American Airlines Rebrand
In Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica film, Massimo Vignelli famously says of his 1966/67 American Airlines logo:
It’s the only airline in the last 40 years that has not changed their identity. All these airlines come and go and they change [them]. American Airlines is still the same and there’s no need to change it. How they going improve it? They’ve got the best already.
Well they have changed it.
For commercial reasons I can understand why the embattled airline might wish for a fresh start and identity but I’m not entirely convinced by Futurebrand’s solution. While I don’t think the original is perfect (that eagle is just slightly too cramped and visually hangs to the right), it’s iconic in its simplicity. In contrast the new 3D element with the eagle’s head protruding through the red and blue line, acts as the bar in an ‘A’, plus it also suggests the shape of a star. It’s is all a bit too contrived for me and in trying so hard the magic is missing.
Vignelli’s one-word ‘AmericanAirlines’ set in Helvetica and differentiated with just red and blue has been replaced with a custom typeface called American Sans, which separates the words again. It has that informal, ‘chatty’ feel that seems ubiquitous these days.
When asked for his opinion on the redesign Vignelli gave a cutting answer to Creative Review: “Clients without [a] sense of history, could not understand the value of equity.” See more of his response here.
And on Bloomberg here.