Well, it came and it went: the redesigned carton for Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice— derided as European, at best, and generic, at worst. It wasn't until the Tropicana debate erupted on the blogosphere that I realized European has such negative connotations; from a design standpoint, European is usually considered a positive. Evidently not to Tropicana loyalists. When I first encountered the new carton, my initial reaction was more ambivalent than negative. It certainly stood out amidst all of the orange (the fruit), orange (the color) and orange tree imagery on all the other cartons of juice. The new Tropicana logotype, which preserved the little green leaf over the "i", seemed an improvement over the previous version, which contained two of my least favorite design conventions: curved type and a gradation. The image of the stemmed glass of juice looked suitably enticing and spoke to a new emphasis on elegance (after all, isn't it rather fancy to drink one's juice from a stemmed glass?).

However, on closer inspection (because I had to buy it), I found the typography to be in serious need of refinement: bad justified paragraphs, two many weights and styles, excessively long line lengths, type placed on the vertical for no apparent reason, etc. In short, not very European.

I certainly didn't feel strongly enough about the redesign to complain to PepsiCo, unlike denizens of loyal Tropicana consumers. This week, Tropicana announced it would return to the original carton design, while maintaining the new, slightly sexual, bulbous orange-shaped cap. So the iconic orange with the red and white striped straw is back. It's an appealing image; it always was, with the implication of fresh squeezed taste. Although, I know fresh-squeezed o.j., and, Tropicana Pure Premium, you're no fresh squeezed. However, Tropicana—even the original design (right)—is still the best looking mass brand of o.j. on the shelves.

I'm curious to see how the equally controversial Pepsi redesign (also by the Arnell Group) plays out in the coming weeks. Good God, is it too European?

Juiciful Read more of Charmaine's musings on the graphic arts and homemade ricotta.


  1. Mr. Picklefeather // March 9, 2009 at 10:25 PM

    I don't think the new packaging is so bad, but it was surely a mistake to change everything so drastically in one fell swoop. I do love the new nubbly orange cap though. I saw it at the grocery store and wanted to fondle it. And I did.

  2. bandelle // March 11, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    I love that you analyzed the packaging. I haven't even seen it in the grocery store and I guess I never will. It reminds me of the packaging in Australia too.