- Year / 2004
- Manufacturer / Coca Cola
Barber & Osgerby were approached by Coca Cola to design a bottle, based on the fact they had never designed one before. This seemed a strange idea at the time, but they believed that a designer with little or no knowledge of package design would take them in an interesting new direction. This turned out to be true. Naivety regarding the production process, which they deliberately maintained, led to the design of an asymmetrically shaped bottle. At the first presentation, Barber & Osgerby were informed that this would be impossible to make. The massive production speed at their bottling plant (60,000 bottles per hour, 1.2 million a day) would not accommodate an asymmetric shape, as the bottles could snag, resulting in thousands of bottles being thrown off the line. After various discussions with the engineers it became apparent that by keeping the top and bottom contact points of the bottle parallel meant Barber & Osgerby could do whatever they wanted with the middle section, and still achieve an asymmetric design. Coke’s new product was pitched as a healthy drink that could be consumed on the go, so a shape that was aesthetically pleasing and also functioned ergonomically was desirable. Even without the graphics it was important that it was distinct from its neighbours on the shelf. The asymmetric shape was vital in order to the achieve this. After overcoming these obstacles, Coca Cola produced their first asymmetric bottle.