Back to the Future: The Pepsi Rebrand Explored



Read Time

6 min


29 March, 2023

Pepsi is a brand that has been around for over 125 years and they often switch up their branding at varying intervals to appeal to the current audience.

This week, however, saw the first significant rebrand for Pepsi in 15 years, which is rolling out in North America this fall, and the rest of the world in 2024.

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This rebrand focused on the new visual identity including an updated logo, packaging style, and brand palette, all designed in-house by the PepsiCo team (much like the recent 7UP rebrand!)

This rebrand could be seen as both a step backwards and a step forwards, as the CPG giant were looking to portray the brand’s boldness and confidence, by taking influence from their previous logo designs

However, as the last logo design didn’t quite have that energy, it was time for an update!

So, let’s get into the specific details of this new rebrand!

Pepsi logo
Credit to Creative Bloq

Logo Evolution

First up we have the brand new logo design which has been completely shifted from the previous style, moving back to the design of the 1950s Pepsi logo.

This new logo reflects the lettering style of a previous logo from just over 70 years ago, with block letters that now have an added curvature to bring it into the here and now.

The brand name definitely packs more of a punch now as it is in black and far bolder than previous logos that have been in the brand colours of red, white, or blue.

If anything the logo has now been simplified and has more of a retro look with the bold upper case sans serif and capitalised typeface.

Not only has the type been updated, but the yin-yang globe design that is central to the Pepsi brand has been straightened out and the white space has been widened to allow space for the brand name to sit.

This switches up the use of space on the front of the can and helps to balance out the soda can packaging design far better!

Pepsi brand palette on different cans
Credit to Ad Age

New Brand Palette

Along with the logo, a new brand colour palette has been created to finish off the packaging design, and provide a bit more context behind the rebrand overall.

The classic Pepsi blue has been darkened and electrified, creating a richer feel to each can, and you could say it’s closer to purple than blue!

The red and white have remained fairly consistent with previous brand updates but all colours now have a particular shine to them preventing the packaging from looking flat.

The most interesting update to the brand palette, however, is the introduction of black to every can (not just the zero sugar formula, or as you may know it, Pepsi Max).

This glossy black has been introduced to create more distance between the popular soft drink and the sugar content used in the Pepsi creation process.

With standard Pepsi now containing 57% less sugar too, the brand needed to solidify that they were maintaining the same great taste that consumers love, while contributing to the war on sugar.

The harshness of the black cuts through the colourful logo and helps to bind the colour palette together all at the same time, as it’s used for the wordmark as well as the outline of the Pepsi globe.

Not only this but the black details allow the other colours that are significant to Pepsi’s brand to continue to stand out to the consumer on the shelves.

Pepsi advertisements
Credit to Ad Age

Visual Identity

The logo and brand palette changes have inevitably led to a new visual identity for the brand, although we can still expect the same energy and messaging from Pepsi, so don’t worry they aren’t completely scrapping their well-known identity!

Each Pepsi flavour is distinct from one another in terms of packaging design, with the fruity flavours featuring cherries and peaches on each can, Diet Pepsi sporting a more metallic and slightly chrome colour, and the glossy black and electric blue for the regular and zero sugar drinks.

However, one thing that remains constant is the focus on the ‘pulse’, whether that be the pulse of life, the digital pulse, or the pulse of newer generations.

This is clear within the messaging and new visual identity video, and the aim is to bring the younger generation Z audience on board.

The pulse is shown in advertisements as a set of neon blue light rings that bounce around the can, to show that Pepsi is current, exciting, and targeted to everyone.

This pulse is accompanied by imagery of burgers and fries with white outlines of Pepsi can’s layered over the top, with the logo in the centre.

Although there isn’t much mention of this part of the visual identity currently out there yet, we believe this is a great way to tie the soft drink into being the number one choice whether you’re going through a drive-through, or sitting in a restaurant.

As Pepsi are partnered with huge fast-food chains such as Taco Bell and KFC, this is an important part of the brand’s identity and they have done a nice job sprinkling this into the new branding.

Back to the Future: The Pepsi Rebrand Explored

It’s so far so good for Pepsi, as the initial response to this rebrand is majorly positive (despite the release being only 24 hours ago!)

Many critics, journalists, and agencies have posted positive reviews of the new visual identity saying that it properly portrays the Pepsi brand with energy and confidence.

We have to say we agree, as everything from the brand-aligned retro logo, down to the specific colours chosen to make the packaging design stand out in a sea of competitors, provides a nice upgrade from the previous branding.

If there was a way to appeal to a new generation, this rebrand is the way to do it, but not only improving upon packaging design and visual identity but showing commitment to a cause that is important to your audience!

But now it’s over to you.

We share current rebrands every week, sharing our thoughts and ideas, as well as the reviews of others, to give you a detailed overview of logos and packaging designs, icons and illustrations, website designs, and various other elements involved in the rebranding process.

As well as this, we like to hear what you think, so be sure to let us know your opinion on the Pepsi rebrand and whether you think these updates help to bring the branding into the present and appeal to all audiences.

Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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