Similarities to other major airline logos makes the new “AA” logo devoid of originality
American Airlines has finally rebranded after 44 years of continuity with the legendary double capital “A” and the eagle landing, a major symbol of Americanism.
There is a positive feeling about the dated look of American Airlines, but it’s time to scrap everything and align American with other major carriers/competitors that have rebranded in the last couple of years.
British Airways and, more recently, Air France are great examples. FutureBrand has worked for the last two years with Massimo Vignelli, the original designer for the AA brand, to refresh and bring a much needed new look for American. The fact that the eagle remains, and is now part of a flying symbol, is a welcome and powerful tribute to the brand; it is sleek, modern and conveys its legacy. But, the eagle gets lost when you look at the whole plane.
On the other hand, the same elements for different reasons create issues. The new logo fails to distinguish itself from Air France (the red ribbon slanted) or British Airways (the flying red-and-blue ribbon).
The unsurprising treatment of gradients and shadows that have been plaguing the brand and design world for the last couple of years with the “App-ism” treatment have been included in the new American Airlines logo. For some reason, everything needs to look like an app, with a soft bevel, mirror and vintage flaring, plus a layer of gradient or drop shadow in the mix and you have been WordPress-ized.
If there was one airline that could claim the Americanism idea, it is American Airlines. So, it is logical that they would include the abstract representation of the American flag on the tail, which has been used to display the main logo in the past. I like the red-and-blue stripes treatment — however it isn’t something unexpected.
And, then, there is the typography treatment. I would have expected to see a customized typeface or something that truly belongs to American Airlines for such an investment. Yet, on that point, it looks like a default font that is both web-friendly and comes with the latest version of your favorite publishing software/word press.
Overall, it looks modern but falls short of surprise and personality. Someone looking at this logo would probably say that it looks nice, then turn the page and move on to something else. Not a great feeling for the amount of work that was put into it.
It may be outdated already. Just like the latest electronic device one purchases knowing full well something better will be coming out in three months. The debate has already begun on whether this is a great rebranding or not.
For all who fly, for business or pleasure, one thing is for sure, the airline will be judged on the quality of its services, efficiency and the number of on-time flights it can deliver, far more than its logo appeal. Currently, when it comes to air travel (with a few exceptions, Southwest and JetBlue domestically) service has been unacceptable. Let’s see if American can change this perception beyond changing its wardrobe.