Brand Design; Evolution of the Coke Bottle

A Packaging Icon
Few brands boast packaging that has gained iconic status – the ability for cultures all around the world to identify the product purely from the form of its bottle. Coke has long understood the brand equity within the proprietary bottle shape, maintaining the authenticity of their packaging as it has evolved over the years.

Here’s a photo that shows the evolution from Coke’s first bottle, through to their current packaging – a snapshot of the fascinating visual history of this most valuable brand property.


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David Ansett, Brandamentalist.
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  1. Recognisable even in silhouette!.

    One thing that had never occurred to me until I see them all lined up is the expanding and diminishing waist line of the coke bottle – I’m sure not all packaging is capable of being allocated a gender – but this feels like its evolved to become very feminine to me in both its shape and its loo.

  2. You’re right Domma, Whilst the Grolsch bottle is less distinctive from its beer competitors, the bottle is a unique brand property which leverages their heritage and provides the brand a distinctive ‘craft of beer making’ edge.

  3. How interesting that the first bottle had a cork. It looks more like an expensive bottle of brandy than a coke bottle. It is claimed that by 1902 there was little as 1/400th of a grain of cocaine in each ounce of syrup and Coca-Cola only became entirely cocaine free in 1929.

  4. If I remember correctly, the Coke bottle was specifically designed to be reminiscent of the female silouhette from that time period, so those of you who noted the rounding of the form are spot-on with that observation. I seem to remember the original product was green in color, which required some of the earliest bottles to be opaque or colored.

  5. Kimberley, I’ve never been able to authenticate whether the Coke bottle was actually designed around the female silouhette or whether that’s brand folklore. We’ve worked with an iconic Australian cheese brand called King Island Dairy. King Island’s a brand rich in heritage and story-telling, and some of the story’s I’ve heard as fact from the market, which are brand folklore are amazing. Either way it’s a good story, and that’s good for the Coke brand.

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