Whilst this image of the freshly painted Thai A380 might not generate a huge fanfare of a reaction, it is within that reasoning I feel Thai have got their paintjob of the A380 absolutely right. Comparing the image of the A380 to the 747 below you’ll see a few minor, but very clever changes. The A380 itself is a rather tall and chunky aircraft. Some say beautiful, I won’t, but I do admire the airframe for what it is. A designers problem is to make the livery for a plane like this fit with the rest of the liveries of their fleet, but also to make the livery work for that particular plane. If you were to look at the plainer (no pun intended) liveries used on the airbus, such as Korean or Air France, you’ll notice that the aircraft looks fatter than those of Singapore or emirates. That’s because on both of those there are visual lines to try and elongate the aircraft. Singapore uses a long line along the belly to elongate, whilst emirates breaks it up by bringing the tail design down into the fuselage.
This is where Thai have been super clever and very subtle. They’ve moved their logo on the fuselage forward, stretching the space between the two graphic elements, meaning your eye has to travel further down the fuselage to try and connect the two elements. the logo on the tail is shifted backwards, closer to the rudder than the leading edge of the tailplane. Again, this gives the illustion that it stretches the plane. The ribbons around the airframe are steeper than that of it’s slightly slimmer 747 cousin, this effectively adds a bigger ‘curve’ to the beast, making it feel less tall, and more cylindrical. and they have kept the interuptions with doors and windows to their design to a minimum, making this very minimalist design work so well.
Compared to the super busy spiro-graph version of the Malaysian ‘special’ livery, Thai have quietly and reservedly gone ‘no biggy… our A380 is just one part of our fleet, and we are proud of it all – we have nothing to prove here’ and hats off to them for that. After all, those who have flown on Ryanair can confirm, the last thing a passenger wants is a big old fanfare.