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You don't need to be a planespotter to appreciate a great-looking airline livery – a stylish paintjob that turns heads at even the most crowded airport.
An airline's livery is cornerstone to its brand image, and fresh liveries are part of rebrandings – such as Virgin Blue relaunching as Virgin Australia, or Air Pacific morphing into Fiji Airways – or even a refresh, such as a more streamlined kangaroo on the tail of Qantas jets.
TheDesignAir website (one of our favourite sites where aviation geek meets design chic) has put together a list of this year's Top 10 airline liveries.
There's a bit of a lean towards the 'long white fuselage' look, which is not to everyone's liking, but it's undeniably on-trend for airline designers.
Here are the first five liveries on TheDesignAir list, along with the website's explanation for each one's place on the ladder.
1. Fiji Airways
To crown the amazing six airlines of the Pacific Rim that have made it into our Top 10 liveries this year, is the stunning Fiji Airways livery.
What we applaud the most here is the dramatic change from their current image, and a purposeful return to its roots.
This wonderful ‘heritage-bound’ national design using pacific tribal patterns and emblems show a proud cultural image that will stand out at its international destination airports of Sydney, Auckland, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.
It appears as something still exotic, and whilst on a ‘Eurowhite fuselage’ it could have had the fate of many new liveries, and appear bland and simplistic – but it’s actually got a strong logotype, bold tailfin and interesting nacelles, that draw the eye all over the well balanced airframe.
Airlines like Fiji Airways shows that we still are producing wonderful, inspiring liveries even today.
2. Hawaiian Airlines
Still one of the most elegant and beautiful airlines around.
The addition of Pualani (roughly translated, Heavenly Flower) on the tail has really given it a historic and culturally connected image. However the use of the leaf motif and the bright purple and pink colours make it feel exotic and modern.
I’m glad they’ve used a custom typeface that mimics something a little more ‘Pacific’ compared to it’s North American counterparts and it’s clean white frame on which the designs are placed really lifts the whole look of the aircraft.
There really isn’t anything like seeing the fleet from your plane’s window in Honolulu to make you feel like you’ve arrived somewhere really special.
3. O’hana by Hawaiian
We fell in love with this livery when we first saw it this year. The airline has invested into its cultural heritage to create a truly inspirational and complete design.
It was an artwork crafted with heart and spirit by Hawaiian Sig Zane, rather than by a branding agency, and the backstory to the livery is awe-inspiring for any designer to watch.
The brand is synonymous with Hawaiian Airlines, yet has it’s own unique story and message to impart. We can’t wait to see these planes take to the air soon.
Still a truly wonderful design, (and seems imitation is the highest form of flattery, as Avianca recently showed off their new colours, with what appears to be a hint of the Asiana scheme there).
The height of modernity and its use of grey-taupe and brighter red yellow and blues shows a unique look and feel and also gives a real sense of the airline being a luxury business player.
The tail fin design resembles the petals of a flower and the overlay of colours gives the design a more delicate touch.
The one thing that really shows up on this concept is the simple red arrow on the fuselage and this really counters what would otherwise feel an unbalanced and over simplified design.
Starflyer is one of the slickest and sharp liveries out there. It’s a paint-job that makes the airline look more 'private jet' than low-cost carrier.
The monochromatic look is elegant, and for a Japanese Airline is very refined. This killer-livery might resemble a killer whale, but the effect in our eyes is brilliant.
The clever elements here are within the subtlety of the branding, especially for a low cost carrier. A clean modern typeface is under-played on the fuselage, and the SF logo on both nacelles and tailfin, are clean, elegant and refined.
Whilst some carriers have historically shied away from black paintwork due to the heat effect it has on the fuselage, heating up the cabin, this airline has happily made the choice to make an impact instead.
Click through to TheDesignAir website for the rest of their Top 10 list.
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