American Airlines is one of a handful of brands that are considered true american icons, its namesake gives a sense of possibility, inspires deep loyalty and today, the company also invested in that most american of ideals: progress. Two years ago American Airlines decide to redesign their iconic logo and marketing products. As every rebranding process, it was a slow and methodical push for change that was accepted and welcomed by the management. The branding agency picked to execute this was Futurebrand,who strived to create a modern look for the iconic brand.
Early this year the new logo was unveiled. This as an ambitious rebranding and marketing campaign called “A New American,” a reference to the new look and a new spirit as the company has emerged from bankruptcy. American Airlines has adopted a new minimal logo, dropping the overt eagle for a more seamless design.
AA New Logo by Futurebrand
This is the corporation’s first rebrand in over 40 years. The original logo was created by designer Massimo Vignelli, who designed for high profile clients like IBM and Bloomingdale’s. The design legend is not a fan of the new corporate identity that replaces the one he created 45 years ago, since the logo is intended to be a sort of 21st-century amalgamation of many of the elements of Vignelli’s much-loved marque: the eagle, the letter A, the red, white and blue livery, and the star. Indeed, Vignelli recently told BusinessWeek that the FutureBrand version “has no sense of permanence” and that the replacement for Helvetica “is not as good or as powerful.”
AA Vignelli’s Logo
He also said:
“There was no need to change. It’s been around for 45 years. Every other airline has changed its logo many times, and every time was worse than the previous one. This is the typical mistake that company presidents make: “I’ll change the logo, and the company will look new.” What you have to have is a president who knows how to run the company, and in that process knows how to evaluate the brand identity. Otherwise it becomes a wolf camouflaged by sheep. It’s still the same company that’s not going to be successful.
“The American flag has 13 stripes, right? Not 11. Did American add only 11 stripes [to the flag on the tail] because they are in Chapter 11? I don’t think two more stripes would have been a disaster. And there are only two colours shown instead of all three. So is it a different flag?”They’re not going to solve their problems, they’re just going to increase their costs. As you know, one of the great things about American Airlines was that the planes were unpainted. The paint adds so much weight that that brings an incredible amount of fuel consumption. For some reason they decided to paint the plane. The fact is, weight is weight. Design is much more profound. Styling is very much emotional. Good design isn’t—it’s good forever. It’s part of our environment and culture. There’s no need to change it. The logo doesn’t need change. The whole world knows it, and there’s a tremendous equity. It’s incredibly important on brand recognition. I will not be here to make a bet, but this (new logo) won’t last another 25 years.”
What do you think about American Airlines rebranding? Do you think Vignelli is rightfully upset? How do you feel when a company rebrands your material?
Graphic design is a field in constant change, both creatively and technically. It can be easy to get caught up in learning new technical skills, but it is just as important to focus improving and pushing the limits of our creativity.
As Designers we need to make a point to continue educating ourselves as much as possible and become more active in the field of design. Here are a few tips, exercises and practices that have help me continue learning, strengthen my creativity and become an all around better designer.
- Collect, collect, collect – Collect designs that inspires you. File them away and wait…they will turn into a great source of inspiration when needed. (if you cant’ take it home, use your phone and take tons of pictures)
- Read Graphic Design blogs – Take advantage of the web and search for Designer’s Blogs, they can be an easy source of information and update for every designer.
- Start a Design Blog – It makes you more aware of the Design Community and more accountable of your own work.
- Fake projects, why not? – If you find yourself with some downtime (hope is not much), create some fake projects. Develop a brand, create a logo, stationary and design marketing material for this brand. This will let your creativity run without limitations, It’s easy to get caught in a routine when clients dictate and your work is no longer “yours”.
- Do it again – What goes through your mind when you see your first designs? Exactly, that’s what I figured. Once in a while redo your old designs, analyze what you did wrong and experiment with your new knowledge.
Being a Graphic Designer is a work in process, if you are committed to your career and to develop your designing style you will be successful. It takes time, patience and lots of mistakes in order to improve your designing techniques.
What is your key to stimulate your creativity and improve your designs?
The world may think this is just about making it look good; but Graphic Designers do much more than that, a good Graphic Designer can benefit your business bottom line.Good Graphic Design helps you make that important positive first impression. It gets you noticed and helps you communicate effectively with your potential clients.
Many business owners think that hiring a Graphic Designer is one advertising & marketing expense that they can avoid. Here I will show you some reason why you should not “skimp” on Design services.
- It have to be done, why not doing correctly – Don’t take chances that will cost you money and time, get it right the first time by using a professional Graphic Designer since the beginning. A professional Graphic Designer knows printing and designing specifics that will help you avoid problems when printing or displaying your designs.
- Grab their attention – When it comes to design, first impressions are everything. A Graphic Designer will help to capture the attention of your customers. Successful design will take the message that you want to share to the world and send it directly to the people you want to reach and deliver it in a way that they can receive.
- You don’t have all the time of the world – An experienced Designer works without supervision, manages the Design process, and keeps the Client updated and involved when necessary. A graphic designer knows their field well, they can turn your ideas into reality in a short time, leaving you free to do what you do best.
- Because money matters – If your art file is not prepared precisely the way it needs to be for printing, you may find that it will cost more to have a commercial printing company fix the art file than it would have been to simply hire a professional to prepare proper print-ready art files in the first place. Professional graphic designers are familiar with the legal part of design. They know that it is absolutely necessary to purchase licenses for the images and typefaces that we use in projects. Without these licenses, you could face legal action, which is not cheap.
- Your business image is everything – We live in a society that judge the “book by the cover”, the better something looks from the outside, the more valuable it must be. A professional graphic designer can help you develop a brand that matches the quality of your products and services. They can provide you with beautifully printed business cards and brochures. They can design a logo that not only gets attention, gains recognition, but communicates the ideas and values behind your business.
I hope that these benefits of hiring a more experienced Graphic Designer have convinced you not to hire uncle Juan to design your marketing material. Your business’ success is hinged upon your marketing strategy, and how well that vision is executed and presented to your audience. Professional Marketing and Design is an investment that will pay off over a relatively short period of time.
When looking for a Professional Graphic Designer ask for referrals, check out portfolios and read testimonials of past clients. Design Theory is a Design Firm that works with professional Graphic and Web Designers that can help promote your brand with excellence.
Ok, so you chose to live the “glamorous” life of a freelance graphic designer. Two months later you start realizing there is no such a “glamorous” life when you are a freelance graphic designer, specially if you just started in this world.
How can a freelancer get more work and generate more leads?
Relationships – your clients are one of the most important aspects of your career as a freelancer.
- Be honest to your clients
- Keep in touch with old clients, offer your new services and also revisions of old services
- It’s okay to disagree, but learn to respectfully disagree
- Develop a newsletter
- Don’t be afraid of requesting referrals
Designs – following some simple steps go a long way on the results of your designs.
- Research your options, similar designs and ideas
- Sketch, draw, imagine. Give yourself a little bit of wiggle room to create.
- Have your client in mind when designing, remember they are the ones paying and they are the ones that know their clients.
Time management – you may end up with multiple projects at a time, how you manage to survive and deliver on time.
- Prioritize, organize your work by importance and deadlines
- Eliminate procrastination
- Project management applications can help (yo can find some free ones online)
- If you are too busy, consider outsourcing some designs or works
Sell yourself – to reach clients, you need to constantly market yourself and prove your worth over other designers.
- Learn your work, make sure that you know what you are talking about and present yourself secure of your designs
- Use social media, social media is an amazing tool to promote your services, showcase your projects and meet other freelancers.
- Develop creative business cards, marketing material; use your talents in favor of your marketing material
These are basic ideas you can use in the launch of your new freelance career. Can you suggest some other ideas?