This morning, local time, American Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the United States, and the world, unveiled a new livery and corporate identity.
The new identity was designed by FutureBrand and is part of an ongoing effort to modernise the airline. It preserves the colours of the American flag, but replaces the polished metal from the previous livery with silver paint. In 2011, the airline ordered a large amount of new aircraft, made from composite materials that meant the polished metal look had to be abandoned.
American Airlines has also been given a new icon that embodies its name, called the "flight symbol". As previous symbols, it includes a soaring eagle, but the new one also has a star and a stylised letter A. The tailfin features and interpretation of the American flag.
From the standpoint of graphic design history, this marks the end of one of the final great corporate identities from the 1960s. Designed by Massimo Vignelli and featuring a Helvetica wordmark and polished "silver bird" livery, this corporate identity had remained essentially unchanged since its introduction in 1968, more than four decades ago.
From a press release:
""Since placing our landmark aircraft order in July of 2011, we've been building anticipation toward a moment in time when the outside of our aircraft reflects the progress we've made to modernize our airline on the inside," said Tom Horton, American's Chairman and CEO. "While we complete the evaluation of whether a merger can build on American's strengths, we remain steadfast in each step we take to renew our airline, a step we take with great respect for our name American. Today marks important progress in that journey as we unveil a new and updated look for the first time in more than 40 years."
American is preparing to take delivery of hundreds of new, lighter aircraft featuring composite materials that must be painted. Since the polished metal look was no longer an option, the importance of the paint selection became critical to honoring American's silver bird legacy. Silver mica paint was chosen as a way to maintain the silver heritage which American's people and customers are passionate about, yet progress ahead with a clean new look.
"Our new logo and livery are designed to reflect the passion for progress and the soaring spirit, which is uniquely American," said Virasb Vahidi, American's Chief Commercial Officer. "Our core colors -- red, white and blue -- have been updated to reflect a more vibrant and welcoming spirit. The new tail, with stripes flying proudly, is a bold reflection of American's origin and name. And our new flight symbol, an updated eagle, incorporates the many icons that people have come to associate with American, including the 'A' and the star."
Since entering the restructuring process, American has made a series of strategic investments designed to place customers at the center of all it does and give employees the tools, training and leading technologies they need to provide customers with a uniquely American experience, while also creating growth and opportunity for its people."
"Recognizing that it was time for a new look to better reflect the progress it had made in the ongoing modernization of the airline, American engaged FutureBrand to partner on the modernization of the logo, livery and overall look and feel of the customer experience.
Our work is inspired by the company’s heritage and incorporates colors and symbols universally associated with the American brand. A reimagined logo—called the Flight Symbol—evokes the star, “A”, and iconic eagle of American’s past, all brought to life in refreshed shades of red, white and blue. Together, they reflect a more modern, vibrant and welcoming spirit.
The logo debuts along with a boldly reimagined livery. With proud stripes and a timeless silver body, the livery expresses American’s origins but also the spirit of modern America: innovative, progressive and open to the world.
During our multi-year collaboration with American, we’ve extended the new look to the broader customer experience—on web and mobile apps, modernized airport terminals and check-in experiences, premium airport lounges, updated onboard menus and communications, as well as a host of new branded elements. We continue our work with American as they continue their journey to modernize." - Futurebrand
Press release (archive)
New American (archive)