HNA is the latest contemporary airline to bring both brand image and passenger experience inline with a holistic approach designed by UK-based company PriestmanGoode. For over two years the design studio was brought in ‘to create designs that reflect a sense of place and appeal to international passengers’.

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Entitled ‘Dream Feather’ the concept is inspired by the richness of Chinese culture and HNA’ distinct brand elements. The existing Garuda has acted as the starting point for the design. It references both the brand and the idea of flight. “The shape of a feather has a beautiful, flowing movement within it,” state PriestmanGoode. “It can be abstracted to create simplified shapes that we have applied to every element of the cabin, as well as throughout the ground services. We have combined these distinct brand elements with tones of gold and red, which are emblematic of Chinese culture.”

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Chinese carriers haven’t ever really taken a holistic approach to design before, and to western palettes seem more ‘function over form’. However a handful of carriers are starting to embrace a better brand image. HNA is one of the more progressive brands, so it is a pleasure to see the airline, alongside PriestmanGoode’s branding department  work extensively on every element of the brand vision. From developing the logo, brand font and the new HNA brandmark design to creating patterns translating the Dream Feather concept for application on graphic items, as well as developing iconography for onboard the aircraft and ground services.

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A new brandmark has been created, translating the Dream Feather concept for 2D application. The brandmark features an abstracted feather shape with the new HNA logo at its centre. This work includes development for application of the brandmark to a wide range of uses, including on ground services, graphic items including tickets and luggage tags, meal items, menus, wayfinding and digital screens.

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Meanwhile, the team worked closely with PriestmanGoode’s CMF department to design patterns and select colourways for each class and guidelines for use on product and service items. The patterns all take the Dream Feather concept as their starting point, using abstracted feather shapes to create distinct patterns that form a single design family and unified brand vision.


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Finally, the branding team developed an extensive set of iconography for use across the whole passenger journey, from ground services, to the lounge and onboard the aircraft including on passenger control units as well as menus.


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However, most passengers will start to see the biggest developments within the cabin environment encompassing everything from entrance areas to aircraft seats, curtains, lavatories and beyond. The interiors include trim and finish development for all classes, as well as lighting scenarios.

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PriestmanGoode has designed a wide range of service items including sleepwear and meal items. All items use the Dream Feather concept as their starting point. PriestmanGoode’s expertise in product design has allowed us to design each individual item, including ergonomically designed glassware.


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Seat fabrics were specially created as one of the key elements to improve the passenger journey. As the single item that passengers will have direct contact with for an extended period of time, it’s crucial that it feels nice to the touch. The seat fabrics in every class feature a linear ribbon motif running horizontally across the seats. This combined with a 3D weave helps create a greater depth and comfort. Metallic yarns running throughout the fabric catch the light and sparkle under cabin lighting, adding a sense of quality and luxury to the interiors.

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The importance of cabin lighting in creating a relaxing onboard environments has been widely documented, and extensive research exists into which colours help to create a stress-free atmosphere on board. “As a result, we have created different lighting scenarios that allow crew to tailor the cabin environment to suit a particular time of day, and to create the right atmosphere to put passengers at ease. We looked at how light changes in the natural environment, around sunset and dawn, and interpreted this into a lighting scenario to enhance the passenger journey.”

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The new Business Class seats have been enhanced by the addition of low-level ambient side lights to create a more welcoming interior atmosphere. The cabin features tones of luxurious gold, while soft items are represented by warm grey and taupe colours. An additional palette of light champagne colours is used for VIP products and services.

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Meanwhile, in a new Premium Economy cabin class dubbed ‘Super Economy’ – utilising the industry standard MiQ seats – features a spectrum of cool grey tones and Economy Class is earmarked by the use of bold reds.

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On the ground, the Premium check in area for Business and VIP passengers features branded back walls, custom desk designs, lighting and ceiling design, totems and wall finishes that incorporate the flow of the Dream Feather concept. The colours and materials reflect those onboard the aircraft, with tones of warm gold and beige.

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The Economy class check in also picks up on the finishes and colours onboard the aircraft and includes tones of greys and reds. The back wall features the Dream Feather brandmark while custom desk designs incorporate the flowing patterns of the Dream Feather motif. PriestmanGoode also designed the framework for the GUI on all self-service ticket machines.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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