The Reason The Coca-Cola Logo Is Red

Coca-Cola, aka Coke, is one of the world's largest beverage companies, with about 200 different countries carrying their products, according to the Coca-Cola website. Not only is Coke's flavor distinct (with the secret recipe held in a vault at its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia), but its logo and bottle are also totally iconic. By now, most of the world is familiar with the white lettering on a red background, but there's actually a reason why red is Coke's main color.

In the company history, Coca-Cola explains the familiar cursive lettering logo was created in the late 1800s by Dr. John S. Pemberton. Back then, Coca-Cola was widely sold by the barrel to drug stores and pharmacies; At this time, alcohol was also distributed in barrels. According to Readers Digest, the Coca-Cola company started painting its barrels red in order for customs and tax officials to instantly identify them as non-alcoholic. Alcoholic beverages were (and still are) taxed and regulated in a vastly different way than soft drinks (via Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureru). The vibrant red hue proved to be memorable to more than just the tax collector. As barrels were replaced by bottles, Coca-Cola kept the branding.

An Iconic Logo

Since then, Coca-Cola has used the familiar red color to advertise its soda, with stores and restaurants posting a red disc to let customers know they serve Coke. The cola's in-house archivist, Ted Ryan, calls Coke's red and white logo it's promise to customers. "You see a red disc icon on a storefront, and you know that you'll be able to get delicious, ice-cold Coca-Cola there," Ryan tells Reader's Digest.

The red used by Coca-Cola is also quite unique. Though it looks to be one of the three primary colors, it is, in fact, its own special shade. The exact red used by Coca-Cola has no Pantone identification, but is made up of a mix of three different colors. Over the years, the company has repeated the red and white color scheme throughout many products; including the classic Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, and Diet Coke. This is a simple way to show they're all part of the same family.

Keeping the tradition alive has paid off. In 2019, Business Insider listed the top 10 brands in the world, with Coca-Cola ranked in fifth position — ahead of McDonald's and Disney.