JFK’s International Air Terminal (Now known as JFK’s T4) plays host to the largest collection of airlines at JFK, with over 30 carriers under the one roof which has been standing since the 2001 $1.4bn redevelopment.
After 15 years a brand refresh has brought a contemporary spin to the airport’s only non-airline owned terminal. Designed by Base, an agency with a studio in New York, the new brand “reflects the terminal’s large physical space with an open and light visual system that was simple, but with a distinguished personality.”
The playful type treatment, neon colours and fresh, clean whitespace-led design sits at odds with the premium airlines that fly from the airport, but the brand will only be found in moderation, meaning that passengers will receive a much more paired-back aesthetic than is presented here.
Creating the iconic logo than will act as the foundation to the brand image, the number “4” graphic can be extended to personify the terminal experience being “4 all” – for all people and aspects of travel.
Base also partnered with illustrator Tomi Um on the thematic illustrations, which will be visible throughout the terminal.
We do like the bold approach to creating a unique visual identity to an airport experience, However, as we have seen in the rebranding of London Luton Airport at the start of this year, this young and contemporary look runs the risk of ageing quickly, and lacks a sense of permanence that more considered timeless brands effortlessly convey. There also seems to be little connection with an airport or travel experience and appreciation that many users of the airport won’t be English speakers, and way finding will be harder than usual with a less legible typeface.
While the initial concepts and illustrations here only show a sense of how the brand will be presented, it is the attention to detail and execution that will herald this as a success, or a brand that could possibly quickly be forgotten.
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