EX-YU airlines in need of a visual makeover
From dots to stars and squares, liveries of the national carriers in the former Yugoslavia cannot be described as imaginative or captivating in any way, shape or form. The colours and design motifs that are applied to commercial aircraft are one of the most visible and familiar expressions of an airline’s brand and corporate identity. EX-YU Aviation News spoke to Jonny Clark, an airline brand specialist and editor of the DesginAir portal, to share his thoughts on how EX-YU airlines stack up in their branding.
In its two decade long history, Croatia Airlines has changed its livery once, although both have placed focus on the stylised checkerboard national symbol. Mr. Clark believes Croatia Airlines has done the best out of all the EX-YU national carriers when it comes to design and branding. “A modern and clean livery that owns the whole aircraft. The square graphic is easily identifiable and the sky blue underbelly is contemporary”, he says. The livery first appeared in 2004 and was created by Ivanka Ivanković Prlić, a corporate designer based in Zagreb.
On the other hand, Adria Airways’ livery has stayed mostly unchanged since the post-Yugoslav period. In his professional opinion Mr. Clark notes, “The Adria Airways livery is one of the best of the five liveries on offer here. Excellent use of the fuselage along with a unique typeface make for a brand that has a similar look and impact to that of Finnair. The "A" logo is also appealing and clever, creating a heart shape, subtly reinforcing a feeling of attraction to the brand, and also creating an arrow, a symbol of movement and direction”.
Montenegro Airlines has also kept its livery and branding unchanged since launching flights in 1997. Mr. Clark believes the livery has its shortcomings but also great potential due to the logo featured on the tail of its jets. He adds, “A brilliant little logo holds this design together. Deep blue with white is smart and confident. The eagle logo, as great as it is, sadly feels a little disconnected from the rest of the aircraft”.
B&H Airlines, like its predecessor, Air Bosna, opted to use the national flag as its livery. However, the editor of DesignAir believes the carrier might be going just a little over the top and should have chosen a more subtle approach to incorporate national elements in its branding. “Whilst airlines all try to show patriotic elements (just look at American Airlines' new tail fin) clever airlines try not to over play it, making them more appealing to all travellers from all countries. I would have hoped for more of a creative spin to this livery, with a more striking logotype”.
Finally, Jat Airways’ corporate brand leaves a lot to be desired. The airline has gone from its classic “egg” livery in the 20th century to the popular “flame/wing” livery of the troubled 90s to the “dot/traffic light” livery in use since 2003. The design was chosen through an international competition won by the Kontrapunkt and Armada studio from Slovenia. At the time, the design by Eduard Čehovin was branded as “dynamic, functional, attractive, somewhat odd but recognisable”. However, not many would agree with those words. “Jat's livery sadly doesn't work. Far too much white gives the impression it's a temporary livery or even a wet lease aircraft. The dots give an almost clown like visual and the text is underplayed and appears like a standard typeface. Whilst a cheap livery to produce even adding colour to the nacelles would offer a better grounding to the airframe. Although in my opinion, this really just needs a redesign”, Mr. Clark says. The “dot” livery was supposed to go hand in hand with the airline’s slogan at the time - “I fly with Jat, full stop”.