A few nights ago I thought it would be fun to create some side view illustrations of a Virgin America A320. It seemed like an innocent enough thought – after all, this livery is basically all white with just a few splashes of red here and there. Right? Not quite. The biggest issue, by far, was the Virgin America titles on the forward fuselage. That typeface was custom designed by Matthew Aaron Desmond, so therefore, it’s not something that is available as a download anywhere on the web. “No problem – I’ll recreate it myself”, is the only thing that an adventurous designer like me thinks when facing a hurdle like that, so I busted out my Wacom tablet and fired up Adobe Illustrator. 10 minutes later, I gave up.
No, it’s not a particularly difficult font to recreate. The problem is that my time is scarce these days, and I thought it was a pretty poor use of what precious little down time I have. But then I had a thought…
During a recent trip that involved air travel, I took a few pictures at the airport to pass time between flights. One of those photos just happened to be a perfectly side-on view of a Virgin America A320. I could extract the title from that! And that’s exactly what I did. What you see on these illustrations are not graphic representations of the main titles, but actually parts of the photo I took and blended in with the rest of the drawing to look natural. I should point out that the slight white “halo” you see around that text in these small 1024-wide samples are not part of the larger source illustration. That’s just an unfortunate artifact from compressing these images for web viewing.
Anyway, here is the same illustration as above without the dark / watermarked background. Feel free take these and use them however you wish: