BRITISH AIRWAYS, LONDON, UK
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2-4: Art by the Swedish artist Mrs. Ulrika Hydman-Wallien.
Copyright art and photos © British Airways.
We present here articles from the publication "British Airways News", June 10, 1997
WHY ARE WE CHANGING OUR IDENTITY
'We need a corporate identity that will enable us to become not just a UK carrier, but a global airline that is based in Britain'
TODAY we are revealing our new corporate identity to the world.
It goes much deeper than the paint on the aircraft or the ink on our publications. It is the physical manifestation of a fundamental review of our Mission, our Values and our Corporate Goals.
We have set ourselves an ambitious course and an exciting one. And as usual, we will be exploring uncharted territory. British Airways has always been the pioneer, the innovator of the world travel industry. Together with our partners around the world, we are breaking new ground again today.
Why are we changing? For a number of reasons.
It is not just that the world is getting smaller, which it is. It is not just that technology is changing the way people communicate, though that has something to do with it.
It's not just that the red tape restricting what airlines can do is easing, although we want to be ready to take advantage of this for the benefit of our customers. And it's not just that the competition is getting tougher, which certainly has a part to play.
What really has changed is the expectations of our customers.
British Airways has been at the forefront of all of these changes. But we cannot afford to stand still. We have to maintain our lead through even greater innovation, so we offer outstanding products and a quality of service that people will alter their travel plans to enjoy.
Like every successful company, we need to grow and increase shareholder value. We cannot do this and cannot prosper as a company if we restrict ourselves to taking people to and from the UK.
Our existing livery has served us well. It helped transform our company in preparation for privatisation. Now all of our research is telling us we must change again, to prepare for the exciting new era the new millennium will bring.
We need a corporate identity that will enable us to become not just a UK carrier, but a global airline that is based in Britain.
British Airways remains proudly British, but perhaps we need to lose some of our old-fashioned Britishness and take on board some of the new British traits, Abroad, people see this country as friendly, diverse and open to other cultures. We must better reflect that.
During the next three years we will be rolling out an investment programme worth some £6 billion on new aircraft, new services, products, schedules, network partners new technologies, new buildings and other facilities. This, and our new identity, is also an investment in jobs and training. A successful British Airways, competing effectively with the best in the world, is the only way to guarantee jobs.
The identity we unveil publicly today is that of a global, caring company, more modern, more open, more cosmopolitan, but proud to be based in Britain.
It is a statement of intent for the new millennium, a new banner for our employees and our business partners and, most importantly, a signal to travellers around the world that we want to be their own favourite airline.
Bob Ayling, British Airways Chief Executive
ART GALLERY ON THE WING
BY TURNING its fleet into a flying gallery with its revolutionary new identity, British Airways has awarded one of the worlds largest art corporate commissions ever.
The airline is literally "painting the skies" with world images that form a central part of its new identity, painted on the tails of its 308 aircraft and scores of thousands of items bearing its name.
These will be married with a brighter and lighter corporate palette of red, white and blue, drawn more closely from the British Union Flag than its present colours, and reflecting the airline's British heritage and building on its national strengths.
The name "British Airways" will be printed in a new softer, rounder typeface, and a new three-dimensional Speedmarque has evolved from the flat red Speedwing symbol along the aircraft fuselage.
The aim is to portray British Airways as a community of people passionately committed to serving the communities of the world, proud of its "Britishness" but responsive to change - confident, open, friendly, modern and cosmopolitan.
London-based design consultancy Newell and Sorrell combed the world, seeking out the ethnic and the indigenous, the famous and the obscure, to transform British Airways' image as it flies into the next century.
The commission to create a new global personality followed extensive research which showed the airline needed to be more modern, dynamic and responsive to the differing cultural needs of its 38 million customers a year, more than 60 per cent of whom originate from outside Britain.
The new identity will also reflect the company's sweeping corporate and cultural change in preparation for the challenges of the new millennium, and will establish British Airways as a world brand capable of extending into new business areas.
Newell and Sorrell's research team started with a blank canvas. They sought help from galleries, cultural attaches, embassies and art experts in each country, often using interpreters. They went to painters, ceramists, potters, weavers, paper-cut artists, quilt-makers, calligraphers, flag-makers and sculptors.
They travelled the globe from Chatham Dockyards in Kent, England, to a remote community in the dense forests on Vancouver Island's west coast, from Botswana's Kalahari desert to the Scottish Highlands, from a covered suq in Old Cairo to a Polish suburb. They visited the unknown and the established to create the world's biggest gallery in the sky.
Fifteen world images, with a further three commissioned exclusively for Deutsche BA in Germany, are unveiled today. The intention is to add another 12 world images to the portfolio each year until the millennium, creating a portfolio of about 50 images by the year 2000.
Chris Holt, British Airways' Head of Design Management, said: "The richness, colour and diversity that these images represent capture the company's commitment to adopt a more cosmopolitan approach in the years ahead."
The airline has set aside a budget of £2 million for the world images and its new identity. Implementing will be carried out progressively during the next three years to take advantage of cost efficiencies, with aircraft repainted in line with their normal maintenance schedules.
The airline has already saved more than £2 million with an interim livery early this year. This involved painting aircraft scheduled for re-painting in the new basic colour palette of pearl white and warm blue.
Among the world images previewed today are:
+ Union Flag- a stylised version of the British Union Flag, from the Admiral's Original Flag Loft in Chatham's Dockyards in Kent, makers of Admiral Nelson's famous signal flags used at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
+ Ndebele murals in flat panels of bright colours and dynamic geometric patterns normally seen on the houses of the Ndebele tribe of Mpumalanga in eastern South Africa from 50-year-old identical twins Emmly and Martha Masanabo.
+ Nami Tsuru- a symbolic painting of waves and cranes from Kayama Mata,o, one of japan's leading artists.
+ Benyhone- a Scottish tartan called Mountain of Birds from traditional weaver Peter MacDonald adopting ancient Highland techniques, patterns and colours.
+ Sterntaler a Bauhaus inspired geometric ceramic panel from German artist Antie Bruggemann.
+ Koguty Lowickie- a Polish paper cut of a cockerel from Danuta Woida of Lowicz, near Warsaw, who uses sheap shears to create her traditional, intricate and colourful designs.
+ Colum- meaning 'Dove' in Irish. Celtic calligraphy of interlaced patterns on vellum inspired by the famous ninth century Book of Kel Is, by Irish artist Timothy O'Neill. This is used on the masthead of this special British Airways News which is typeset in the new corporate font. Future issues figure other world images.
+ Whale Rider - a painted wood carving with a strong spiritual element from Joe David of the Clayoquot people of Canada's north-west coast. He spends days selecting a single piece of wood and when he lets a work go, he feels he is giving away part of his soul and spirit.
+ Delftblue Daybreak-inspired by traditional motifs of blue and white Delftceramics, created by Hugo Kaagman, who began work asa graffiti artist in Amsterdam's city centre.
+ Rendezvous - a poem about a Chinese tea ceremony from Yip Man-Yam, one of the most respected Chinese calligraphers, whose work combines an innovative modern style with a mastery of the traditional techniques as old as Chinese culture itself.
+ Animals and Trees - oil on canvas showing of creatures and plants from Cqoise, a 47-year-old woman from Botswana's Kalahari Desert Bush People, where animals are valued more than humans and where paintings are the only form of written language.
+ Colour Down the Side- inspired by Cornwall's light and landscape created by one of the UK's most respected artists, Terry Frost.
+ Crossing Borders - a tent panel created by Cairo-born Chant Avedissien incorporating symmetrical patterns of mosques, vases, bees, suns, date palms, jackals and folk images of travel and good luck.
+ Blue Poole - pottery from Sally Tuffin of Poole Pottery, of diving dolphins, using the technique of brush stroke painting on a matt glaze.
+ Floating - a modern abstract in sinuous organic lines from Jenifer Kobylarz of New York, USA.