A brief, focused history of Mountain Dew’s can designs. I’m not including varieties, such as Code Red, Live Wire, Sport, Diet, promotional designs or extra large designs. The first ever can designed for Mountain Dew, before it was owned by Pepsi:
And, here’s the redesigns of that product package until 2009, again not including the intentional limited-run items.
I find it fascinating to view them lined up like this. You can see a definite progression of the imagery. One of the immediate things I noticed was the way the logotype becomes more slanted through time. The first design was very much straight, hand-placed type. As time went by, the name become more and more slanted until now when it’s probably at a 45 degree angle. That’s really steep! I think the second can looks more like a beer can than a soft drink can.
My favorite has to be the original design. I love how it directly references it’s moonshine heritage. For those who don’t know, “Mountain Dew” originally was a slang term for illegally-distilled alcohol, also known as “Moonshine” that was created in the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. The original Mountain Dew softdrink was created by two bar keepers as a beer chaser and moonshine mixture to sweeten mixed drinks.
The designs definitely got boring during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It seems that during the 1990’s, Pepsico started to target a younger audience with some intentionality, which can be seen in my love of the can that I mentioned above. That can design gives me good memories, directly associated with good design and a good product. Will the new design be able to elicit the same reaction from today’s clientele? That remains to be seen, but I would guess the answer is no.