January 17, 2013

New American Airlines Branding Draws Mixed Reviews From Fliers

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Rendering of the new American Airlines livery on a Boeing 777-300ER. (Image by American Airlines)

American Airlines revealed its long awaited new look on Thursday, tossing out the iconic polished metal and Helvetica combo in favor of gray paint and the Fruitiger typeface.

A (very unscientific) skimming of social media reaction to the new branding revealed mixed reactions, with positive comments slightly outnumbering the negative. The biggest item of contention was the new tail design.

What do you think? Check out our multi-angle gallery featuring (renderings of) a 777 wearing the new colors and the video below.

GALLERY: American Airlines New Livery

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  • “Inspiration” here seems to have come from the lowest levels of the US transportation providers: very Greyhound in the new “silverbird” turned 90 degrees to the right, a touch of Amtrak’s “quilt” seems to be part of the tail graphic, and more of US Airways again in the placement and treatment of the tail. Both US Airways existing logo and the new AA logo seem to bizarrely reject the notion that stars are on the US flag.

    Frutiger is a plain non-alternative to Helvetica… If you’re going to go with Frutiger and especially poorly-kerned Frutiger, why even really bother? The logotype gets extremely chopped-up to the point of incoherence when applied to actual planes in this case. But Frutiger is not, as Horton would want us to think, a typeface associated with “passion.” It is first and foremost for legibility (see CDG/Roissy and all of Switzerland’s road signs), but when perforated by airplane windows, turns quickly into a mess; penetrating the “counter” of the second “a” and putting googley eyes under the “m” are not things many graphic designers would tolerate.

    The flag treatment at the tail doesn’t balance at all with the window line, at least on 738s, and I have a suspicion that it will be similarly unbalanced on other aircraft as well.

    Also, can’t help but notice that the palette for the logo and the actual US flag don’t match.

    In light of the towering importance (and longevity) of Vignelli’s design, totally ignored here, this comes off like an in-house exercise that could use some professional graphic design input before it goes to focus groups. This work is not fully cooked and sets AMR down a UAL-like path of needing to rebrand every five years or so, i.e. just about as soon as this gets finished system-wide.

  • [email protected]

    They are outstanding, both the livery and image change! As always, everyone who comments here (and in other airliner sites) is a “not invented here” person, if I did not think of it it is crap (not only with this subject but with anything related to an airline). As a flyer with many millions of actually flown miles this livery is beautiful, cool and modern. To all the naysayers…fly someone else! Leave us to fly our airline.

  • treetopflyer

    America @#$! yeah! So lick my butt and suck on my balls!

  • treetopflyer

    Tedalexandre, you need to get out more often. You are way over analyzing this. It looks awesome.

  • The new plane markings look great. Fresh, bold and stylish.