First sold in in Wichita, Kansas, in 1994, Aquafina is the leading national brand of bottled water based on current sales volume and is sold in over 15 countries. Produced by PepsiCo, Aquafina competes against Coca-Cola’s Dasani, Nestlé’s Pure Life, and Glacéau’s Smartwater, among dozens of other regional variations. What makes Aquafina more special? If this sort of thing impresses you: It’s “purified through a rigorous, seven-step process called HydRO-7™”, a “state-of-the-art process that includes reverse osmosis and other filtering and purification methods.” As long as it doesn’t kill you, I’ll take tap water, thanks. Earlier this year, Aquafina introduced a new identity — the first change since it launched — designed in-house by PepsiCo Design & Innovation.
Perhaps most notable of all is the new word mark, which has been changed into a simple and approachable sans serif font that completes the crisp new look.
I’ve never paid close attention to Aquafina’s logo or bottle and I’m surprised both by how terrible it is and how it has lasted in such a state for 22 years. The lettering is not completely terrible as someone actually drew condensed letterforms instead of squeezing an existing font but everything around it was abysmal. That mountain range was the saddest thing I’ve seen in some time and the double-swoosh with gradient was adding insult to injury.
The new logo is more contemporary, switching to a monoweight sans serif. While it is visually better by comparison, the new logo feels very dry as if they had squeezed all the personality out of it in favor of a modern-day aesthetic because that’s what everybody else is doing. It’s probably the heavy Adobe Illustrator bezier construction that causes this; looking very limited from what a designer — not a letterer — was able to do. It’s not a bad logo but it could have been slightly more unique. The mountain range is a lot less sad but it’s still not the most inspiring graphic motif.
[…] The new identity captures a sense of movement and fluidity. The solid blue background has been transformed into a pattern of translucent waves in three shades of overlapping blue. The image of mountains has been modernized and focused: two subtle Alpine peaks give you a glimpse of a clean, icy landscape.
Other than Smartwater — because of its elongated bottle shape — I never know, acknowledge, or really care what bottled water I’m drinking as they all look and feel the same but this new version of Aquafina has a better chance of standing out with the wavy label that breaks from the typical rectangular labels. The blues are richer and the wider structure of the new logo fills the bottles much better. The mountain range in the labels gets a boost with the waves interacting with it and giving it a snow-peaked top. Overall, a definite improvement for a mass market product that shows far more design restraint than most others in the category.
Thanks to Luis Cazzaly for the tip.