308. New Virgin Atlantic Livery.
Jul 29, 2010 at 12:05PM

I do like a new livery, though I'm not sure what my fascination is with them. I just can't resist posting about them, especially when it's a farily high-profile airline. And they get no higher-profile than Virgin Atlanttic.

Virgin Atlantic unveiled a new livery and new logo this week with the usual Virgin fanfare. The biggest difference is the logotype, which I think will become the standard identity for the airline, though it's a bit unclear if that is the case at the moment. The Virgin Atlantic letters are now set in a lightweight custom drawn typeface (Chalet-esque) and appears in their secondary purple color. It's quite a bit different than their old futuristic sans. And it might just be me, but I really need more room between my straight-sided letterforms than this. (I'd give a little more room between the 'i' and 'r', and 'g-i-n', as well as a few pairs within 'atlantic') The identity still features the Virgin tailfin and doesn't lose too much in recognition as a result. But the tailfin itself has been updated to better reflect the actual plane, with a curved base and a placement that is always meant to graphically convey the fuselage and tail. The way the pieces are arranged I like a lot, even if those pieces are not perfect.

Old Virgin Atlantic Identity:

New Virgin Atlantic Identity:

London brand agency, Circus, was commissioned in 2008 to update the brand but the new livery and logo were developed by Johnson Banks. This is the result of their work. Not only has the main identity changed but there are other adjustments to the livery of each plane featuring names like Maiden Tokyo, Ladybird, Miss Kitty and Tinker Belle. The Lady carrying the flag - a graphic of just that appearing near the cockpit- has also been slightly updated and the flag enlarged.

Previous Lady:

Best Shot of the New Lady:

Copyright Neil French - Airliners. net - http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/0/3/9/1747930.jpgHere's a bit from the official Virgin press release: "The Virgin Atlantic name, previously on the front end of the fuselage is now emblazoned large across the whole of the aircraft in a fine custom drawn font. In addition, the undercarriage of the aircraft now features the new Virgin Atlantic logo in dark purple - making the aircraft more easily identifiable when taking off and landing.  The winglets are now red with the Virgin script on the inner side, visible to passengers on board the plane. The iconic, flag carrying flying lady, who appears on all Virgin Atlantic aircraft, has been rejuvenated with a subtle cosmetic makeover and enhanced detailing - now fluttering a larger Union Jack."

Branding Samples:

Apparently a special painting procedure was developed specifically for this project too. Or at least it's new to the airline industry. The process is intended to give the livery a highly reflective metallic shine. It also is pretty durable needing repainting only after a decade.

Even though I hesitate to be critical of a company that so clearly acknowledges and utitlizes the power of design, I can pretty much sum up my feelings about the redesign with these words: unnecessary and generic. It loses recognition unless it's paired with another very identifiable mark (the Virgin script / tailfin itself). I'm curious if the new logotype will run 'by itself' or not. I kind of liked the previous logotype, alterations to terminals and arms and tittles be darned. What works best about this redesign comes from the old standards (color scheme though slightly updated, use of negative space, cleanliness and overall crispness). One thing is certain, I'm ready for this generic lower case sans movement to be over. And I know I'm not the only one. Of course the design firm behind this is usually pretty stellar and their implementation throughout all the materials an airline would need is top-notch. It's just the actual design seems again, unnecessary—as they just updated five years ago or so; and generic - the new type is forgettable and not an improvement on the old. In my opinion I like a little visual strength in my airline and this feels too fragile. Too lightweight and easily blown away. Not something I want to associate with an airline. All this being said, it still will be one of the better looking airline identities out there, next to Delta in my humble opinion. (It's never humble when someone says this is it?)

Side View of New Livery:

An Official Video from Virgin:

Update on Sep 3, 2010 at 01:45PM by Registered Commenterjj

2 new ads via @copyranter using the new look to define first class.

Article originally appeared on Graphicology (http://www.graphicology.com/).
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