From Converse to Vespa to Pringles – which icons need a redesign?

Last week, the Converse All Star shoe underwent a redesign. We ask designers which iconic product or brand they would play with if they had the chance.

Franco Bonadio, chief creative officer, C Space
Franco Bonadio, chief creative officer, C Space

“Converse followed a simple rule – ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.  Any redesign of an icon requires carefully considered evolution or restoration steps. Involving the brand’s ‘fans’ will help ensure you don’t alienate customers – because then you’ll be in trouble.

I’ve been riding (and falling off) Vespas since I was a teenager, and though the product is iconic, the Vespa logo – based on a wasp motif – has always felt… a bit amateurish to me (treading carefully). This may be part of its charm, but I’d tweak it (very, very) carefully and build a stylish brand framework around it.”


Afroditi Krassa, founder, Afroditi Krassa Ltd.
Afroditi Krassa, founder, Afroditi Krassa Ltd.

“It has to be food and it has to be Pringles. It would be so much fun to play with them. Everything about Pringles is so iconic: the shape of the crisp, the tubular packaging, the flavours, even their ‘pop’ sound. It is a full multi-sensorial experience. Everyone has a different way of eating them – one of my friends would even argue that the flavour is stronger on the side that lands on your tongue first, though I am not too sure that this is scientifically proven!”


Tess Wicksteed, strategy partner, Here Design
Tess Wicksteed, strategy partner, Here Design

“I would like to redesign the London Cab. I would use design and her sister technology to save a great and honourable English tradition and return it to its rightful seat as the world’s most iconic form of transport – a truly enriching and authentic cultural experience. After I had done it, I would use it as proof that great icons risk extinction if they don’t take the concept of changing times seriously. I would also be wise enough not to expect any thanks from the grumpy old so and so’s whose livelihood I had saved.”


Jenny Theolin, creative director, Studio Theolin
Jenny Theolin, creative director, Studio Theolin

“Whenever I meet a designer who’s complaining and moaning about their job, project or industry, I ask: ‘Would you say you’re a good designer?’, to which they usually reply a big fat: ‘Yes – duh.’ I then respond: ‘If you can’t design your life the way you want to live it, and you end up unhappy at work, I would definitely argue the opposite.’ Silence.

There are too many of us struggling with our ’personal brands’. We have the best job in the world – let’s look at redesigning our approach to the way we spend our time and who with, before we tackle the next Converse trainer.”


John Ramskill, creative director London, BrandOpus
John Ramskill, creative director London, BrandOpus

“Call it nostalgia, but for myself Pepsi had one of the world’s most iconic identities during the 1970s and 1980s – an instantly recognisable icon enforced with the aspiring Pepsi Generation campaign. I’ve lost count of the redesigns from the 1990s onwards, to the point that I can barely recall the brand appearance today. It feels like Pepsi is constantly chasing trends rather than implementing a more staple, invariable look as adopted by its nemesis Coca Cola, and this has made the brand less authoritative. The latest redesign hints at going back to basics in a more contemporary fashion but still lacks the soul it once possessed.”


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