Topic of the Week: American’s New Livery

Something tells me this is going to be a long comment thread. If you haven’t seen it, here it is. American’s new livery. Maybe we can get them to do a fly-by at Crankyspotting TOMORROW at 10a at Founders Plaza at DFW.

Now, what do you think? Personally, I hate that the eagle has been marginalized to the point that it’s unrecognizable. And the tail, well, yeah, the tail. I think I heard it put best in this excellent quote:

Colgan had sex with CSA and Cubana on a Greyhound bus in the same weekend and got pregnant. We know Colgan is the mother but we can’t tell who the father is. Nor do we care because the baby is still ugly either way.

Maybe it will grow on me. Or maybe it won’t last very long anyway…

134 Responses to Topic of the Week: American’s New Livery

  1. I like it. Enough said.

  2. John B. says:

    What the “tail” were they thinking?

  3. HatCat says:

    Except for the circus tent draped around the tail, it looks fine. I wonder what’s under the circus tent?

  4. Oliver says:

    It definitely has grown on me. It looked pretty neat in the YouTube CGI video.

  5. DS says:

    It’s growing on me; it’s definitely more modern while still maintaining a connection to the past. I’ve been amused by reading the comments about the tail. Bottom line: it’s pretty hard to represent a red, white and blue flag on an aircraft tail in a unique way at this point in time. For that reason, it might have been better to go with a different concept. On the other hand, if you are viewed as the de facto “flag carrier” for a country you probably should have the flag somewhere on the livery.

    • PS Phoenix says:

      Last time I checked though our flag had stars in the blue, not white lines that don’t line up with the other stripes. The tail design has grown on me a little since I first saw it (from revulsion to just general dislike). I like the idea of the flag, but it comes off as too rigid, especially on the 777 CGI. It looks off how it just kinda of cuts off about halfway down the fuselage. Also, the tail cone looks really odd being painted the same color as the rest of the fuselage behind the flag design, especially on the larger 777 animation. Maybe if the tail design and flowed onto the tail cone like British Airways it would have looked a little better.
      Overall, I think it would have looked loads better if it wasn’t so rigid and flowed into the rest of the fuselage better like British Airways or Emirates liveries.

  6. At first I disliked the new livery. But then one thing slightly shifted my focus. With this new tail livery American becomes an almost true flag carrier at least in design (after Delta foolishly abandoned its superb wavy gravy tail design). I know that there are no flag carriers proper in the USA. But this new livery makes American feel and look like one.

  7. Some of you kept talking about the eagle and I kept thinking what eagle. Then I went looking for other photos and now see what you are talking about. I just thought that splotch of red/blue next to the ‘n’ in American was just that, a splotch, but that’s where you’ve been talking about the eagle. They shouldn’t have added that since it’s not becoming.

  8. Does it stand out among all the other tails???????

  9. Bill Hough says:

    I didn’t even realize they kept the EAAgle, it’s so small. It needs to be bigger.

  10. Designers have managed to tastefully incorporate the AA and the eagle in every rebrand for the last 80 years. This goes to show just how unimaginative this design firm’s tallent really is. Sad to find no trace of AA’s identity retained except for the name. I’m surprised they managed to keep the American name in the rebrand.

    • There is some continuity actually in the design. Although the Eagle is far more abstract it is there, the primary colors of the design have stayed the same, and the font is the same as well. Still unsure about the tail, but the rest of the livery is actually fairly smart, IMO.

  11. RICH says:

    Employees took millions in pay and benefit cuts for this…..??
    Cross between New England Patriots and Pepsi can…on that Tail
    Wonder where the US Air Logo will go…?
    AA Management sure knows how to waste money.

    • DS says:

      No, employees took pay and benefit cuts because their compensation and productivity / work / scope rules were out of line with AA’s major competitors. Are you saying that AA shouldn’t be spending money to improve their product? The truth is AA should have done this a long time ago but they didn’t have the money to invest, which is why they should have filed for bankruptcy a long time ago. Anyway they had to do it now because the new planes have composite skins.

  12. Ulev says:

    For all of you who ‘like’ AA’s new livery…..this is where the ‘idea’ came from

    http://www.planespotters.net/Aviation_Photos/photo.show?id=164768

    Not too ‘original’ and preceded by Aeroflot, of all things LOL

  13. The new livery has grown on me, especially after seeing photos of it on an actual aircraft, not the CGI.

    I like the new typeface. It’s close enough to the iconic Helvetica to not be alienating, but the humanist typeface they’re using is warmer and more modern. Sorry, I’m a graphic designer and a type geek as well.

    I like the look of the logo on the left side of the aircraft. On the right sight, the bit with the eagle looks disconnected. The logo should look good on signage, in airports and on overall branding.

    The tail? Like I said. I think it looks better on a real 737, not a CGI one. I can’t wait to see one of these birds in the wild! =M=

    • Sanjeev M says:

      Agreed, seeing it on actual aircraft is nice. Paint is a wonderful thing.
      I’m mixed about the tail but the rest of it is really nice!

  14. Andy says:

    Sorry, it’s ugly and unfocused. Almost as bad as the Wolff paint jobs at US and UA during his tenure at those cos.

  15. Bobsmith says:

    It’s not great, but it is fresh- which speaks to how dated AA’s old livery was. Now if AA can refresh their service and fleet (yes I know it’s on the way).

  16. tomhmartin says:

    Well, as a former AA employee, and resident of the DFW Area, I love the new design. Yes, I realize gone are the days of stripes down the window-line. In are the days of ‘subtle’ and ‘subliminal’ logos (such as the NW on the Northwest logo, and the arrow in FedEx). I think the eagle would look cool on the winglets!

  17. malbarda says:

    I like the new font and the stylized eagle in the logo; when I saw that I thought it was going to look awesome on the AA tail. And then I saw the tail and was disappointed. I also saw the comment about Colgan air, but in that same thread I read (or on Twitter I read) someone asking why there are red and blue keys from a piano on the tail. That made me laugh because that is exactly what it looks like.

    Wonder what the new US Amercan is going to look like. They both (in name) already claim flag carrier status. Perhaps keep the American refreshed look and call it USAmerican?

  18. It’s funny how some folks are quick to complain about the cost to paint the new livery. What they fail to realize is that the cost would still exist with the old livery for all the new baby buses and 787′s, due to their composite nature. I wouldn’t expect any of the Mad Dogs or older 752′s to be repainted. Not a real fan of the new corporate logo and I expect the tail “flag” to grow on me.

  19. chbrown03 says:

    I didn’t care for it when I first saw it and it still hasn’t grown on me. I Tweeted as much and even got a response from American “hoping I would love it to in time.” So far that hasn’t happened.

    • Wow, it hasn’t grown on you in under 48 hours? Must be a bad livery, either that or you’re a bit impatient..

      • Jared says:

        Yeah, I am starting to like it now. Especially seeing the pictures of an actual plane. The detail on the tail is pretty cool.

        I think the new Eagle looks neat when on the AAdvantage and gates and stuff.

  20. Ellie Banda says:

    It looks pretty comical and what happened to displaying not just the eagle, but what about the United States of America’s flag? It’s not pretty at all, it’s just different. And why are they doing this? Won’t they be changing their name to U.S. Airways soon anyway. I sure hope so. This airline has always been a predator and will always continue to be.

  21. flyguy says:

    Keep in mind that some logos and livery changes are chosen because they are indeed easy to paint over or change in the event of merger.
    The “American” look was indeed iconic and survived many years.
    This new livery is rather “bold” in a not so good way! Sorta has a third world look and feel to it, like it should be on an old Ilyushin in Zaire.
    Time will tell, but it will most likey change after the merger.

  22. PF says:

    I don’t like it – the tail is a bit too flashy, add some twinkle lights and it’s all set for Las Vegas.
    I like the retro AA plane

  23. TMO says:

    When you own an eagle. you wouldn’t trade it for a yardbird, much less abandon it out on the tarmac. At least the fuselage graphics are clean and uncluttered.

    The tail, especially the extra stripe below the horizontal stabilizer, is what happens when the artist over at the ad/design agency either, doubles his Prozac dosage or switches to a new “Speed’ dealer.

  24. Joe Jones says:

    In real life, the gray paint is not nearly as shiny/reflective as they make it seem in the CGI. I think the real life version looks much worse than the CGI version.

  25. On balance, I like it.

  26. dls says:

    To me, it’s a branding exercise gone terribly wrong. Oddly, the tail is very similar to Aeroflot and Cubana de Aviación.

  27. Chris Randal says:

    They would be far better spending money on getting their on time performance back to levels that mean they are a real airline instead of the flag carrier for Disney. Mickey Mouse Airlines is what they really are.

  28. I’m fine with it from the wings forward. In fact, I like the large “American” on the forward fuselage. But that tail art has to go.

  29. some people here are so very very provincial and self assured.. quite amusing

  30. marks says:

    Hey, the colours of Liberia on the tail!

    Now that might save some money too if the company were to relocate there. (Joking, ok).

  31. Mike says:

    I like it. It’s very fresh and contemporary. The Eagle, although subtle, is sophisticated and interesting. The tail took me a little while to get used to but I reckon after a few months and any more examples in service, we’ll all accept it and appreciate American’s point of difference. Well done American for the courage to make the change and use it as an analogy for changing their whole service philosophy

  32. Pilotaaron1 says:

    I’m not the biggest fan yet. But I wasn’t the biggest fan of Delta’s latest but it grew on me. I’m sure this will. But at least it’s better than scraping off Continental and just writing United.

  33. I believe this picture just about sums up the creativity, originality, and fiscal responsibility involved. . .
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3667082080750.2171519.1385740735&type=1&l=7a82cb6759

  34. Matthew says:

    To me the livery looks like something a movie executive came up with for a fictional airline in a movie, not an actual one, looks cheap….

  35. Eric C says:

    How horrible will this look on the MDs, ERJs, CRJs, and any other aft-engined aircraft they might fly? You’ll have a big silver engine blocking the lower third of the flag, followed by a long, narrow, silver fuselage. It’ll be fugly.

  36. Henry says:

    The “Flight Mark” reminds me of United’s tail design from the 1960s (pre-tulip). The tail has got to go. Everything else is okay, but the tail has got to go.

    I’ve done brand strategy, and have done work for several airlines. A good identity is intuitive and helps the person viewing it understand not only the name of the company, but some of its attributes. This tail is confusing, dizzy, and cluttered. I don’t believe those are attributes the teams at either Futurebrand or AA want associated with the airline.

  37. Adrian says:

    As someone living outside of the US, the old silver tubes of American Airlines meant nothing to me. I think that American Airlines has done a great job with this design, in showing their patriotism. There is no question but that this is an American airline.

  38. Roin says:

    Instantly recognizable from long distance, so a good update, even if I dislike so many people/companies wrapping themselves in the flag.

  39. Ed Kelty says:

    The new tail helps our progress towards increased employment in the US. Imagine the design experts hired to design the tail, all the executives required to approve it, and the people who actually apply the paint!

  40. Henry says:

    For anyone who doesn’t like the tail and would like to try to get AA to reconsider it, please join the Facebook group “fix the tAAil.” The Gap rescinded a planned logo change because of negative consumer response. If enough people who don’t like the tail make their voices heard, maybe AA will explore a change to the tail design.

    • Hunter says:

      Reminds me of the attempt to “save the tulip.” I wouldn’t count on a change at this point since for every person who hates it there seems to be one who at least likes it.

  41. Docjames says:

    Have a look at a “real” photo (eg. on airliners.net) – its the reverse of usual in that the cgi looks better than real life.

    Disappointing – they could have done so much more…..

  42. Brad says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but the “beak” resembles nothing more than a very important and engorged part of the female anatomy… one that many men never seem to find. Well, I guess the debate is over; it’s the biggest one you’ve ever seen… how fitting that it rides a long metal tube into the heavens.

  43. Just saw a TV ad with the new paint job. The body color and AMERICAN name look fine, the ‘eagle’ splotch doesn’t look good, and that awful tail does look like red/white/blue piano keys.

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