Fanta’s Clever New Bottle Looks Fresh Squeezed, and Was Brutal to Design

World's first asymmetric bottle for a carbonated soft drink

There is more pressure in a bottle that holds a carbonated beverage than there is in a car tire. Thus, symmetry in the design is incredibly important. If the bottle becomes even slightly off kilter, sections will pop out or deform—rendering the packaging useless.

Fanta and its parent company, Coca-Cola, found this out pretty quickly when the designers at London agency DrinkWorks proposed the cute idea of making a spiral bottle that would make the orange beverage look fresh squeezed.

This was back in 2012. Yes, it took five more years to get the bottle to store shelves.

“The process of designing a bottle like this is very, very restrictive,” says Gregory Bentley, packaging innovator at Coca-Cola Great Britain. “We have multimillion-pound bottling production lines to think about. You’re working within a pre-agreed tube shape—if you pull capacity from one point, you need to add it in to another. You can’t take it out, without adding it in elsewhere. And of course, with a carbonated drink, the bottle has to be symmetrical, or it’ll bend.”

“How people interact with a product is where we start a project,” says Leyton Hardwick, creative director at DrinkWorks, “We got young people in a room, gave them fruit, carving kits, plasticine, play-do, pens, paper, told them to just play—make a mess! Observing people do what comes naturally when they’re thinking of a drink and oranges like this was incredibly insightful.”

Fanta loved the spiral idea. “The reality from the start, was that we all knew which one we wanted. We all had the same favorite. The problem was, there were just so many layers of people who said it couldn’t work,” says Bentley.

Eventually they found a way to make the design work. The bottle is now sold in the U.K., Italy, Poland, Malta, Serbia, Finland and Romania, with plans to expand production globally.

Read more about the making of the bottle here.