One of the most famous and unmistakable shapes in the world since its introduction in 1915, the Coca-Cola bottle is an influential symbol of design, art, and culture. Identified by its iconic contour fluted lines and described by noted industrial designer, Raymond Loewy as the ’perfect liquid wrapper,’ the bottle has been celebrated and revered in such mediums as art, music and advertising. From representations as a symbol of mass culture expressed by greats like Andy Warhol and Clive Barker to serving as a reference point for industry influencers such as Volkswagen who compared the shape of the Beetle to the bottle, the Coca-Cola bottle has been a benchmark for the past hundred years. For the 100th anniversary of the contour bottle, Coca-Cola invited us to recreate and reimagine vintage Coca-Cola bottle imagery and iconography using only three colors: Coke Red, black and white.

Going back to 1899, we traced the bottle's development from the original, straight sided Hutchinson bottle, leading up to the iconic contour bottle in 1915. Looking at this metamorphosis, we realised that 1915 was also the year that Kafka’s famous novel; The Metamorphosis, was first published. The novel tells the story of a man who wakes up to find himself transformed into an insect, most commonly portrayed as a cockroach-like beetle. We found this coincidence interesting, and were also amused by the phonetical likeness between the Spanish word for cockroach (cucaracha) and the name of the soda brand. Cockroaches are often only ascribed negative connotations, generally causing repel and disgust. However, they do have some quite admirable characteristics. An example of this is their ability to adapt to new environments and their capability to survive through extreme circumstances. This is clearly something that they have in common with Coca-Cola, with product presence in 200 countries worldwide and an average of 1.8 billion beverage servings each day. The Coca-Cola company has also managed to remain strong and to continually expand their operations through periods of widespread financial hardship and war.

Our contributed poster depicts the Coca-Cola bottle’s metamorphosis, from its original form down to its current shape. The poster is screen printed in white on high-gloss red paper.

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