Here at TheDesignAir, our team of expert judges have looked at the liveries around the world this year and have come up with our Top 10 liveries for 2013. Whilst we have some great looking airlines from last year’s Top 10 still appearing in the list this year, there are some great new liveries that are worthy of a mention and some that have changed that knock them out of the Top 10. Included in the ones departing from last years list include American, Avianca and Pluna, who sadly closed its doors last year.
The 2012 Top 10 Liveries
10. Air Tahiti Nui
06. Korean Airlines
01. American Airlines
The 2013 Top 10 Liveries
10. Air Tahiti Nui
We still love Air Tahiti Nui‘s truly pacific livery. It’s a naturally warm and modern livery that encapsulates the natural wonders of the Pacific islands. It has clean bold lines and shapes that elegantly follow the shape of the plane whilst also incorporating more fluid and subtle elements such as the ripple on the tail or the flower motif in the tail. The striking white and blue design is fresh and always turns heads when it arrives in LAX or CDG.
With the latest news that we should be seeing this livery on an all new jet fleet, this lesser-spotted design should be expanding its reach in the next few years. From Winkreative, the brainchild of Tyler Brulé, famous father of publications such as Wallpaper andMonocle, Porter’s strikingly simple yet powerful livery that goes beyond it’s metal canvas. It’s much more than a livery, playing to the design agencies strength of creating powerful brands that run across all printed and web material as well as hard products. It’s logo is simple yet it’s repetition on the tail fin echoes the nature of the airline, for the repeat business travellers that use the airline time and time again. Very modern and effortless, something as clean as this shouldn’t be forgotten as a brilliant design.
08. Island Air new
We love that this airline has transformed its image. The airline is set to take on the major airline of the Hawaiian state, and it’s new turbo prop fleet, so a refreshed look and feel was needed to remain competitive and appealing to passengers. Shaking off it’s old image, from a pretty uninspiring livery to a new professional, and vibrant livery, Island Air is a grace to see in the skies. Whilst to many the bright vibrant colours may appear garish, the actual combination of colours makes this livery feel totally at home in it’s tropical base. In fact, this airline showcases what fundamentally we all here at thedesignair like about some of the new liveries coming out, the fact they aren’t shy of using designs to fill the airframe, we sadly see all too much of the Euro-white schemes around the world, slowly creating a blander travel experience.
07. Thai new
Thai Airways did us proud with the launch of the A380, in our view, it is one of the most perfectly balanced A380 paint schemes out there, the livery is elegant, striking, regal and proud. All the elements are effortlessly balanced, we love both the orchid design and colour palette that Thai use. It is culturally sensitive, cleverly executed and well used throughout the brand experience of the airline, from website to cutlery. Whilst the airline sadly didn’t make the top 10 last year, this year we have to include the airline for careful consideration of their livery on their new fleets. Also we should mention their Thai Smile brand, which feels like a smart playful offshoot, and whilst the airline is still finding it’s feet, the brand synergy between the sister-carriers is perfectly harmonious and conveys the emotional experience you would expect to feel whilst flying with them.
06. Fastjet new
It seems that Stelios has learned, affordable doesn’t have to mean ugly. Founder of easyJet, Stelios’ new African adventure is smart, modern and in keeping with the low-cost tone, without the obvious brand assault that most low cost carriers adopt. The playful use of the Grey parrot, a mascot for the airline, is similar in brand strategy, to that of the racoon of Porter Airlines. The use of a contemporary and complimentary colour palette, geometric patterns and clean typeface make for an easy to identify and modern image, whilst obviously showing a nod to the African heritage it is flying within. The mascot is also a smart way of advertising an airline to a market without the visual image of a plane, for a region with a more sketchy history of aviation. Our favourite element, by far, is the parrot motif, which makes for a really beautiful tail fin.
05. Starflyer new
Starflyer is one of the slickest and sharp liveries out there. It’s a paint-job that makes the airline look more private jet than low cost carrier. The monochromatic look is elegant, and for a Japanese Airline (think Peach) is very refined. This killer-livery might resemble a killer whale, but the effect in our eyes is brilliant. The clever elements here are within the subtlety of the branding, especially for a low cost carrier. A clean modern typeface is under-played on the fuselage, and the SF logo on both nacelles and tailfin, are clean, elegant and refined. Whilst some carriers have historically shied away from black paintwork due to the heat effect it has on the fuselage, heating up the cabin, this airline has happily made the choice to make an impact instead. We applaud this look!
Still a truly wonderful design, (and seems imitation is the highest form of flattery, as Avianca recently showed off their new colours, with what appears to be a hint of the Asiana scheme there). The height of modernity, and it’s use of grey-taupe and brighter red yellow and blues shows a unique look and feel and also gives a real sense of the airline being a luxury business player. The tail fin design resembles the petals of a flower and the overlay of colours gives the design a more delicate touch. The one thing that really shows up on this concept is the simple red arrow on the fuselage and this really counters what would otherwise feel an unbalanced and over simplified design.
03. O’hana by Hawaiian new
We fell in love with this livery when we first saw it this year. The airline has invested into its cultural heritage to create a truly inspirational and complete design. It was an artwork crafted with heart and spirit by Hawaiian Sig Zane, rather than by a branding agency, and the backstory to the livery is awe-inspiring for any designer to watch. The brand is synonymous with Hawaiian Airlines, yet has it’s own unique story and message to impart. We can’t wait to see these planes take to the air soon.
02. Hawaiian Airlines
Still one of the most elegant and beautiful airlines around. The addition of Pualani (roughly translated, Heavenly Flower) on the tail has really given it a historic and culturally connected image. However the use of the leaf motif and the bright purple and pink colours make it feel exotic and modern. I’m glad they’ve used a custom typeface that mimics something a little more ‘Pacific’ compared to it’s North American counterparts and it’s clean white frame on which the designs are placed really lifts the whole look of the aircraft. There really isn’t anything like seeing the fleet from your plane’s window in Honolulu to make you feel like you’ve arrived somewhere really special.
01. Fiji Airways new
To crown the amazing six airlines of the pacific rim that have made it into our Top 10 liveries this year, is the stunning Fiji Airways livery. What we applaud the most here is the dramatic change from their current image, and a purposeful return to its roots. Following a similar story to that of O’hana by Hawaiian, this wonderful ‘heritage-bound’ national design using pacific tribal patterns and emblems show a proud cultural image that will stand out at it’s international destination airports of Sydney, Auckland, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. It appears as something still exotic, and whilst on a ‘Eurowhite fuselage’ it could have had the fate of many new liveries, and appear bland and simplistic, but it’s actually got a strong logotype, bold tailfin and interesting nacelles, that draw the eye all over the well balanced airframe. Airlines like Fiji Airways shows that we still are producing wonderful, inspiring liveries even today.