Snapple's old logo and their new one
Snapple’s old logo and their new one

Snapple, that old deli-shelf standby of non-soda, has unleashed a new brand identity to a pretty dismal reaction from the design community.

The new identity takes the original premise of Snapple as a quirky and unpretentious New York brand, and runs it through that meat-grinder of corporate marketing. The result, in my opinion, is a generic and unremarkable — the sort of stuff I continually skip on store shelves.

New Snapple Bottles

Clearly, they were going after that ‘natural’ market and positioning Snapple as wholesome and healthy, instead of fun and tasty and generally not a big deal. Snapple now wants to ‘own’ tea, one of the products that rose them prominence in the early 90s. I can understand the desire to make the packaging pretty, using textures and illustrations of nice fruits, but the trouble is keeping that stand-out appeal. The old ones, while they made no sense and had no unity, were at least easy to spot.

Here’s an illustrated look at the older ones, and then the newer ones.

Old Bottles
older Snapple bottles

New Snapple Bottles
new Snapple bottles

So, let’s talk about this new logo.

Snapple's new logo

Yes, it’s more tidy and clearly it shows the effect taken to refresh the mark, but the newness comes at the expense of being recognisable. As should be evident from the above bottles, the red-and-blue mark may be awkward , but it’s easy to spot against a colourful label. I don’t quite understand why this new logo has been set vertically along the bottles — this orientation causes the logo to fade into the background and become part of the overall noise that is a store shelf. Is there something I’m not seeing?

What’s further confusing is that the old logo can still be found on certain labels. Taking a look at the website, there are all sorts of product lines, which seem to deviate so much, I can’t help but wonder which line is the ‘main’ one.

New Snapple Bottle
wait, isn’t that the old logo?

New Snapple Bottles
lots of products I don’t quite understand

With any new brand identity overhaul comes a new opportunity to create cohesion and unity, in this case across the many product lines. I can’t quite tell if they have yet to implement any kind of ‘system’ or if they plan to at all, but the initial shock and awe of this new identity leaves me to wonder if all hands are on deck, where they should be.

The reason for my scrutiny and apparent cynicism is because I did my own little re-design of Snapple a while back. My solution was pretty much the opposite of the one illustrated above — instead of making the labels prettier and adding more touchy-feely textures, I broke it down and made it more basic, with an icon and pattern system that could be compared to navigational signage rather than paint-by-numbers artwork. Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet. (portfolio samples | in-depth PDF booklet)

Many of the images came from Armin’s post on BrandNew. His post is actually much better written and features some ads from Snapple’s more glorious days. Check it out »