Thursday, August 12, 2010

New United Airlines Brand Means Huff and Puffery.

The headline is PR puff: “...a more modern look, reflective of the world's leading airline.” Then yesterday's press release about United Airlines' new logo and brand look continues:

The new logo displays the combined company's brand name in capital letters (UNITED) in a custom sans-serif font, joined with the global mark which has represented Continental's brand image since 1991.

A corresponding update of the combined airline's aircraft livery will adopt Continental's livery, colors and design, including its blue-gold-white globe image on the tail, combined with the new-style UNITED name on the fuselage.

It's workman-like enough. Very clean. Very blue. Bo-ring. But you don't have to suffer my opinion, read what Armin has to say on the Brand New blog, paying particular attention to this lead thought: “So how can these two identities come together? Well, rather painfully.” (It goes on concisely from there.) Furthermore, that's designer Saul Bass stabbed in the back again: first the Girl Scouts, now the United “tulip.”

Maybe this is lack of courage, brand-wise. Maybe the merged airline is trying to distract us from the miserable experiences of commercial air travel in the early 21st Century. Or it's a bizarre corporate reference to JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater.

You mark my words – there're going to be case studies about this “merger of equals” and its revamped trade dress. For the life of me, though, I can't imagine why.

1 comment:

kay said...

I do feel sorry for Saul Bass, the mentor of my design professor at Texas Tech, however I also have a good friend who is a supervisor over flight attendants at Continental who said they were all made to feel more comfortable with the merger when they saw their logo still on the tail. I think it's an issue of combining corporate cultures more than pure and simple branding.