FlyBlue777
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United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:02 am

Does anyone know the debut date of the tulip design for UA, and what aircraft it was debuted on?
I know it was in 1974 sometime, but I was hoping to have the actual date.
Also, does anyone know how long it took to fully paint the fleet? I remember seeing a 747 at ORD in the old livery in '78.
 
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cosyr
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:17 am

I don't have any answers for you, but I'm glad you asked, because I was just thinking about the same thing with AA's new livery. I'm surprised that it was 6 years after AA, considering the similarities in the styles and fonts of each livery. Trends can last longer than I realize sometimes.
 
rampart
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:11 am

1973, by Saul Bass (who also did Continental, Frontier, and many other corporate brands very familiar to us). And it's a shield (derived from their previous logo) that also invokes the U and A, not a tulip.

-Rampart
 
BMI727
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:16 am

Quoting rampart (Reply 2):
1973, by Saul Bass (who also did Continental, Frontier, and many other corporate brands very familiar to us).

His work is reasonably attractive, but exceptionally formulaic and not very creative.

He does the United "tulip" logo, then basically change the "UA" to an "F" and put it in a circle to get Frontier.

Then there are the meatball logos: take the Continental meatball and squeeze the lines together and there's the Minolta logo. Take that and add more lines and it's AT&T. Or turn the Continental logo ninety degrees, make it blue and just like that you have Rockwell International.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
rampart
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:41 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):

His work is reasonably attractive, but exceptionally formulaic and not very creative.

Yet hugely recognizable and long-lasting, many of them over 30 years (though not in the airline industry, which seems to be more volatile than Girl Scouts, Minolta, Kleenex, and United Way, which are still used, among others). And while formulaic, there is no confusing Frontier's from United's (I personally don't see much of a similarity, Frontier and Warner are actually more similar), or Continental from AT&T or Rockwell.
http://annyas.com/saul-bass-logo-design-then-now/

For whatever reason, his logo designs nailed it in terms of identity. And corporations flocked to him.

-Rampart
 
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antoniemey
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:30 am

Quoting rampart (Reply 2):
1973, by Saul Bass (who also did Continental, Frontier, and many other corporate brands very familiar to us). And it's a shield (derived from their previous logo) that also invokes the U and A, not a tulip.

I have never seen an A in the UA emblem. U, sure. That's easy... I don't see an A, or even a hint of one.
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HAL
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:46 am

Quoting rampart (Reply 2):
And it's a shield (derived from their previous logo) that also invokes the U and A, not a tulip.

When it first debuted, it was also supposed to represent Westin International, the hotel chain that UAL bought in 1970. The first three vertical lines were supposed to be a W, and the last line an I. The entire shape was to invoke the letter U, for United. For many years there was a tight alliance between Westin and UA, culminating in 1987 when Richard Ferris tried to rebrand UA, Westin, Hilton, and Hertz as 'Allegis'. Obviously, that didn't work out too well.

Also, I'm pretty sure the logo didn't appear on the planes until well into 1974. My dad retired as a pilot for UA in late '73, and at that time none of the planes had the logo. I remember hearing about the change after he retired too, so it would have had to be at least '74.

HAL

[Edited 2013-01-27 01:51:39]
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johnclipper
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:11 am

Allegis was the rebrand for UAL Corp. the holding company. It was never an attempt to rebrand UA.
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WA707atMSP
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:18 pm

Quoting FlyBlue777 (Thread starter):
Does anyone know the debut date of the tulip design for UA, and what aircraft it was debuted on?


It debuted on June 17,1974, on DC-8-21 N8031U. The 1st aircraft in the new scheme flew from UA's overhaul base in SFO to ORD for the formal unveiling, and entered revenue service on June 19, 1974.

Source: issue 11 of Airliners Magazine (the version published by Airline Publications and Sales in the UK, not the earlier version published by Kalmbach, or the later version published by World Transport Press).
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rampart
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:00 pm

Quoting Antoniemey (Reply 5):
I don't see an A, or even a hint of one.

OK. I've always seen it that way. Some people also see 2 U's, which makes less sense to me. And I guess some people also see a W...

Quoting HAL (Reply 6):
When it first debuted, it was also supposed to represent Westin International, the hotel chain that UAL bought in 1970. The first three vertical lines were supposed to be a W, and the last line an I. The entire shape was to invoke the letter U, for United.

In my reading of logos and branding history, I've never run across this, that Bass specifically included a primary reference to Westin Hotels within the logo. I had read that its primary reference was to the older UA shield which had been used since the 1930s, and the U. I have read (somewhere) that United employees at the time (early 70s) mistook the logo to be a W for Westin, eclipsing their United brand. If you have any further information on any of this, I'd appreciate it.

Quoting HAL (Reply 6):
Also, I'm pretty sure the logo didn't appear on the planes until well into 1974. My dad retired as a pilot for UA in late '73, and at that time none of the planes had the logo. I remember hearing about the change after he retired too, so it would have had to be at least '74.
Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 8):
It debuted on June 17,1974, on DC-8-21 N8031U. The 1st aircraft in the new scheme flew from UA's overhaul base in SFO to ORD for the formal unveiling, and entered revenue service on June 19, 1974.

Correct. But the branding design was presented by Bass in 1973, according to the design references.

-Rampart
 
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knope2001
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:27 pm

For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure Westin didn't even become Westin until 1980 or so. They were Western International Hotels with a logo that (to me) always looked like a cowboy hat with a globe on it.

It might just be me, but if they had changed the name to Westin at the time of the tulip, perhaps I could see people thinking there was an embedded W in there as an effort to tie and rebrand the combined unit. But Western International Hotels used that name, and the cowboy hat globe logo, for several years before and after the tulup. The rebrand to Westin -- a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan image -- was years later.
 
FWAERJ
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:34 pm

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 10):
But Western International Hotels used that name, and the cowboy hat globe logo, for several years before and after the tulup. The rebrand to Westin -- a more sophisticated and cosmopolitan image -- was years later.

Indeed - the rebrand to Westin wasn't until 1980, the 75th anniversary of the company.

And Westin (a name developed by Landor) is actually a shortened version of WESTern INternational.
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ord
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:12 pm

For what it is worth, noted airline historian George Cearley claims in his book "United, the Main Line Airway" that United introduced its new logo, titles and color scheme as first shown on the September 9, 1974 system timetable cover showing a DC-10 in the new livery.
 
rampart
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:26 pm

Quoting ord (Reply 12):

For what it is worth, noted airline historian George Cearley claims in his book "United, the Main Line Airway" that United introduced its new logo, titles and color scheme as first shown on the September 9, 1974 system timetable cover showing a DC-10 in the new livery.

I finally found a solid (not a web page) source for the 1973 inception. "UA commissions bass to design new logo and brand, 1973" (Graphic Design That Works: Secrets For Successful Logo, Magazine, Brochure, Promotion and Identity Design, by Cheryl Dangel Cullen, 2004). I would imagine that more than one year would be expected from commission to appearing on a new plane or timetable.
 
FlyBlue777
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RE: United Tulip History

Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:17 pm

Why would they debut their image on a 14 year-old DC-8? Granted, a great and classic airliner, but why not on the newer DC-10, or 747??

I'm sure there was a reason for this. Maybe this -8 was a historic craft in their history??

I wonder if the Turkish DC-10 crash had anything to do with them not debuting the logo on the -10.
 
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JBo
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RE: United Tulip History

Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:18 am

Quoting FlyBlue777 (Reply 14):
Why would they debut their image on a 14 year-old DC-8? Granted, a great and classic airliner, but why not on the newer DC-10, or 747??

I'm sure there was a reason for this. Maybe this -8 was a historic craft in their history??

United was one of the Launch Customers for the DC-8 and was the world's largest operator of the type. You could argue that the DC-8 was United's flagship of the time, despite the DC-10 and 747 being larger aircraft.
I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
 
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American 767
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RE: United Tulip History

Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:59 am

Quoting JBo (Reply 15):
United was one of the Launch Customers for the DC-8 and was the world's largest operator of the type.

Same with the 727. United was one of the launch customers, with Eastern, for the 727 and was at some point the world's largest operator of the type with as many as 180 727s in its fleet.

Quoting JBo (Reply 15):
You could argue that the DC-8 was United's flagship of the time,

Then I can argue that the 727 was also United's flagship, if the DC-8 was. You could argue that I am comparing apples and oranges because the DC-8 is a long haul plane and the 727 is not, but keep in mind that with the exception of Hawaii flights out of LAX and SFO United never flew over water flights on the DC-8, they flew the 8 mostly on short and medium haul routes within the continental United States and maybe Alaska.

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WA707atMSP
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RE: United Tulip History

Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:14 pm

Quoting FlyBlue777 (Reply 14):
Why would they debut their image on a 14 year-old DC-8? Granted, a great and classic airliner, but why not on the newer DC-10, or 747??

In the past, before computer graphics became more advanced, airlines had to test new paint schemes on an aircraft to see how they really looked. If the airline was unhappy with a proposed new scheme, they would paint the test aircraft back in the old scheme and start over, or revise the scheme on the test aircraft. This meant an aircraft would be out of service for a while.

For example, the first aircraft to wear Braniff's 1960s "jellybean" scheme was a DC-6, not a jet.

If United had to take an aircraft out of service to test the new scheme, which aircraft would they take out of service: a non-fan DC-8, or a brand new 747 / DC-10?

My guess is that once United was happy with the scheme as it appeared on the DC-8, they chose to unveil the scheme on it, rather than take a 747 or DC-10 out of service for repainting for a couple of days during the peak summer travel season just to debut the new scheme on their "flagship".

[Edited 2013-01-28 07:59:54]
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brilondon
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RE: United Tulip History

Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:40 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):
Then there are the meatball logos: take the Continental meatball and squeeze the lines together and there's the Minolta logo. Take that and add more lines and it's AT&T. Or turn the Continental logo ninety degrees, make it blue and just like that you have Rockwell International.

I think that the current UA logo, is a rip off of Pan Am's globe and that is where the style came from.
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rampart
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RE: United Tulip History

Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:09 pm

Quoting brilondon (Reply 18):
I think that the current UA logo, is a rip off of Pan Am's globe and that is where the style came from.

I think there are limited ways to make a globe logo that uses a latitude/longitude graticule, and one could argue they are all similar in some respect. If anything, the newer CO (now UA) logo is close to the ATT logo, less to to Pan Am. Same with bird logos, particularly cranes, hard to make something look really different.

-Rampart
 
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airzim
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RE: United Tulip History

Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:57 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):
Then there are the meatball logos: take the Continental meatball and squeeze the lines together

I believe the CO meatball was supposed to represent contrails.
 
FWAERJ
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RE: United Tulip History

Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:24 pm

Quoting airzim (Reply 20):
I believe the CO meatball was supposed to represent contrails.

IIRC, the CO meatball was simply meant to represent "wide reach and motion" and not contrails in particular.
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Viscount724
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RE: United Tulip History

Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:36 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 17):
For example, the first aircraft to wear Braniff's 1960s "jellybean" scheme was a DC-6, not a jet.

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that the use of the DC-6 was because they were experimenting with various liveries and presumably didn't want to have to take a jet out of service for that purpose.
 
maxpower1954
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RE: United Tulip History

Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:20 am

Quoting american 767 (Reply 16):
Then I can argue that the 727 was also United's flagship, if the DC-8 was. You could argue that I am comparing apples and oranges because the DC-8 is a long haul plane and the 727 is not, but keep in mind that with the exception of Hawaii flights out of LAX and SFO United never flew over water flights on the DC-8, they flew the 8 mostly on short and medium haul routes within the continental United States and maybe Alaska.

In 1974, don't forget the ONLY international route United Airlines flew was to Vancouver! The DC-8 flew many transcon and near transcon routes and also JFK-HNL. Not to mention trans-Pacific military airlift contracts (Okay, so you couldn't buy a ticket...) Quite a bit of medium range routes like ORD-DEN but very few short haul - that's what the 737-200 was for.

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