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design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

A Virgin Makeover

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Amongst some of the more recent high-profile brand makeovers, the jury is still out on Audi's corporate identity changes in 2009.

But earlier this month, London-based Design agency Johnson Banks, in collaboration with the Virgin Atlantic in-house brand design team, announced an updated livery for the Virgin Atlantic Fleet, and the results are terrific.

Virgin Atlantic 747

This sort of corporate identity job is a dream project for any design team, working with a huge brand, a decent budget, and producing (literally) huge results.

Clearly the remit has been to retain the essential visual elements of the original branding, but to tweak everything so that the airplanes look sleeker and more exotic than their rivals. This has been achieved by simplifying each element of the design.

The Virgin Atlantic name, which was previously on the front end of the fuselage (above the passenger windows) in a lowercase italic sans serif font, is now emblazoned large across the whole front side the aircraft in a cleaner roman version, in dark purple.

The undercarriage now features the Virgin Atlantic logo in the same dark purple, making the aircraft more easily identifiable when taking off and landing, and the winglets are now red with the Virgin script on the inner side, visible to passengers on board the plane.

And the tail now features a lighter-weight Virgin logo, and the blue edging on the fin has been removed to give a dramatically more steamlined feel:

The new livery also uses an entirely new paint system which is unique to Virgin Atlantic and has been specially developed to achieve a gunmetal metallic colour that renders 'airplane white' instantly obsolete.

The overall effect is one of sleek minimalism, a world away from the busy muddled feel the fleet definitely had before.

As part of their launch campaign, Virgin has also released a really cool time lapse video showing a Boeing 747 getting those aforementioned changes - requiring 450 litres of paint and 3000 man hours' worth of work:

Virgin Atlantic
Airline Liveries @ wiki