Carlsberg and Coke

Extending a brand into global markets isn’t a straightforward process. Product makers have to consider all kinds of cultural and language barriers. Can the letterforms be read? Can the name be pronounced? Does it have a pleasing or harsh sound when spoken? Does the name mean something else in another language? (An example is the famous case of the Chevy Nova, which in Mexico translates to “doesn’t go.”) Then there is the challenge of trying to maintain some graphic consistency so the brand is truly global and not the same product that looks different in every regional market.

Consider how Carlsberg Beer and Coca-Cola graphically translated their logotypes into multiple languages, for example. LogoDesignLove brought the Carlsberg comparisons to our attention. With Carlsberg, note the way that the designers tried to carry over the signature style of the brand — the flat-top squared-off “C,” tri-leaf accent pattern, the swash decorative flourish under the type, the brushstroke-like serif on the last “r.” Although the letterforms differ dramatically from language to language, the various logotypes have a family look that suggests their roots stem from the original Danish Carlsberg logo.


The same is true of Coca-Cola, probably the most famous trademark on the planet. In addition to Coke’s signature red color and contoured bottle shape, consumers worldwide instantly recognize its Spencerian script logotype. With the exception of Korean, that calligraphic style with exaggerated strokes of the “C” are evident even when the logotype is in Hebrew, Thai, or Chinese characters. Of course, when the brand is as universally known as Coca-Cola, there is no need to write it in the native language, which is why the company is dropping the translation in some countries and simply going with the English version.

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