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American Airlines Logo: Heart It!

I really have a new appreciation for American Airlines' identity with all the flying I've been doing. It started back in February at Logan Airport with the photo above. And continued at LAX when I saw a hangar for AA with this eagle:
Vignelli Associates designed the AA eagle logo in 1967 and according to Wikipedia:

"American's early liveries varied widely, but a common livery was adopted in the 1930s, featuring an eagle painted on the fuselage. The eagle became a symbol of the company and inspired the name of American Eagle Airlines. Propeller aircraft featured an international orange lightning bolt running down the length of the fuselage, which was replaced by a simpler orange stripe with the introduction of jets.
In the late 1960s, American commissioned an industrial designer to develop a new livery. The original design called for a red, white, and blue stripe on the fuselage, and a simple "AA" logo, without an eagle, on the tail. However, American's employees revolted when the livery was made public, and launched a "Save the Eagle" campaign similar to the "Save the Flying Red Horse" campaign at Mobil. Eventually, the designer caved in and created a highly stylized eagle, which remains the company's logo to this day. In 1999, American painted a new Boeing 757 in its 1959 international orange livery. There is a Boeing 737-800 painted in the retro AstroJet livery.American is the only major U.S. airline that leaves the majority of its aircraft surfaces unpainted. This was because C. R. Smith hated painted aircraft, and refused to use any liveries that involved painting the entire plane. Robert "Bob" Crandall later justified the distinctive natural metal finish by noting that less paint reduced the aircraft's weight, thus saving on fuel costs. Eastern Air Lines and US Airways have also maintained unpainted airplanes in the past."I'm a fan of the silver jets (Hi, have we met? I love silver, sparkly things). If you're a fan of AA check out this site for apparel!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


This is one of my favorite posts yet.

The American livery to me is very special, because it is now the one major airline livery that has not changed for as long as I have any memories. I remember seeing it on 727's at LaGuardia, and I still think the DC-10's tail looked the best with American's logo. The old hangar line at LaGuardia sports the 1930's version (slightly imperial with the Eagle spanning the world), and the hangar at LAX is cool with the 1960's "Astrojet" style titles.

One of my favorite things about it is its adaptability - it looks good on a 777, and even on a much smaller MD-80. The slightly modified version used on the regional jets (American Eagle) is also good-looking, but it does not feature the "silver bird" bare metal finish.

However, the logo has been modified just a wee bit from its inception: the "American" title is larger than it originally was, I believe, and they used to say what kind of plane it was under the flight deck windows (like "DC-10 Luxury Liner").

Anyway, great post - I enjoyed it.