Quiz Number 1: Match the liveries with the choices below:
Quiz Number 2: Match the liveries below with the following airlines:
With the exception of Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and Spirit Airlines, the major airlines in the U.S. have turned to a less colorful money saving strategy when it comes to the paint jobs (technical term= livery) on their airplanes in the last several years. I didn't put the cost of fuel and the abundance of boring airplane liveries together until taking a tour of Boeing last year in Everett, Washington: The more pigment you add to the paint, the heaver the paint. We're talking about a period in commercial aviation where airlines study the fuel savings on an item removal basis. Remember when US Airways tried the Buy Your Beverage program? Less beverages had to be loaded- therefore less fuel would be burned.
I'm all for fuel savings. After all, if my airline loses money then my job is in jeopardy. But does saving money mean you should sacrifice your branding?
An all white airplane does not have to look boring. An all white airplane also does not have to look just like every other white airplane. At the end of the day it's a design challenge. As designers we are problem solvers, given specifications (ie-the body of the airplane must be mostly white) and asked to come up with something interesting, visually pleasing, and catchy. Somewhere between the design process and the airlines' approval of the livery for these uninspiring pieces of flying metal the designs have failed.
The biggest failed example is United Airlines. For those who have been living under a rock- United bought Continental Airlines. Take a look at their new livery: It is essentially a Continental Livery where they changed out "Continental" and replaced it with "United."
You could even go so far to say the new design was a United plane where they switched out the tails. My point is that there is nothing in the design beyond the logo on the tail and the name of the airline that makes the livery design unique. I mean why don't we just paint the word "Airplane" on the side? Would anyone notice? Probably not. Have I missed the market research where the findings determined this boring livery concept generates more revenue?
That brings me to the most successful use of the cost saving white fuselage (the body of the airplane) concept: Frontier Airlines.
Thanks to the abundance of generic looking airplanes flying around our skies, Frontier's use of large scale text wins with 'flying' colors (err gray scale). And come on...a different animal for each tail of the airplane? That gets me excited every time. I'm just waiting for the planes to actually have a conversation like I see on TV.
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