new american airlines livery on a boeing 777-200
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Like it or not, this is the new look for American Airlines. Even though we all knew this was coming, I was actually at a loss for words when I first saw it. It was nothing like I thought it would be. I knew that the iconic polished aluminum fuselage was history, and that silver paint would be used instead. And I had a pretty good feeling that they would stick with a red, white, and blue color scheme. But the tail. That tail! I was hoping to see something a bit organic and flowing, but instead we got hard-edged and highly abstract American flag. The concept in and of itself is good – I like the idea of incorporating the flag into the livery. But I personally feel it’s too busy and not complimentary to the new logo (which, as a matter of fact, I love).

Now that this new livery has had a day or so to sink in, I thought it would be good to create an illustration of it on a Boeing 777-200LR (N773AN). This helps me to examine the livery on a nearly microscopic level, in much more detail than I ever could just by looking at a few low-res pics found on the internet. And you know what? I think American Airlines has got itself a winner here. Yes, now that I’ve had the chance to have a really deep look at it, I love the attention to detail – especially in the tail. I do still think it’s too busy and not playing well with the logo, but there are some beautiful gradients and textures in the tail that I didn’t notice until I did these illustrations.

The new American Airlines logo is the best part of this livery, and I think it’s a natural evolution of the classic “AA” eagle logo of today (er..yesterday). It’s unfortunate that they didn’t place it on the tail though, as the darn thing is in the shape of an aircraft vertical stabilizer for crying out loud. And since I’m talking about things that I would do different, don’t you think that some color on the engines and /or winglets would look sharp? I do.

Hey – I know it’s easy to be a critic, and even though I have a lot of bad things to say about this, I still think that Futurebrands did a great job. It’s not easy to take something as iconic as the 30+ year old American Airlines identity and give it a modern look. No matter what they did, they were undoubtedly going to tick some people off. But this shall pass, and this new livery will seem “normal” in no time at all.

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