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Corporate identity of two airline companies on the U.S. West Coast, 1974
Nishio tadahisa, Graphic Design 55
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The following is an article published in Issue 55 of the Japanese magazine ‘Graphic Design’. If you enjoy articles like this, and would like to support the project, subscribe to Logo Histories.
The father and son were from a south European country. The father, who had been watching the jet airliner move toward the runway from the window of the airliner, was naming out loud the airlines of the airliners that could be seen from the window to his pre-school son, "KLM, PanAm, Cathay, Philippines Airlines..." Watching the father and son from a nearby seat, I thought that this was a most modern educational scene. It was just a variation of a father teaching his son the names of horse-drawn carriages such as "Caleche, Surrey, Top Buggy and Phaeton" or, about ten years ago, the names of cars such as "Falcon, Cougar, Barracuda and Impala."
The father, of course, was telling his son the names of the airlines after checking the airline mark on the tails of the airliners. In practically all cases, the identity of airliners is distinguished by the tail marks (of course, the airlines such as Braniff and Hughes Airwest, which have painted the bodies different colors, are exceptions).
It was a woman named Miss Mary Wells, working in the Jack Tinker & Partners advertising agency, who realized in 1964 the very obvious fact that airlines purchased the same airliners from the same aircraft makers and were repeating the very monotonous business of flying these airliners out of the same airports on the same air routes, according to advertising history.
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On top of that, airlines are private enterprises receiving the most interference from the government so that they cannot of their own free will fly faster or change their courses. They cannot provide their passengers with such services as a loop-the-loop flight.
Miss Wells thought about how to give identity besides the tail mark amid such circumstances. She had the bodies of Braniff jetliners painted seven pastel colors. The color scheme was also used in the interiors and on trailers for transporting luggage.
As for the uniforms of the stewardesses, they were changed from the severe ones like those of women Air Force members to fashionable ones. Emilio Pucci was asked to design the uniforms. Interior design was entrusted to Alexander Girard. I will dispense with the details, but it is reported that at that time, 17,543 design changes were made, including the design for individual sugar bags.
With this as the turning point, the various airlines began drafting identity plans. In the 1960's, although the airlines were not making too much money, the airlines competed with each other to change their identity plans.
There was a social background for this. Travel had become popular, and it was no longer a major experience to take a plane trip. For those people using jetliners for business, air travel was a common thing. On the other hand, trips by air for pleasure or on personal business were no longer anything to talk about. At the same time, the number of people taking a plane trip for the first time had increased. The number of passengers who could not read languages other than their own had also increased at the airports.
Furthermore, although this has no direct relation to the identities of airlines (airlines with their own airport buildings at large airports are exceptions), in the same years various airports were expanded, and simplification of design for air travel was carried out. Old identify expressions had become outmoded for the new design expressions.
As an example, I do not know exactly when Western Airlines began using the identity plan introduced here. Judging from the seat textile design in the pamphlet and the design of the stewardess uniform, it must have been in the latter half of the 1960's (it can be said that the idea of a combination with pantaloons must have been from around 1968).
I have no memory at all about what the old identity plan was like. However, judging from the material gathered by Tanaka Ikko, it can be said that the plan has taken into consideration all possible situations (the vermilion used is the same color as that used by TWA, Canadian Pacific Air, Mexican Airlines and others, so that doubts remain on this point).
The identity plan of Hughes Airwest was instituted after the start of the 1970's and can be said to to be one step advanced. This airline has yellow as its basic color, but as far as I remember, there is no other airline which is using yellow as its main color (with the exception of yellow being one of the seven pastel colors being used by Braniff).
According to the pamphlet of Hughes Airwest, its identity plan was designed by Mario Zamparelli. Since it is reported that he also designed the identity plans for TWA, Datsun, Union Bank and Atlantic Richfield, it can be said that he is a designer with a considerable career. It is reported that this designer, who has an office and staff in Los Angeles, handles direction of everything from the design of stewardess uniforms to background music.
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