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That’s a Classic

What is a classic? What makes a movie a classic, or classic literature, and even classic logos? What I love about this very concept of a ‘classic’ in human society is the poetry in it. Does something being classic, invoke a feeling? Does it have a certain look? Is it maybe just a marker in time? How does one create it? Is it all just a happy accident when a true classic is made?

According to,

clas·sic | klas-ik

  1. of the first or highest quality, class, or rank: a classic piece of work.
  2. serving as a standard, model, or guide: the classic method of teaching arithmetic.
  3. of or pertaining to Greek and Roman antiquity, especially with reference to literature and art.
  4. modeled upon or imitating the style or thought of ancient Greece and Rome: The 17th and 18th centuries were obsessed with classic ideals.
  5. of or adhering to an established set of artistic or scientific standards or methods: a classic example of mid-Victorian architecture.

I think one of the most iconic and classic pieces of imagery of the 21st century has to be the Coca-Cola logo.

Coca-cola is sold in over 200 countries around the world. Below, check out the variations of the logo from other parts of the world. The product itself, originally created in the late 19th century as “medicine” by John S. Pemberton, a pharmacist, then turned to cola wine, to the soft drink it is today. The logo, however, was created  in 1885 by  bookkeeper  Frank Mason Robinson. The colors red and white, bold but simple, were made to appeal to youth and used a font called Spencerian script.

Check out the wiki on Coca Cola and this fantastic resource of logo evolutions!



Photo Credit: Cola Conversations

It can also be said that these classics are set in stone. That redefining a classic is next to impossible, if not impossible.

Could you imagine Coca-Cola in green and black? Or maybe even blue? Sort of makes you feel funny when you think of all the imagery of Coke’s brand you’ve seen in every (civilized) place you’ve gone probably your entire life suddenly shift a little. Well it does to me at least.

Take for example the uproar over the Gap logo redesign. There is also a good article on the gap-logo-redesign-wait-old-one-was-fine-you-guys-were-right thing.

The Tropicana label redesign was also a failure with consumers and was pulled. People shopping for orange juice were so used to the way they could read pulp or no pulp that when it was changed, it actually hurt sales. Check out this article about it. People actually got upset over a logo. Real emotions over design. So, you know that whether you like it or not, advertising and branding is in a deep part of us as a people and a society and it’s always good to be reminded why design is important. Isn’t it?

The (blasphemous, in my opinion) remakes of many good (and maybe some bad) old movies has been commonplace with movie studios these days. Even if they think that remaking terrible 80’s television shows into full length movies count as being original or maybe offering some sort of closure that we’ve all longed for, I’m afraid it’s not. Also, they are set to remake the Never Ending Story, and frankly the Never Ending Story can NOT be made better, OK? But they are going to do it, along with a lot of other classic movies.

I do, however, really love book cover design. I could write many posts just about book covers. I especially enjoy redesigns of classic literature book covers. In this context, a redesign is much like a great cover song. I love a good cover song, when a musician takes a song and twists it a bit, making it something new but still having a comforting familiarity of something old.

So, check out some great examples of that below!

There are many ways to think about the word classic. It may not always be the same to everyone, but what you might consider classic is a part of you in some way. I like my classics for this. Good ol’ Coca-Cola may just be red and white script and carbonated sugar water, but it’s a classic.

classic is a book that doesn’t have to be written again.

classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.

Far too many relied on the classic formula of a beginning, a middle, and an end.”

So, what do you consider the most classic icon of the 21st century?


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  1. Tova Dian Dean says: June 19, 2012

    I must say the classics seems to be reappearing in designs, specifically fabrics a lot now. Also, once in a while there is a re-mix of a classic that just bowls me over, like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a hilarious twist on Austen’s love story!

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