Listen, we know logo design is a complicated business. Even the simplest, most minimalist logo can require unprecedented creativity and precision, even if the end result makes it effortless.
But anyone who thinks graphic design can sometimes be a little pretentious will love (or hate it?) this utterly jaw-dropping look at Pepsi’s million-dollar rebranding from 2008. The refresh of the design is all about the word “breathtaking” and, well, that’s certainly one way of saying it. (Looking for inspiration? Check out the best logos of all time.)
The current working document (opens in a new tab) was allegedly created by New York-based brand consulting agency Arnell Group, and was leaked by an “industry insider” on Reddit in 2009. The whole thing is so ridiculous that some think (opens in a new tab) it’s a hoax.
The 27-page document starts relatively normally. Designers talk about the golden ratio, and it’s cool how these circles are inspired by Pepsi logos throughout history. But then things move in directions, uh, unexpected. Things get deep.
We are told of the “emotional forces that shape the gestalt of brand identity”. We are introduced to the planet Pepsi, the Pepsi galaxy and, of course, the Pepsi universe. We learn about the earth’s geodynamo – a fluidly moving natural electrical generator that generates and maintains the earth’s magnetic field. And inspired the Pepsi logo, of course. And perhaps the most absurd claim in the whole document is that the Pepsi logo is based on the Mona Lisa.
Indeed, it’s one of the most infamous documents in the world of graphic design, and it’s just as outrageous today as it was in 2009. Many logos have fascinating histories, from the story of the missing bite from the Apple logo to the hybrid design of Mercedes Benz. But there is only one logo that can claim to be inspired by the exponential expansion of the universe based on positive and negative definite matrices and the optimization theorem.