Breaking Design Boundaries: PepsiCo Design & Innovation Featured in Graphis Journal #377

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $86 billion in net revenue in 2022, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to be the “Global Leader in Beverages and Convenient Foods by Winning with pep+ (PepsiCo Positive).” pep+ is their strategic end-to-end transformation that puts sustainability and human capital at the center of how they will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people.

What inspired or motivated you to have a career in design?
Helianna Taveras, Associate Design Manager, Mountain Dew & Flavors: Growing up as a child of Dominican immigrants, I never thought of design or art as a career, let alone as an option I could succeed in. I remember waiting to get home after school to watch Bob Ross paint happy little clouds and happy little trees with my dad. Art became accessible. We would buy paint and canvases to create our own happy landscapes with just a few strokes. For me, art and creation have always been connected to love and joy, and who didn’t want to do what they loved? In high school, I selected advertising art and design as my trade or vocation. It was during these four years that I started connecting art with design. I started seeing it as something I could do and continue to grow in. It helped set me on this path.
Tanu Sinha, Design Director: Being born to parents who were both art lovers and were in creative professions, an art/design career should have been my first choice, but it wasn’t. Back then, in a developing nation like India, design was not the most aspirational or financially rewarding career for young people. But as luck would have it, design chose me, and I am so glad it did! Once I went a little further on the path of design education at the National Institute of Design (NID) in India, I realized what a phenomenal direction I was moving in and never looked back. Design not only gave me a professional path but also introduced me to a unique way of thinking, which I leverage across all aspects of my professional and personal lives—problem-solving, empathy, human centricity, etc.
Kevin Reeves, Design Director: My love and interest in typography.
Sean Huls, Senior Design Director: I always loved to draw, paint, sculpt, and build anything from as early as I can remember, but I had no idea what “design” was until I got into college. Once there, being able to create using image, type, illustration, and photography illuminated the possibility of a career. It was also a pivotal time in the design industry, moving to digital design vs. physical mechanicals and paste-up boards, so I got a very in-depth education on the old way of building designs and on the new wave of technology.
Marina Gabriela Pollini, Senior Brand Designer, Latam: When I was a child, I wanted to be an artist, and I had no idea about graphic design. I loved drawing, and it was easy for me to invent things and put them on paper or on a wall. I chose design over art because I have always liked to learn new things. It was a risk that I took without really knowing what to expect. Currently, I really enjoy doing something that integrates many of the disciplines that I like.

What is your work philosophy?
H.T.: Design is about service and solving a real need or problem. How can we use design and design thinking tools to improve, help, or solve specific issues and challenges? It’s these questions and possibilities that fuel my passion for design and my hope to create something that impacts people and takes their complex concerns about their community seriously.
T.S.: My work philosophy is centered around the integration of my personal and professional lives. We need to constantly integrate the two to be able to truly enjoy what we do and generate value for ourselves as well as society at large. What truly keeps me growing is the ability to learn from anyone with humility: business partners, my team, my peers, my predecessors, and even friends and family. And always treat people with kindness and respect.
K.R.: Try until you fail… and enjoy it.
S.H.: “Nothing stops the man that stops at nothing” is a phrase my grandfather used when I would say I couldn’t do something. I live it in every project I work on. It inspires me to think differently, to not give up, and to try new things to reach the solution. My grandfather was a child of the Great Depression and a farmer. He was very self-reliant and proud to figure things out on his own no matter if he had the resources to do it or not.
M.G.P.: Don’t design for designers, design for people. As a designer, I first detect the needs of the people, and then I seek a more innovative solution by thinking outside the box.

What is it about design that you are most passionate about?
H.T.: I am passionate about creating stories through design that help solve or give people a reprieve from real problems. I love the challenge of solving something for people through empathy and understanding. Designing with purpose and for a purpose drives my passion and encourages me to explore new and innovative solutions to design and societal challenges.
T.S.: Problem-solving and making people smile by providing them with solutions that are relevant and add value to individuals and organizations.
K.R.: First, I have always loved typography. I find it fascinating how we communicate through visual marks. Second, I have always loved problem-solving and coming up with solutions that solve complex problems.
S.H.: I love the process and the challenge of solving a need through design.
M.G.P.: In my creative process, I am passionate about concept creation and storytelling. A good concept takes a design initiative to another level. I studied graphic design, fashion design, and advertising, so I have been involved in different kinds of projects, including brand experience, branding, packaging, licensing, integrated campaigns, and digital projects, as well as working with multidisciplinary teams, which has allowed me to learn and grow professionally. I think I have a holistic point of view as a creative and a designer.

Who are some of your greatest influences?
H.T.: I take influences from my culture and background. I am of Dominican descent and a proud Afro-Latina. I look to color and music to fuel my creative journey and layer and texture styles like the street art that layered my neighborhoods. How does it make you feel? I take great inspiration from my family to ground my design in real people and never let a concept get too conceptual that it forgets who it’s meant to help or communicate to. What does it make you think?
S.H.: Early in my career, I loved David Carson’s design anti-aesthetic, as well as Paul Rand and Paula Scher. Later, I dug into Tim Brown and the IDEO philosophy of ideation and human-centered design. I dove into thinking/strategy a bit more as opposed to solely focusing on creating design work.
M.G.P.: There are many people, but I admire the thinking and narrative of Annie Leibovitz, and I love the unique aesthetic and creativity of Alexander McQueen.

Check out PepsiCo Design & Innovation’s website here.

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To read the entire interview, you can preorder Journal #377 here.

Author: Graphis