British Airways was founded in 1974, two years after the merger of British European Airways and British Overseas Airways Corporation. She was loved and hated, but she continued to maintain high standards, strive for excellence, and do challenging things. Perhaps the most violent reaction was BA’s decision to decorate the tail fin with ethnic designs – each country has its design. This is how the company wanted to express cosmopolitanism, but the public did not understand it. It got to the point that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher harshly condemned the new concept, throwing a headscarf over a model aircraft under the gun of the world’s media.
Meaning and History
British Airways is known not only for its quality service but also for its famous logo. It had three versions that represented BA as a leader in the travel industry. After several changes, the brand name has taken on the UK national flag colors and the curved line of the Speedmarque.
1973 – 1984
BEA and BOAC already had their branding ideas, so the designers tried to combine them. Negus & Negus made a compromise and created a simple two-color lettering emblem. It was the red and blue name of British Airways, split into two lines.
There was no dot above the “i” in the word “airways,” which did not characterize the company from the best side. And there was also no dynamics in the image, which was supposed to support the air carrier’s image. This not-so-perfect identity reflected the industry’s problems: ineffective management methods and, as a result, customer dissatisfaction.
1984 – 1997
The second version of the logo appeared in 1984. It was developed by the American firm Landor Associates, which caused a controversial reaction in British society due to the unspoken ban on cooperation with foreign design agencies. The name of the airline was written in one line and capital dark gray letters. In this case, the first “B” and “A” were slightly higher.
A long red line, curved in an arrow shape, appeared under the caption. She seemed to emphasize the pedantry and dismissive superiority of the British. The new logo was supposed to reflect BA’s corporate culture and confirm the company’s primacy.
1997 – present
In 1997, branding agency Newell & Sorrell developed a new corporate identity for British Airways because the old one was “too British.” So the airline decided to show its globalization, focus on international air transportation. The nineties’ internationalism was embodied in a red and blue symbol that looked like a waving scarf. Below, aligned to the left, was the name of the firm, written in uniform-sized blue capital letters.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The graphic element of the British Airways logo is known as Speedmarque. This distinctive mark is associated with friendliness, flexibility, and speed, which cannot be said about the “hard” arrow from 1984-1997. The predecessor of the red and blue ribbon is the Speedbird – a similar symbol of Imperial Airways, which became part of the British Overseas Airways Corporation. It was designed by They’re Lee-Elliott back in 1932 and first appeared on the bow of the DH.91 Albatross wooden transport aircraft. Then the Speedbird was inherited by BOAC (as an emblem) and British Airways (as the basis for Speedmarque).
The logo uses a font created specifically for the airline. This is one of the Mylius Modern modifications – a version with miniature serifs and small bulges at the letters’ ends. It was chosen for its legibility, clarity, and elegance.
The color scheme matches the corporate palette of the company. The combination of blue, white, and red represents the exceptional British heritage of British Airways because these colors are reminiscent of the national flag. Shades used: Signal Red P485 and Blue P286.