Pros and cons of the Air India livery on the Boeing 787-8

By Norebbo •  6 min read

Of all of the airline liveries that I’ve illustrated over the years, the Air India livery has been one of the most memorable. Basically, I give Air India props for doing something different than all the other airlines. I wouldn’t go as far to call their livery elegant (or cutting edge), but it is unique, and I think that deserves a lot of respect.

A brief overview of the Air India livery

The current livery was unveiled on May 22, 2007 (shortly after Air India and Indian Airlines merged). The majority of it is white, with the primary accent color for all design elements being a very deep shade of red (I’ve listed out the exact color values below).

Air India Livery Boeing 787-8 side view

The unmistakable Air India Livery as seen on my Boeing 787-8 side view template.

The vertical stabilizer features a “sunburst” graphic that reminds me a lot of the Allegiant Air livery. The background is entirely red, and it extends down into the fuselage by wrapping around the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer.

Air India 787-8 vertical stabilizer livery

Closeup of the vertical stabilizer graphics (and how they integrate into the fuselage).

It looked a bit forced (and somewhat awkward) when I first saw it, but over time, I’ve come to appreciate it as neat design element that is truly unique. I also like how the arcs and curves are almost birdlike, giving it a visual sensation of flight.

The underside of the fuselage is painted in the same vivid red as all of the other design elements. It’s hard to see from the side profile, and I admit that I had never even noticed it before doing the illustration of the Air India 787-8 that you see here.

Interesting design details (stuff you may not have noticed)

The thing that I like the most about livery of Air India is how fantastically different it is from any other airline livery. It’s truly a beautiful extension of Hindi culture, which as we all know, it’s so very different from western culture. Here are all the little design details that I’m willing to bet that most people don’t even notice:

air india livery window frames

How many airline liveries can you think of that feature a “frame” of some sort around each window?

Color palette

At first glance, Air India’s livery seems relatively simple. It’s not until you look at all the little details that you start to notice all the different colors that make up this highly unique paint scheme: Here are all the colors used:

air india livery colors

A visual diagram showing the full color palette of the Air India livery. In real life, the fuselage (and engines) aren’t as vivid white. But I’m the illustrator, and this is my website, so that’s how I chose to illustrate it. So there!

For the record, I illustrated the 787-8 you see above in a way which makes the fuselage look completely white. In bright sunlight, it does look completely white. But in real life (especially during sunrise and sunset), it’s easy to notice the warm tones.

Pros and cons of the Air India livery

Can you tell that this is a livery that I’m somewhat torn on? In some regards, I consider it to be one of the best airline color schemes in the air. On the other hand, some of the little details look rushed and unfinished. That said, allow me to list out a bunch of things that I like and don’t like about it:




My name is Scott, and I started in the design industry over 20 years ago with a bachelors degree in Industrial Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. I have an extensive background in both 2D and 3D illustration, and these days, I spend a majority of my time creating aircraft templates and airliner art. I’m basically an airplane dork.

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