Did you know that pharmacist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola as a medicine to cure headaches? Perhaps. Did you also know he only used to sell ten bottles a day? Maybe not. It’s certainly a different story 125 years later.
Today, Coca-Cola is a world-renowned drinks beverage, infamous for its Spencarian script, its catchy jingles (hands up if you still get excited by the song ‘Holidays are coming’ before Christmas) and its iconic design.
So in celebration of its 125th birthday, the Design Museum is showcasing some of the iconic graphics that have been such an important part of its brand history. The Design Museum’s tank, outside the museum on London’s Southbank, will focus on the contour bottle and the Coca-Cola logo.
This Friday sees the launch of the fizzy drink exhibition, as well as the museum’s Design Overtime evening, which is looking at design in perfect harmony. The Coca-Cola tank installation is the starting point of the evening, with an informal talk from Ted Ryan, manager of the Coca-Cola archives collection and director of the Museum of Brands Robert Opie.
The musical part of the event will come from Jan Goodkin’s rendition of Off the Wall, as she chorally interprets the museum’s gallery text – listen out for those jingles.
For the more tuneful folk, there is the opportunity to learn to sing in harmony with tuition from Briony Greenhill of Fun Fed. For the tone deaf (ahem), more creative types there will be bottle branding design workshops on offer and the chance to pen your own name in calligraphy.
A night of music, design, song and a few drinks. Pemberton certainly got something right for the morning after the night before – a refreshingly iced glass of coke should come in handy.
Design in Perfect Harmony, 6-10pm on Friday 20 May, at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 £7.50 in advance or £11 on the door
Coca-Cola Tank installation, runs from 20 May to 3 July at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 www.designmuseum.org