Exclusive Interview with Nicola Formichetti on Pepsi’s Packaging Design Challenge

Pepsi puts creative control in the hands of fans with the #PEPSICHALLENGE. Consumers have the extraordinary opportunity to re-envision the universally celebrated and recognized can with their own special designs and creative flair in the "Live For Now" Design Challenge. To launch the event, world-renowned fashion designer and creative director, Nichola Formichetti showcases his concept that serves as inspiration.

"The Pepsi Challenge is all abut encouraging consumers around the world to step out of their comfort zone and accept a new challenge and opportunity. Design has long been a haven for those who dare to do differently, so we wanted one of our first global challenges to connect with this bold creative class directly. In a year of challenges, we have also turned the lens on ourselves to look at our brand differently. We're turning over our most cherished piece of equity and our most visible piece of real estate- the facade of the Pepsi can- to consumers around the world to reimagine. We can't wait to see the results."

- Kristin Patrick, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, PepsiCo Global Beverage Brands.

We had the opportunity sit down and chat with Nichola about his design process and what he considers a successful design. Here's what he had to say. 


When you found out that you were going to be the one to kick-start the #PEPSICHALLENGE, what were your initial thoughts?

I am honored to be a global ambassador for the 2015 Pepsi Challenge. The Pepsi Challenge is designed to show this generation that we should live life to the fullest and to make every moment – big or small – something to celebrate. I think the challenge today is about challenging yourself. And in many instances, that challenge is simply getting yourself to think different, do something different you never dreamed of doing. To jump in and really grab life.

 

What sparked your interest in the project?

Pepsi approached me to be a global ambassador for the Pepsi Challenge and it was something I could immediately associate myself with. I relate to the program and encouraging fans around the world to truly live for the moment. It’s something that I strive for in my personal life – not taking a second for granted, daring to be different and making every moment your own.

And for the Pepsi “Live for Now” Design Challenge I kicked off this week, there are so many talented people around the world. You don’t need to be a designer or in the creative industry, just take a chance, step out of your ordinary and show your creativity to the world. I’m excited to see what everyone conceives and shares back.

 

How does the nature of the project drive your design?

I was too was once an emerging designer and took every opportunity I could get. The Pepsi “Live for Now” Design Challenge is a unique opportunity open to designers, artists and those with a creative streak to show off their unique styles and designs on a global scale.

For such an open-ended project with infinite solutions, did you run into any challenges? / Can you tell us about the process of "redesigning" the Pepsi can? Where did you begin?

It all started with a blank canvas and the Pepsi logo. I wanted to incorporate the brand’s signature blue, red and white palette, but also give it a fresh twist with my personal style, so I incorporated my signature “Nicopanda” design and some black and white.

 

Why did you choose a dominate black and white color palette?

I wanted the Pepsi logo and signature colors to pop when you looked at the final design, with the black and white modernizing and refreshing as a strong backdrop.

 

What does the bear, color blocked in red and blue, symbolize?

The “Nicopanda” has become one of my signature designs and personal emblem since its launch in 2011. It’s derived from a nickname that I had back in the day, but has come to represent who I am as a designer.


Does your design have an underlying message that you want to communicate to your audience?

I hope my design inspires others to be creative and to challenge themselves in extraordinary ways. People should not be afraid to think outside of their comfort zones and we should celebrate everyone’s unique visions and styles.


How would you define your design aesthetic?

My signature design aesthetic is a mix of east and west and much inspired by own background. I like to mix and match my designs and offer designs that are accessible.


What makes your design unique?

My design is unique as it features my Nicopanda emblem with some of my signature style elements which you can see with the use of white and black throughout the design. Nicopanda AND Pepsi – can’t get any better than that!


What do you consider a successful design?

I think a lot of that can depend on who is viewing the design. Designers and artists understand that much of their work is interpreted in various ways. A successful design will always evoke a positive emotional response.


If you can give one piece of advice to prospective designers, what would it be?

Always keep creating. Designers that are consistently reinventing and inspiring others will also be successful in their own ways.

 

From April 15 – May 13, design submissions will be accepted on www.pepsichallenge.com, with one winning designer offered a once-in-a-lifetime design experience at the PepsiCo Design & Innovation Center in New York City. 

Led by Formichetti, The Pepsi Challenge Design Board comprised of leading fashion and design forces including Vogue Italia’s Franca Sozzani, Lapo Elkann, Karim Rashid, Marcelo Burlon and PepsiCo’s Chief Design Officer Mauro Porcini will judge the submissions.


Elizabeth Freeman