Although I’ve seen this livery in pictures, it wasn’t until I actually saw it up close and personal at Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT/JRAA) a few months back that it really caught my attention. I’m a pretty big fan of airline logos and branding, and this Skyteam example is a pretty good example of what I like in airline livery design.
I’m well known for my simplistic approach to illustration and design, so it shouldn’t be surprising to know that I’m drawn to clean solutions to complex design problems. The complexity in creating an alliance-themed airline livery (as shown in the illustration above) is the fact that it ultimately needs to promote the alliance without obscuring the owner / airline of the airplane. This Korean Air Skyteam livery does both fairly well, though I personally would like to see better integration of the Korean Air titles into the design. I’m not sure how realistic that would be, however, as other Skyteam airlines use this livery on some of their aircraft – so I understand why the designers just placed it where they did without much integration. This allows the most flexibility for all applications.
The colors are balanced, and the Skyteam logo lends itself well to be used in such a large way on the rear section of the fuselage. It’s hard to tell in pictures – as well as my illustration above – that the gray background color is actually a highly metallic silver that looks downright incredible in the right light. knowing that I approach my airliner art with archival purposes in mind (rather than artistic) I resisted the urge to blast it with harsh warm light that would make this illustration really sing.