October 5, 2016.   American Revisionism.

In 2013, when American Airlines announced its first livery makeover in forty years, nobody was more appalled than me. I have to say, three years on, the look has grown on me.

The tail, at least, has earned my hard-won appreciation. The piano-key flag motif is distinctive and handsome; even patriotic, without being jingoistic or in-your-face about it. Still, I can’t give the makeover an overall thumb-up. What’s that they say about the baby and the bathwater? Well, unfortunately, it’s that dastardly little logo — that weird, vapid, vertical banner with the curved nose — that continues to ruin the entire thing. Arguably the ugliest corporate trademark ever adopted by a major airline — I once described it as “a linoleum knife cutting through a shower curtain” — it gives American Airlines all the look and feel of a bank or a credit card company. The carrier can never be forgiven for trashing Massimo Vignelli’s timeless “AA” trademark, first unveiled in 1967. How close. If only they’d gone with Vignelli’s “AA” and the piano-key tail, the result would’ve been a winner:

AA Livery How It Should Be


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