Earlier in this century, Coca-Cola did a great job of going minimal — probably one of the first major brands to do so — and dropped all the swirls and sweat drops from its packaging in favor of very slick designs, Diet Coke included. What has been great about the Coca-Cola (and Diet Coke) cans recently is that they look and feel comfortable, not trying too hard, and simply embracing its history and equity. This new design feels like it’s trying so, so, so hard to be cool and relevant while still trying to abide by that minimalism of its predecessor. Trying hard does not necessarily equate to it being bad as there is nothing inherently bad about this, it just seems like it’s trying to elevate something that isn’t quite there yet to iconic status.
The main design element of the packaging is the thick line that goes from top to bottom and it creates a really odd, slightly unpleasant division on the cans, which is even more pronounced by how tightly the logo fits within — I’m sure if anyone drew up guidelines for the logo, this packaging would be breaking the minimum-white-space-around-it rule. “Coke” simply feels too confined. The bar works better in the flavor versions where the illustrations at the bottom break out from it and spread into the rest of the cans. It’s too bad, though, that the illustrations are so… weird. I wouldn’t categorize them as “bad” and they are well integrated but they look very clinical or like something you would find in a biology textbook.
In essence, I guess, I don’t like the new packaging very much.