If you look at the visual complexity of advertisements over the past century (how many different things there are to look at and keep the eyes and brain busy), you’ll observe a noticeable trend: by and large, visual designs have significantly become simpler, decade by decade. As a case in point, you can observe the Coca-Cola advertisements every ten years and notice that, over time, Coca-Cola chose to use fewer colors, fewer fonts, fewer words, fewer shapes and objects, and much, much more white/negative space.
Looking at general trends in advertising for each decade, I chose advertisements that typified the era. As you can see, as the number of fonts, words, colors, and shapes declined each decade, the percentage of white space grew dramatically, making the visuals simpler and simpler until you get to Coca-Cola’s most recent advertising campaign: a simple red bottle, two words, and a whole lot of white.
Author’s Note: The calculations in this graphic are close guesses and could be modified or interpreted with slight variations. During each decade, CocaCola obviously had far more designs than the ads chosen for this graphic. The advertisements were chosen based on general design trends by CocaCola during that time period.