First sold in 1895, Topo Chico (USA site here) is a brand of sparkling mineral water sourced and bottled in Monterrey, Mexico. Sold only regionally in Northern Mexico through the 1980s, Topo Chico was introduced to all of Mexico in the early 1980s and exported to the U.S. in 1987. For some reason, Topo Chico is huge in Austin, TX — I had never heard of it before coming here. Now, the fizzy beverage is readying itself for even bigger expansion and has introduced a new logo and packaging designed by the Mexico City office of Interbrand.
I will be first to admit that snow on typography is one of the most endearing things in the world. You can put snow on Helvetica and I’ll like it. The old logo had a very authentic vernacular charm. You could picture it painted on the wall outside a cantina. Despite this pleasing patina, it’s not the most efficient of logos and not the best executions of snow on type, looking more like cupcake frosting. The new logo does a great job in evolving its essence by keeping the structure of the wordmark and refining all its characters and paying homage to the snow with a white highlight across the top. The new letterforms are pleasing maintaing the playfulness of the original while adding some visual maturity. The only issue is the “p”, that stands out like a sore thumb without any curlycue or proper connection to the letter before or after. Other than that, all the maneuvers on the harsh terminals combined with the toothpaste-y terminals on the other end (as in the “C”) are really nice.
I think I have had maybe two or three Topo Chicos in the six years I’ve been in Austin so I am definitely not their target base but I had never noticed the drawing of a princess drinking from the stream. It just looked like a blobby seal (of the wax kind, not the animal kind) on the label. The new drawing, that comes in a detailed engraving version and a more minimal one for the bottle, are wonderful depictions that add an instant sense of time and place for the product.
Rounding out the identity elements is a custom type family that has a great Colonial-era feel with a modern approach that helps establish a consistent visual cue across all applications.
The real impact of the redesign is on the bottle. The old one, no question, felt dated, undesigned, and without any consideration or attention to detail. The new label is excellent, maintaining the basic construction of the old one while improving every single aspect of and structuring it to accommodate all the product offerings.
Overall, the redesign is a superb evolution that is able to maintain the key elements that make the brand so recognizable and is now positioned to appeal to a much larger audience, priming it to blow up beyond its cult-following without alienating that passionate audience.