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SwissAir Case Study pt 1

(early experiments: 1930s/40s)

Swissair is perhaps one of the most recognisable brands in the design industry and has undergone loads of different rebrands and experiments in it’s 80 odd year history.

The brand is one of my favourites and I often look at it when I come to designing a logo. What I aim to reflect is how successful the logo has been and how the brand has evolved from its emergence in the 1930’s.

The top group of images are the brands earliest experiments for the goo and whilst i’ve not got the current logo in view on this post, you’ll recognise that the seed was planted some 80 years ago. What I enjoy mostly about these experiments is that they don’t seem to have any boundaries, and I guess that reflects the airplane industry of the time, there were lots of experiments going on with plains in those days and they were perhaps just finding their feet in terms of the possibilities in which a plain offers. Those that strike me as most interesting are those that resemble a crest, it’s interesting that the airline started out with that idea as it’s something that you’d usually associate with a club. But again, I guess if you head back 80 years, the the possibility of flying would have only been an option for higher members of society, and therefore that club status was probably warranted. 

The bottom four logos are from the 40’s and I guess reflect about 10 years of experiments as things vastly change between each of them. It’s apparent that the brand is unclear on direction and doesn’t quite know it’s placement. One thing that is stable throughout however is the typeface used for Swissair (which became the first official logo for the company). They’ve used an italic script type font, which as a logo looks slightly similar to that of the Coca-Cola logo. The colour to me however indicates something other than the Coca-Cola connotation.. it could possible have a link to war as this period was the second world war, and if you look at some of the aircrafts used in the logos, they certainly look more military than those in the logos above them.

John BoothComment