So, finally the wait is over, and I have to admit, I’m not really surprised, many guessed a very similar treatment to the all new American Airlines livery, and many got it quite close. Now whilst the logo had been received to much fanfare, and much hype. I can’t help but feel utterly disappointed with their answer to an iconic look.

American has sported the same stunning livery for some 50 years, so in my eyes, it was going to have to take something iconic and powerful to replace it, however, they have created a dated look from the get-go. Let’s dissect it in more detail.

Picture 34

Meet the new steely-blue American, Not much changes with the logotype at first glance, and really, there have only been subtle changes, changing from a deep blue, changing the occasional shape and spacing to the letters, and instead softening it and obviously ‘modernising’ it. I have nothing bad to say about that, infact, it is quite refreshing, however they have created an icon to replace the eagle. Now if you watch the video they are touting on their website, they show the history of the logo, each one with an easily identifiable eagle. Jump ahead to this logo, which they state contains the eagle, and you’ll have to look a couple of times to see it. In essence, it is just two coloured blocks interrupted by a curved ‘thing’. Yes, it’s very clever, and will sit amongst the easily identifiable logos on apples logo quiz apps for years to come, but it doesn’t say anything about the airline, or what it stands for. If anything it reminds me heavily of the Mexicana logo.


A few problems arise from this logo, which they haven’t come close to solving yet either. In duo-tone, such as etched onto a glass or piece of cutlery, or embroidered onto an apron or uniform, or in black and white printing, the logo becomes even harder to understand, and will just look like two random slanted rectangles. Nothing is clever about that. Expect to see the word American and the logo always together on any consumables, never just one and not the other.


But, the piece de resistance, and the thorn in my side, has to be the tailfin. Whilst it is the most obvious tailfin ever, in my opinion, it stands out like a sore thumb from the rest of the branding. The typeface, logo and even website makes the airline look like the ‘apple’ of airlines. However, this tailfin, makes it look like a charter airline for an American cruiseliner. They state that they want their look to reflect the ‘modern travel experience’ which they are putting on board, and this tailfin has to be a huge step backwards for them. In fact, it’s similar in concept to North American Airlines. My big pet peeve, is they had to make it more complicated than it had to be with several different stripes of blue being used. (An obvious nod to the idea of the stars of the american flag blurred by the speed it travels through the air)

I’m disappointed, as American, with all the management and brand power they have, have opted for a mismatched and in my opinion misaligned brand. American planes were iconic, classic and really gave a feeling of the heyday of glamorous travel. This new brand just sits them amongst the masses. Nothing stands out here, nothing is unique, or original. If this is the ‘future of travel’ then maybe I just need to buy a motorhome. I give the tail-fin a few years, before you will see the iconic and irreplaceable eagle, in some form, in all its glory once again.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

20 replies on “American Fad

  1. Agree wholeheartedly about the problems with the tail livery. Join the Facebook group ‘fix the tAAil’ where there are alternative tail concepts utilizing the new AA logo.

  2. the entire liverly screams, cheap, fragile, and a lack of creativity that i’ve never seen before! it looks like somebody’s 5th grade son did it in school…worst looking airplanes in the industry by far!!

  3. So true. This entire new livery is a blunder! The poor Eagle left with only a beak and wings (if those even are wings.) It is much too abstract and odd looking. The tail looks too heavy and is a mess of a disaster. Too much!

    1. The old livery wasn’t close to elegant! It was old, ugly, and made DFW a metallic looking mess! The new livery is very modern looking and gives AA a new start

  4. Well, changes could be difficult for an iconic brand. However, lets not jump ahead and glorify the old livery. There is nothing really brilliant about the old livery. While many people think they should keep the scissor eagle from the old livery, Massimo Vignelli (the original designer of the original) objected putting in eagles in the first place. The unpolished aircraft looks great in a sunny day, but dirty and dreadful on most occasion. AA has one of the most dated corporate image. I am surprised that they kept it for so long. The fact that it is recognizable does not mean it is great in any regard. It really puzzles me the negative comments out there about the tail design. I don’t know…. it does scream American! Considering travelers abroad, it is instantly recognizable as an “American” airlines. The old AA Eagle livery does not have any visual clue to most people in foreign market. The point of the tail design is to stand out; it is safe to say this design is far superior and bold than the cautious livery of United or Delta.

  5. The AA graphics fail : the crude 3rd world tail and the beak logo itself which – clever, perhaps – simply does not work. These must move on to phase 2 as soon as possible.. That wretched tail , in the context of AA’s history and current operational scale, is laughable.

  6. Why is everyone so against the new livery. I think it looks great! So much better than that 60 year old livery that made the airplane look like it was 90 years old.

  7. I can’t understand all the negative comments about American’s new livery! The new scheme is smart, fresh and truly “American” and still retains the modernised eagle on the fuselage. The flag on the tail works for me however people seem to think they are the first airline to ever use the national flag on the tail which is not the case!! American’s old scheme was smart but looks very dated today, imagine how smart the ex USAirways A330’s would look in the new colours!!!

  8. I totally disagree with all the negative attitude to the new livery. I fly DFW, the main AA hub, every year and the airport looked dull, ugly, and metalic from the old AA livery. I can agree that the old livery was iconic but that livery is really old and not modern at all. Also i think this article was totally wrong when it said the new tail/livery doesnt standout, wasn’t original, and wasn’t unique. It DOES standout and the new tail is a very origional and unique representation of the flag. I think people would eventually get used to the new livery after a few years and stop complaining anyways. Some people would prefer and old ugly livery to a new modern one, SHAME!!!!!

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