Olive Lai
Chinese graphic designer based in London, UK

Blog

My notes on design

Why Type Matters in Branding

Monotype and Typo's Marketing Director Jürgen Siebert gave a talk about type in Branding at Typo Brand Day 2018 London:

In a brand identity system, frequently seen elements are colour, form/shape, key visuals and typography. If you take out the type, the other elements can become ambiguous and unrecognisable. Jürgen stresses that typography, is the only element which has unlimited range. It can be customised, carries information, it's recurring in customer touch points and it's the only true visual constant of the brand.

Jürgen gave a great example using the bike manufacturer Canyon. Canyon's italic headline typeface is unique, it's designed to fit into the narrow space of a bike's down tube. It's so iconic that it can be instantly recognised even if you replace the logo type with a blackout bar of the same italic angle.

 Image source: Canyon UK site

Image source: Canyon UK site

 Image source: Canyon UK site landing page

Image source: Canyon UK site landing page

Another note from Jürgen's talk - Lufthansa just refreshed its branding. The iconic yellow crane logo becomes white on blue.

 Image source: DEZEEN

Image source: DEZEEN

So that's... different. No more yellow, but Helvetica remains.

The Lufthansa yellow crane logo was designed by Otto Aicher. He redrew the crane logo originally created by German architect and designer Otto Firle, and introduced the use of lowercase Helvetica Bold as the airline's brand typeface. It's widely regarded as one of the greatest and most iconic brand identities.

The latest redesign received a scathing response from airline livery enthusiasts. “Lufthansa now joins LATAM, Iberia, Avianca (and more) in this ubiquitous Eurowhite, bland, pointless design pattern” tweeted Enrique Perrella, publisher and editor in chief of Airways magazine.
— Dezeen: Lufthansa attacked for "bland and pointless" redesign of its classic logo

There are many reasons for a rebrand. In Lufthansa and the recent F1's cases, it could be due to a change of top level management and the the need to reflect the change of operational direction and brand strategy. I personally like the 'fried-egg' Lufthansa yellow, I think it was a unique choice for airline branding, it was also memorable. We shall wait and see how the refreshed Lufthansa identity evolves in the future.