Given that August is the most popular month for vacationing, we thought it would be appropriate to put together this travel-related post. Here’s a detailed list of airline logos for your perusal. We researched hundreds of logos, picked out the best of the best and sorted them into 3 categories: type treatment, bird symbols, and general symbols.
We’ve also included a case study of the evolution of Delta Airlines’ identity. In it’s 80 years of operation, it’s been modified 14 times.
Airline Logos: Bird Concepts
Airline Logos: General Symbols
Airline Logos: Type Treatment
Delta Airlines Case Study
Delta Airlines has gone through identity changes in its 80 year history. We have included a timeline of their evolution from the early 1920s to 2004. It will occur to you that even though Delta has had many changes in its history the identity hasn’t really departed too far from the original. In the majority of the identities the triangle shape, color usage and type treatment are consistent throughout. To help guide you through the evolution we have included a brief history of the American airline.
Delta Air Lines traces its origin to Huff Daland Dusters, which was founded in 1924 in Monroe, Louisiana. In 1928, Huff Daland Dusters was purchased and renamed Delta Air Services after the Mississippi Delta, where its route structure lie. In 1941, Delta moved its headquarters from Monroe to Atlanta, to center itself along its new route network that connected Chicago and New Orleans to Florida and Ohio. On May 1, 1953, Delta merged with Chicago and Southern to expand routes in Midwest and in 1955 Delta incorporated the hub and spoke route system. Delta began DC-8 service in 1959 and Convair CV-880 in 1960. The DC-8′s swept-wing design inspired Delta to come up with a new logo which incorporated a new red, white, and blue triangle logo, the “widget.” By 1970, Delta was an all-jet airline.
In 1970, Delta purchased five Boeing 747s to serve its new long-haul high density routes. However, Delta could not fill the 747′s capacity and sold them a few years later. Shortly thereafter, Delta leased a small number of DC-10s as a stopgap until its order of the new Lockheed L-1011 TriStars could be delivered. Delta purchased Northeast Airlines in 1972 to strengthen its market share in the northeast, also introducing the 727 to Delta’s fleet. In 1973 L-1011 TriStar entered service. In 1982, Delta took delivery of their first 767-200, named the Spirit of Delta, which was paid for by voluntary contributions from employees, retirees and Delta’s community partners. The effort, called Project 767, was spearheaded by three Delta flight attendants to show the employees’ appreciation to Delta for solid management and strong leadership during the first years following airline deregulation. The airplane remained the flagship of the Delta fleet until 2006, and was repainted in a commemorative paint scheme and toured the country to celebrate the airline’s 75th anniversary in 2004.
In 1984 the company established its Delta Connection partnership linking regional airlines to Delta hubs. In 1987, Delta merged with Western Airlines of Los Angeles and absorbed its large hubs at Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. In 1990, Delta introduced the MD-11 to its fleet. Delta’s most dramatic expansion came with its purchase of Pan Am’s European routes in 1991, including all north Atlantic routes and the Frankfurt, Germany hub, shortly before Pan Am declared bankruptcy. The purchase also included a small number of A310s that were retired after a few years. Delta also acquired Pan Am’s northeastern shuttle, taking delivery of a number of Boeing 727s, later replaced by 737-800s. This later became Delta Shuttle.By 1997 Delta began large expansions into Latin America and in 1999 introduced the Boeing 777 into its fleet, greatly increasing possibilities to longer non-stop services. 2000 saw the creation of SkyTeam, a global alliance initially partnering Delta with AeroMéxico, Air France and Korean Air. In an effort to further simplify its fleet, Delta began to retire its trijets in favor of twinjets, replacing the L-1011 with the Boeing 767-400 in 2001 and 727′s with 737-800′s in 2003. Song began service on April 15, 2003 as a low-cost Delta brand. Delta returned Song’s aircraft into the mainline fleet in May 2006, incorporating lessons learned to Delta aircraft. Delta operated its last MD-11 flight on January 1, 2004, from Tokyo to Atlanta and replaced them with 777-200ERs.
In 2004, Delta restructured in an effort to avoid bankruptcy, including job cuts, expansion of Atlanta operations, reducing its Cincinnati operation and closing its Dallas-Fort Worth hub. On August 15, 2005, Delta sold Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines to SkyWest Airlines in an effort to increase cash and avoid bankruptcy. Unfortunately these efforts proved too little and on September 14, 2005, Delta filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the first time in its 76-year history.