American Airlines has the largest commercial air fleet, making it the world’s largest airline. It includes about eighty small air transport companies that merged in 1930. At first, the organization was called American Airways, but after 1934 it was renamed American Airlines.
Meaning and History
What is American Airlines?
It is the largest airline in the world. It owns a record fleet in terms of the number of aircraft. It is based in the United States and has a wide international route network. Its original name is American Airways.
In the early years, the company created a “glamorous” image because flying on an airplane was then considered something exclusive, and wearing a pilot’s uniform with the AA logo was a special privilege. Now the air carrier is perceived quite differently.
He was forced to change his logo to distract customers from a host of other issues, including recent bankruptcy, bad reviews, and the scandalous story of a web designer who was fired just because he wanted to redesign American Airlines’ interface. With this in mind, the main goal of the latest rebranding was to showcase dynamic change. The company owners hoped to start all over again – with a new logo and a reimagined aircraft livery.
1934 – 1945
In 1934, American Airways changed its name to American Airlines. Despite this, she retained her old emblem, designed back in 1931: a blue circle depicting a globe with a giant eagle standing on it. On two sides of the bird’s raised wings were the letters “A” – one to the left, the second to the right. In the background, a diagonal line ran between them. The bezel ring, beam, and both “A” were red, which created a lack of contrast.
The author of the logo is one of the airline employees – Goodrich Murphy. He came up with an original idea himself, but he spied an eagle’s image on the booklet of the Scottish hotel. The combination of colors used is an obvious reference to the US flag.
1945 – 1962
In 1945, the designers removed all elements except the letters and the eagle. Simultaneously, the logo looked completely new because the bird was enlarged and turned to the right. Although the drawing style remains the same, minor details have changed. The colors were redesigned with blue as the primary and white for the background.
1962 – 1967
In the early 1960s, the emblem developers reimagined the design, returning the classic color scheme: a combination of red, white, and blue. To do this, they again enclosed the eagle and letters in a bright ring, as it was in 1934-1945. Another change is the inscription “AMERICAN,” which appeared under the bird as a verbal clarification to the abbreviation.
1967 – 2013
In 1967, Massimo Vignelli commissioned Massimo Vignelli to develop new visual identity elements: the aircraft’s logo and livery. Until then, only two capital letters “AA” was depicted on the tails of airliners. The Italian designer has completed them with an abstract cruciform eagle in a “V” shape. He also created a text sign for the air transport enterprise, consisting of the merged words “AmencanAirlines.” The left half of the lettering was red and the right half blue. The simple Helvetica font emphasized the company’s professionalism.
2013 – present
In early 2013, design firm FutureBrand modernized the American Airlines eagle beyond recognition. The modern graphic sign, known as the Flight Symbol, has long been in the public domain because the United States Copyright Office considered it insufficiently original to register. The airline only acquired the copyright for its stylized bird in 2018.
Another challenge that the developers had to face was the rejection of branding by the enterprise’s customers and employees. Due to much controversy, CEO Doug Parker put two logos for a vote at the end of 2013: the Flight Symbol and a version with a messy retro design combining the old and new emblems. Naturally, choosing between these two options, many voted for the first option, which the airline’s management wanted.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The main element of the American Airlines identity is the eagle, the national symbol of the United States. Now the bird looks like a three-color diagonal stripe with a triangular projection and is very similar in shape to an airplane’s tail. According to the representatives of FutureBrand, in this sign, you can see the letter “A” and a star. But they are too abstract to be obvious. Many believe that the previous version of the logo was much better. Its creator, Massimo Vignelli, shares the same opinion.
To the left of the new graphic is the American Airlines name. The designers chose a sans-serif font for the lettering, very similar to Helvetica, which was used from 1967 to 2013.
A distinctive feature of the logo is its three-color palette associated with the US flag. At the same time, shadows and gradients give Flight Symbol visual depth.