Virgin Atlantic’s new identity and livery


We’ve just returned from the official launch of a project we’ve been working on since the beginning of last year: a new livery and identity for Virgin Atlantic.
johnson banks were appointed early 2009 to help advise on the airline’s brand, in conjunction with a strategic project on the positioning and values undertaken by Circus. Originally the project concentrated on finding a new and clearer design style for its internal and external communications, then gradually broadened out to include livery and identity. Both verbally and visually, the airline wanted to return to a more confident and pioneering approach, so we were tasked with reflecting this in the design.
As the design work began, several key issues emerged.

Firstly, some early livery designs that used the full name ‘virgin atlantic’ very large on the fuselage were very well received – a clear indication that the company wanted to return to calling itself by its full name. Secondly, there were logistical issues with the previous logo and symbol that made use of it problematic. Thirdly, the overall house style that had been in place for over a decade needed a typographic refresh and more consistency, so it could be applied from a myriad applications, from airport banners and bag drop signs, to tiny applications on iPhones and aggregator sites.


So the last 12 months have been spent developing and refining, with Virgin Atlantic’s in-house team, solutions to these key issues – trying hard to retain the essential elements of Virgin Atlantic’s first 25 years and refining them for the future.

The new livery, unveiled today, uses a lighter metallic grey than previously and features a new, thinner and more elegant typestyle for the airline written in purple at a massive scale along the fuselage. The tail has a simplified Virgin script logo within a newly specified highly metallic deep red fin.



The logo itself now reflects the plane – the ‘virgin atlantic’ type being the fuselage, the script logo, the fin of the plane.


The fin symbol itself was the subject of countless design proposals, amendments and discussions – the eventual winner has a much more simplified and elegant form than its predecessor and is placed at the end of the logotype in either the one-line or stacked form.


These design principles will be carried across into all applications, including new identities for the airlines key ‘classes’ (Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy) as well as all other names and sub brands such as The Clubhouse and Flying Co, etc.



From this point onwards all of the airlines printed and electronic collateral will gradually come in line with the new direction, picking up newly refined colours, typography and art direction styles, and within 2 years 50% percent of the fleet will have been repainted or supplied in the new livery (a delivery of new Airbus A330-300’s will arrive next year).

Here it is on a newly repainted 747. Sorry about the Manchester puddles.


We’ll post more images of how the project progresses and new applications soon.

Just for reference, this is the previous identity.