Want to know more?
More on Journey
- Past and Present: Exploring the Iconic Brand Design Behind the Coca-Cola Red Disc
- A History of Coca-Cola Advertising Slogans
- Coca-Cola Red: Get the Inside Scoop on the Company’s Second Secret Formula
- A Sign of the Times: Coke's Kings Cross Sign Through the Decades
- Why Fanta is shaking up soft drinks