The AA Logo Blandishment Project

Another iconic logo falls by the wayside.

American Airlines unveiled its new logo yesterday to mixed reviews. It replaces the iconic AA brand designed by Massimo Vignelli over 40 years ago.


To call this new “flight” design generic is almost a compliment.

Being generic is most likely the intended goal- removal of any textual elements will leave room for mergers or buyouts. The flight logo appears alone, the words “American Airlines” are separate. Think about it: this new design could be pitching US Air just as easily as American Airlines. Or Dollar General? Or maybe the US Postal Service?

With talks of buyouts, bailouts and bankruptcy in mind I was more or less impartial to this generification of the AA brand. It served a purpose. More or less impartial, that is, until I saw the full livery. Yikes!


I had assumed the new logo was made to “handed,” as in a left or right leaning version. Like to fit nicely on either side of the slanted tail fin of a modern jet. Alas, that is not the case.

The tail feathers are getting their own gaudy, over the top slathering of paint. It looks like something from South Park’s Team America. And once again, there is no lettering on the tail. No troublesome text to be replaced after the next buyout or acquisition.

As an AA Brat who came of age with the Vignelli logo it’s sad to see it go. I can remember many negative comments about the 1968 logo when it first appeared. The eagle was bland, that “eye-talian feller” messed up the whole thing, etc.

Of course I thought it was cool. I was only 8 but loved the clean design. For me it also symbolized fantastic new hardware like the wide body DC-10 and the 747 Jumbo Jet. Nobody would ever dream of pasting that bold, modern AA logo on a propeller-driven airplane.

Sad to say, but I’m not so sure many eight year-olds have similar feelings for this new design.

3 thoughts on “The AA Logo Blandishment Project”

  1. As always, our host has eloquently stated the subject, his considered opinion and sought to find reasoning for the action in question. I , however, have basically given up on diplomacy and generally just state my position with a straightforward economy of verbiage.
    The new logo blows.

  2. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew
    of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet
    my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    1. Off topic? Quite.
      But thanks for the question. A few weeks ago I wrote about the opposite tack- feeding your blog to Twitter.

      To make a single tweet show up on your blog look near the bottom of the permalink page for Embed this Tweet. To automagically show all tweets requires a widget and depends on what platform you’re blogging from.

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