The new KLM livery: an in depth look at all the changes

By Norebbo •  6 min read

I may upset a few people by saying this, but I’m not a very big fan of the new KLM livery. I’m glad they didn’t go “Euro white” like every airline seems to be doing these days, but I’m having a hard time not wrinkling my nose at the way the cheatline droops down at the forward section of the fuselage. Something about it seems a little off to me.

A brief overview of the new KLM livery

Unveiled to the public on April 30, 2014, the highly anticipated all new livery for KLM sent shockwaves through the aviation community.

Ok, I’m probably being slightly over dramatic, but I remember that day very clearly. All over social media, it seemed as though there were as many people who hated it as there were who absolutely loved it.

KLM new livery 737-800

The all new KLM livery as seen on my Boeing 737-800 template

Officially known as the “drop nose livery”, the first aircraft to wear it (and the one they used in all their press materials) was an Embraer 190. IMHO, thanks to it’s long and lean fuselage, it was the perfect aircraft to accentuate the way that the traditional blue pinstripe (cheatline) dropped down towards the nose.

KLM Asia (New Livery) Boeing 777-200

This is what the new KLM Asia livery looks like on my Boeing 777-200 template

Hans Murris is credited for being the designer of the new look. I can’t imagine how much pressure he felt to be tasked to modernize the KLM livery, as it’s one of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation. However, he was the man personally responsible for the last few KLM liveries, so he was arguably the most qualified to do it.

How is this livery different from previous versions?

The main difference between the old and new KLM livery is the pinstripe / cheatline that runs down the middle section of the fuselage. It still separates the blue top section from the white lower section the way the previous liveries did, but a bit of downward curvature was added to it (just forward of the engines).

KLM old and new livery comparison

Here’s a side by side comparison of the old and new KLM livery on the 737-800. Obviously, the previous livery is on the top, and the new livery is on the bottom.

Just as the name of this livery implies, the line drops down (“droops” is more like it) to intersect the lower section of the nose.

Although I haven’t been able to find information confirming this, it appears that the pinstripe has been thinned down slightly. It’s hard to tell just by looking at photos, but it appears as if they did modify it slightly.

KLM old and new livery comparison Boeing 777-200

This is the side by side comparison of the old and new livery on the 777-200. Is it wrong that I like the old one better?

The KLM livery color palette

One of the best things about the all new KLM livery is that the color palette largely carries over from the previous one. The rich shades of blue used in previous liveries are a core part of the new look (thank goodness), which makes this livery feel familiar and traditionally KLM.

klm new livery color palette

Visual diagram of the color palette for the new KLM livery

The most interesting thing about the KLM livery (something that most people doesn’t know), is that the white lower section of the fuselage isn’t white.

It’s actually a shade of cool gray that looks pure white in most lighting conditions. A neat little detail that even I would have missed if I didn’t do the research needed to do the illustrations you see above.

These are the colors used on all KLM aircraft:

Pros and cons of the new KLM livery

I’ve refrained from injecting too many of my opinions of KLM’s new livery up until this point, but now it’s time to lay it all out and let you know what I really think about it. Basically, I think it’s a sharp looking livery. I just can’t stand how “lazy” the pinstripe looks from some angles.

Pros

Cons

Norebbo

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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