“Design with Communication in Mind”

Vintage Coke Ad

Coke has been around for a long time and so have their ads. The shape of the bottle, the swish in the type, the color of their logo are all the things they used from the beginning to set their unique brand so that you instantly knew what drink you would want even if you couldn’t read anything in the ad. In this ad from 1947 their iconic emblem is traveling from the futuristic factory right into your hand. The ad is all about communicating to you that you can trust Coke to be a quality drink all the time and you want one. So what principles are they using to do that?

arrows on the ad showing repetition, proximity and alignment of the bottles in the ad

Repetition, Proximity & Alignment

Anything in a design can be repeated to add emphasis. It can be a:

  • word
  • object
  • ruled line
  • color
  • etc.

In this ad the bottle is the main element repeated. At the time it was the iconic shape associated with their drink and they wanted it instantly recognizable. Other design elements are used with the repeating bottle. They’ve used proximity to make the bottle travel from a futuristic looking factory to you, the customer in way that you could take it right off the page. There are water droplets glistening on the bottle to insinuate that it would be a cold drink on a hot day. The bottles are also aligned so they point at the ward “trust” emphasizing and drawing your eye to the caption.

Proximity is when related items are grouped together.

The bottles are grouped together. The creators also repeated the word “quality” and placed them in close proximity, to one another to emphasize it’s importance. They want you to associate quality and trust with the drink and believe that is what you will get every time you buy it. There is one more example of proximity on the page.

circles on quality showing repetition and proximity
arrows pointing the red sign and the price on the ad showing proximity

The price.

They wanted you to know instantly looking at the page how much it would cost to go get a cold bottle of Coke. The Coke sign, something everyone would have looked for at the time to find where Coke was sold, is right next to the price which is right next to the bottles. All communicating what to look for, how much it would cost and what they want you to want.

Color & Contrast

Color and Contrast are the final elements used in the ad. Coke has maintained a brand identity almost from the beginning. The red color with that particular font and swish are part of their trademark look. People also knew look for the green bottle. You can still find it on the shelves.

Contrast is used with the futuristic factory in the background. During this time mass production was still relatively new and considered the wave of the future. It was during WWII and there was a focus on moving toward a brighter time. The futuristic factory alludes to Coke being a part of that future.

color and contrast coke ad
Share a coke ad

Bringing it Forward

Coke HAS been around for a long time. In more recent ads they looked to remind people of that. They invoke the feeling of some of their vintage ads, they still have the red color, that swish of the font, and the shape of the bottle is still there. Things like repetition, proximity, color, alignment and contrast can be used not just in a single ad, but across the years to invoke a feeling and create a brand that people instantly recognize.

Summer Walkabouts : Arlington Cemetary

Summer has been busy here.  We’ve had family visiting from other places, gone to visit family ourselves, and had a wedding reception.  Most of that was within one month!  It’s been a great summer!

We took an opportunity when family was visiting to go with them to some of the sights nearby.  One place we visited was Arlington Cemetary.



The view of Washington, DC from Kennedy’s tomb is spectacular.

We also went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.



And saw the changing of the guard.  It was 95 degrees that day.  Not including the heat index.





There is someone guarding the tomb 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, rain, sleet, snow or sun.  The qualifications for the assignment are intense and those that receive it, take it very seriously.


We didn’t complain about the heat.


Vintage Signs

I headed out this week, not for a walkabout, but for a country drive.  This area is also farm country and there are plenty of windy, twisty roads to simply drive.  If you did, you might pass cows across from a gas station, horse farms, a winery, battlefields, George Washington’s Boyhood Home, one of the best places to get donuts in the state (they’re a-MAZ-zing!) annnnnnd….the mall.  IF you were to do all of that driving, you might need some gas, but I wouldn’t trying stopping at any of these places.

Vintage BP Sign






These really were around the bend and down the road aways.


Monday Walkabout : Black and White Edition

Downtown Fredericksburg is an eclectic town filled with historic architecture, tatoo parlors, beautiful murals, antique shops and seriously fantastic food.   And yet, you can still find a place a to park.  Even better!

I started out this day with a view of the steeple from St. George’s Episcopal Church.    The current structure dates back to 1849 and George Washington attended the congregation in the orginal wooden structure that was on the site on 1738.


St. Georg's Episcopal Church


There are plenty of details that add to the charm of oldtown as well.

Sconces outside shops





And patios down alleyways.


Secret Patio



And ironwork steps


Ironwork Steps



There is just so much to explore.

Monday Walkabout – Old Town Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg, Virginia sits right on the Rappahannock River. George Washington, Mary Washington, James Monroe lived in the area just to name a few.  Then there are the civil war sites.  More than you can shake a stick at, that’s for sure.  Several pivotal battles occured in the area.  At some point, I’ll have to tell you the story of The Sunken Road and the man who crossed enemy lines.  It’s an amazing story.


Confederate Cemetary


My walk began at the Confederate Cemetary.  The Civil War is one I hope to never see repeated in the United States again.  I’m always a little quieter when I walk near places like this.


Cemetary Gate


From there I went downtown.  I turned a corner as I was walking and this bright blue door practically begged to have it’s picture taken.  I only needed to dodge a few cars to get it, too.


Bright Blue Door


Down the road a bit is the Fredericksburg Baptist Church.  It is a beautiful building.  I have a lot of respect for their history and the work they are trying to do.  Part of that history is that the building sustained considerable damage during the Battle of Fredericksburg and while it was used as an army field hospital during the Civil War.

Today they are a thriving congregation. These purple ribbons represent those who made a commitment to read the Bible with intent.  I LOVE this!


Purple Ribbons


Fredericksburg is a fantastic place and I can’t wait to share bits and pieces of it with you.