August 22, 2007

rising roo

You may not have noticed a few weeks ago that Qantas Airlines changed their logo and branding. Where Chrysler (or Delta) is a classic example of how not to refresh an existing brand, Qantas is a perfect example of doing it right. In other words, don't fix what isn't broken. Qantas has one of the best designed airplane liveries anywhere in the world. The cleanliness of the white planes with the bold red tail always stands out. They and FedEx both smartly take advantage of the tailfin shape and extend the shape through the entire plane, creating a dynamic wedge that defines their look. The Kangaroo speaks volumes with its simple bold shape and color, and the accompanying type was bold and forward-moving without overshadowing the 'roo. The impetus for the logo refresh was Qantas new A380 fleet - the kangaroo just didn't work with the shape of the new huge tailfin (also true for the shape of most recent Boeings in their fleet), so they fixed it, and in doing so, gave the roo a sleeker smarter shape that shows even more motion and power than the existing one. The new roo no longer gets cut by the other fins on the tail. It's worth noting that Qantas kept the previous logo for 23 years - worth praise to the company for keeping it that long, and also for it looking as strong and current as it does for its age. As for the refresh, As much as I love the new 'roo, I'll admit that I don't love the new typography. Qantas has adopted a new custom-drawn typeface that to me is a little too trendy and not as bold - and the almost-but-not-quite ligature between the Q and the A creates a very awkward open space at the upper half of those letters. Plus I feel like the trendy typeface makes it not likely to last 20 years without looking dated. It almost makes me wonder if they felt they needed to change the type to justify the expense of such a subtle re-do. Regardless, the refresh is successful in putting Qantas in a place to continue moving forward for years to come without sacrificing any of its existing brand equity. A textbook example of smart.

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