It seems the week before Christmas brought a challenge from LOT Polish Airlines to Lufthansa regarding the German flag carrier’s somewhat contentious new livery. The Polish carrier draws issue with the fact Lufthansa’s reimagined tail fin has an uncanny resemblance to theirs.
While we agree there are similarities, to our our trained eye, they are fairly distinct, with LOT’s crane logo with forward swept wings in a V shape, and Lufthansa’s singular swept-back tail fin being clearly different, but we are based in the airline industry, and that’s seen from a close up. Further away, in an airport environment, where fuselages can be obstructed from view, at a quick glance we can see the two could get confused easily. But it’s not the only case of similar tails…
It’s a tail fin, so what? Well, tail fins are a great subconscious calling card, reminding passengers that the airline flies to a certain destination. At some point most people might have gone “Oh, I didn’t know Airline X flew here” when transiting through an airport. It’s that thought process that LOT is trying to protect, especially when their marketing budget is most likely dwarfed by the German behemoth.
So who wins out of these two carriers battling for their right to wear their livery with pride? In our opinion, neither. Liveries and tail fins in particular should be seen as blank canvases, an opportunity to being a brand to life in art form. Yet so many carriers opt for the same approach. Logo on block colour, with typeface across the fuselage.
The most common colour in aviation designs seems to be blue, (followed by red) and the most common airline logo motif represents flight, normally in the form of wings or birds. Because of that there will always be a bit of a brand blend across many airlines.
Back in 2016, we showcased how Qantas’ new livery in Asian airports could easily be mistaken as Cathay Dragon or Turkish, because of the similarity in graphic on the tail.
2020 is a new decade, a new opportunity for airlines to fight the ordinary and stand out from the crowd. We challenge carriers to think differently, bring exciting new designs to their aircraft and break away from the norm. We look forward to seeing the latest livery reveals in the new year, hopefully adding a splash of colour and originality back to the skies.