Take 5... Design's top airline liveries

One category. Every two weeks. Five of the world’s most charismatic designs.

Welcome to Take 5 where The Drum, along with jones knowles ritchie (JKR) Singapore strategy director Katie Ewer, take a bi-weekly look at some of the design industry’s best imagined packaging design where you, the reader, are in control.

Every other Friday we’ll pick a theme and ask you to submit the design you feel deserves a top spot. You’ll have one week to get your entries in, the votes will be counted and the best of lot will be published the following Friday. (Make sure you scroll down to find out the next topic winging its way).

But back to today's theme; airline liveries. Unlike most categories airline brands are in the unusual position of having half their customers literally fearing for their lives when they use their products, so it’s not easy to get an airline rebrand right. It has to look reliable and trustworthy, but it also needs to have personality and charm. Here’s five from across the spectrum.

Etihad

Let’s start with one of the big boys. Etihad’s new geometric pattern is sleek and smart. It tessellates around the tail-find of the aircraft, evoking sand dunes, funky Abu Dhabi architecture, and Islamic geometry, all the while somehow managing to look fittingly opulent at the same time. And you can easily see how the motif will extend across all kinds of touch-points. Funky, modern and sophisticated. Which is no doubt the image Abu Dhabi would like to portray.

Fastjet

How can you not love Fastjet, the African budget airline that’s flying ahead of the flock when it comes to building brand charisma? It’s symbol is the African grey parrot, of course, and its warm yellow brand colour and clean, modern feel give it a reassuring air of quality.

Garuda Indonesia

You need to fly over the Indonesian archipelago on a clear day to notice how the tones of green and blue in the water below are reflected in Garuda Indonesia’s tonal brand identity. From a dodgy local carrier that was famous for all the wrong reasons, Garuda feels like a credible and even sophisticated global contender.

Air Inuit

Book us a flight to Kangiqsualujjuaq this instant! This little beauty punches far above its weight in terms of brand magnetism, with a striking red and white livery of two Canada geese taking flight. It’s bound to stand out in an icy landscape too, in case you can’t find the plane you’re looking for.

ANA's R2D2

What emblem could an airline brand use to communicate notions of trust, reliability, endurance and charm? What character embodies calm under pressure, loyalty and technical savvy? Who else but R2D2, who this year is adorning ANA’s newest Dreamliner aircraft as part of an exclusive deal with Walt Disney. Good for social media, but does it make the slightest difference if you’re inside the aircraft?

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