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FWAERJ
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:50 pm

I was thinking about the various fonts that have been used in airline ads. A few spring to mind:

-AA has used Helvetica since their 1968 rebranding, though ITC Garamond was also used by AA for much of the 1980s and 1990s.
-BA has a custom font called Mylius, designed at the same time as the 1997 rebranding of BA.
-Pre-merger CO used Helvetica, but in compressed form as opposed to the version that AA uses.
-DL currently uses Whitney, originally commissioned for the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC. (Notably, DL is also a Whitney Museum corporate partner.)
-EA commissioned the now-common font Souvenir in 1970 for an ad campaign.
-SK uses a mix of Rotis Sans Serif (aircraft livery) and their custom Scandinavian font (everything else).
-UA used Helvetica prior to the UA/CO merger, but is now using FF Clan as their post-merger standard font.

Any other notable ones? I know that EK uses a custom font, but I don't know what it's called.
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FlyCaledonian
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:02 pm

BA used a font called Optima I believe as part of the Landor corporate image.

Also, if I recall, Cathay Pacific's font is a custom designed one called Arrow.
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LOWS
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:29 pm

OS has their logo in Times or Times New Roman, I think. Pretty boring. LH uses Helvetica extensively.
 
av8orwalk
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:39 pm

WN uses Arial Black (uses kerning to "smoosh" the characters closer together).

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EricR
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:48 pm

Let's not forget the short lived McClain Airlines that used a cursive font.

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DesertFlyer
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:04 pm

What is the variant of Helvetica that LH uses? It's a personal favorite.
 
VC10er
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:15 pm

Quoting FlyCaledonian (Reply 1):

The Landor livery for BA was a custom face that was hand drawn. We would rather DIE before ever using Optima!!! yuck.

Cathay is the same. FedEx, the same.

We could use a base font to start from, but for the main "wordmark" we would create something totally custom for an Airline. Sometimes, depending on the symbol or icon created we may choose a standard font like bp (the petrolieum company) where the sun flower "Helos" mark was the star of the show, not the wordmark.

Often we will create the entire alphabet for them that can be typed out in illustrator etc, but more often we will include a secondary font for all other printed matter.other branding and design agencies would do the same.

All that said both American Airlines and Southwest are straight Helvetica. And I am not convinced that Pentagram used Helvetica for their United (shades of blue) livery. Whatever it is, it is very similar but they angled the top of the T to match the angle of the U symbol (which is not a tulip) and was one of the most iconic symbols ever created in the world. But that's been beaten to death.

I will try and figure out the Pentagram font for United.
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LoneStarMike
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:26 pm

In the mid-1960's through the mid 1970's, Braniff used a font designed by Alexander Girard called

Girard Sky

House Industries began selling the font in 2009.



LoneStarMike
 
Airport
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:32 pm

Most major airlines have custom designed typefaces used for logos and branding. AS comes to mind, for example. The new UA/CO identity has a custom-designed typeface, but yes, it is very similar to FF Clan, as FWAERJ mentions. Helvetica is probably the most frequently used airline typeface out there, being very extensively used especially in the 1970s and 1980s by a wide host of airlines around the world. Here are some others that come to mind:

-Pre-merger CO used a modified Perpetua for the logo typeface.
-F9 uses Franklin Gothic of various weights
-AS/QX use Scala Pro (and Scala Sans) for advertising
-I think, but am not certain AF used to use Olive Nord for their old logo

While I'm personally not a huge fan of the DL livery and branding, I do think their use of Whitney is very lovely.

Quoting LOWS (Reply 2):
OS has their logo in Times or Times New Roman

It is a serif typeface, but it is not Times New Roman.

Quoting av8orwalk (Reply 3):
WN uses Arial Black (uses kerning to "smoosh" the characters closer together).

WN uses Helvetica, not Arial Black. A lot of people confuse the two. You might see Arial in quick and less formal signage, but Helvetica is the typeface used. I have noticed they've been using Gotham, another popular sans serif font, recently in some of their advertising.

Here's some more info about Arial: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arial
 
rampart
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:49 pm

Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 7):
In the mid-1960's through the mid 1970's, Braniff used a font designed by Alexander Girard called

Girard Sky

House Industries began selling the font in 2009.

Man, the 60's were so sophisticated with design. Maybe other eras were, too, but what came out of the 60s seems so well thought out. I think I want my business cards printed in Girard Sky.  

-Rampart
 
FWAERJ
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:07 pm

Quoting Airport (Reply 8):
The new UA/CO identity has a custom-designed typeface, but yes, it is very similar to FF Clan, as FWAERJ mentions.

The custom typeface is used for the UA logo, and for divisions like United Express, United Cargo, and United Services. FF Clan is used by UA to supplement the custom font for ad headlines/copy, airport signage, subbrands (like MileagePlus, United Club, and United Vacations), and Hemispheres magazine.

[Edited 2012-02-13 11:10:28]
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BOACCunard
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:59 am

I think UA's last pre-merger font was Helvetica or Helvetica Neue. Obviously the version in the logotype was modified, or at least the "T" was.

The new UA logotype font looks like it might be some variant of Gotham.
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burnsie28
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:38 pm

Delta currently uses a few variants of Whitney, originally designed for the Whitney museum, which no longer uses it.

Northwest's last branding used Frutiger.
 
Akiestar
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:53 pm

PR uses Helvetica, although Arial is frequently used when Helvetica isn't available.
 
AirframeAS
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:53 pm

I'm still trying to figure out the font F9 uses. I know it is NOT billboard as the letter "R" does not match at all between the font you find on your computer vs. what is on the side of the airplane. The letter R is hard to match!
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VC10DC10
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Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:37 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 6):
We would rather DIE before ever using Optima!!! yuck.

What's so bad about Optima? It seems very popular, to say the least.

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 12):

Northwest's last branding used Frutiger.

That's really interesting -- thanks!

What font does the new Air France logo use -- a custom job?
 
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flashmeister
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RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:52 pm

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 14):

I'm still trying to figure out the font F9 uses. I know it is NOT billboard as the letter "R" does not match at all between the font you find on your computer vs. what is on the side of the airplane. The letter R is hard to match!

As mentioned earlier, it's Franklin Gothic. Comes in a bunch of different weights. Frontier doesn't used the compressed version, from what I've seen anyway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Gothic
 
SEA
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RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:18 am

Quoting DesertFlyer (Reply 5):
What is the variant of Helvetica that LH uses? It's a personal favorite.

LH simply uses bold/semibold/or medium versions of Helvetica.

Quoting VC10DC10 (Reply 15):
What font does the new Air France logo use -- a custom job?

Air France is a custom job, but it's based upon Adrianna Extended.
 
ghifty
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RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:38 am

I don't know how far back you're looking but:
- I think Air NZ's agency uses Georgia, bold-italic, for much of their signage across lounges, etc.
- VS's old font seems to have been Times New Roman, or something to that accord.
- Frontier's rebranded livery uses Helvetica
- Swiss International's current font is a modification of Univers
- Swissair used to to use Future
- United, in the Saul Bass, aka Sunset Livery, era, used Handel Gothic (slight modifications)
- Southwest, you can tell it's Helvetica from a mile a way
- Alaska's typeface is a custom job
- USAir used Times New Roman, I think...

*Most of the typefaces airlines use are very slightly modified versions of "mainstream" fonts. They're often copyrighted, and only used by that particular airline.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 14):

I'm still trying to figure out the font F9 uses. I know it is NOT billboard as the letter "R" does not match at all between the font you find on your computer vs. what is on the side of the airplane. The letter R is hard to match!

I'm pretty sure it's Helvetica with a few modified characters.

Quoting akiestar (Reply 13):
Arial is frequently used when Helvetica isn't available.

Oh goodness!!

Quoting BOACCunard (Reply 11):

I think UA's last pre-merger font was Helvetica or Helvetica Neue. Obviously the version in the logotype was modified, or at least the "T" was.

I'm pretty sure it is not any of the Helveticas. I have the exact font saved on my computer.. somewhere.
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AirframeAS
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RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:24 am

Quoting flashmeister (Reply 16):
As mentioned earlier, it's Franklin Gothic.

Oh, yes. I totally missed that. My apologies.

Quoting Airport (Reply 8):
-F9 uses Franklin Gothic of various weights

Thanks. Sorry about that.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
BOACCunard
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RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:21 am

Quoting ghifty (Reply 18):
- I think Air NZ's agency uses Georgia, bold-italic, for much of their signage across lounges, etc.

Ugh. Georgia is a nice font... For a web site. Totally inappropriate for this application.

I feel the same way about Verdana, which is now used widely by KLM, after many years of using Helvetica.

Quoting ghifty (Reply 18):
- VS's old font seems to have been Times New Roman, or something to that accord.

I don't know what it was but it wasn't Times New Roman or anything similar, assuming you are referring to the font of the "Virgin Atlantic" logotype/titles from the 1990s.

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Quoting ghifty (Reply 18):
- Frontier's rebranded livery uses Helvetica

That one is definitely Franklin Gothic, as mentioned in several other posts.

Quoting ghifty (Reply 18):
I'm pretty sure it is not any of the Helveticas. I have the exact font saved on my computer.. somewhere.

Definitely Helvetica, as confirmed here.
Getting There is Half the Fun!
 
Akiestar
Posts: 970
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 6:51 am

RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:01 pm

Quoting ghifty (Reply 18):
Oh goodness!!

I know, right? Travel agencies are the most egregious with this.   
 
swabrian
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 3:36 pm

RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:22 pm

Quoting Airport (Reply 8):
Quoting av8orwalk (Reply 3):
WN uses Arial Black (uses kerning to "smoosh" the characters closer together).

WN uses Helvetica, not Arial Black. A lot of people confuse the two. You might see Arial in quick and less formal signage, but Helvetica is the typeface used. I have noticed they've been using Gotham, another popular sans serif font, recently in some of their advertising.

Okay here's the offical word from the Southwest Design Team. I shared the thread with them, and here is what they asked me to post:

"Our logo uses Helvetica but our current messaging uses primarily Interstate with hints of the Gotham family."
 
burnsie28
Posts: 5280
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:49 am

RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:31 pm

Quoting SEA (Reply 17):

Air France is a custom job, but it's based upon Adrianna Extended.

Air France current usage is Helvetica Neue and Helvetica Neue Extended.

Quoting BOACCunard (Reply 20):
I feel the same way about Verdana, which is now used widely by KLM, after many years of using Helvetica.

Actually KLM uses Noa as their primary and Foundry Gridnik as secondary. Verdana is only used in web/digital applications such as Microsoft Office documents.
 
Alitalia744
Posts: 3800
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2000 8:22 am

RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:44 pm

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 23):
Air France current usage is Helvetica Neue and Helvetica Neue Extended.

In marketing materials and corporate applications yes. Their logotype however is NOT Helvetica.
Some see lines, others see between the lines.
 
speedmarque
Posts: 310
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:37 pm

RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:00 pm

The VS 'silver dream' livery font was called 'Eurostile'
 
Airport
Posts: 545
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:52 pm

RE: Fonts Used By Airlines Over The Years

Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:42 pm

Quoting VC10er (Reply 6):
And I am not convinced that Pentagram used Helvetica for their United (shades of blue) livery. Whatever it is, it is very similar but they angled the top of the T to match the angle of the U symbol (which is not a tulip) and was one of the most iconic symbols ever created in the world.

And if you look at the "R" in the "Express" logo, it is distinctly different than Helvetica's "R." They might just be custom, minor changes to Helvetica, but it does make me wonder.

http://www.pickafont.com/images/font...h/Helvetica_Black_SemiBold.ttf.png

Quoting swabrian (Reply 22):
Okay here's the offical word from the Southwest Design Team. I shared the thread with them, and here is what they asked me to post:

"Our logo uses Helvetica but our current messaging uses primarily Interstate with hints of the Gotham family."

Awesome, thanks for the response, Brian!  

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