The Virgin Atlantic brand has been rated one of the best known British brands. With a recognizable logo design and an almost palpable sense of cool, this company is often a leader when it comes to branding and marketing. However, a recent rebranding move has many logo design experts raising eyebrows and wondering what exactly Virgin Atlantic is trying to say.
The Virgin parent company has a logo that most people will find familiar. In eye catching candy apple red and stark white, this logo design features the company name written in a simple, italicized hand. The underlining and the swoosh-like shape of the letter V give a feeling of movement that is consistent with this technologically savvy brand. The Virgin Atlantic logo formerly used featured the image of the tail of an airplane with the Virgin logo, along with the word ‘atlantic’ written in a lower case, italicized font. This was a plain logo designed to be unobtrusive and to work well both on an airplane and on paper.
However, the new Virgin Atlantic logo is a little more eye catching. The same red airplane tail Virgin logo is featured prominently, but now the wording beside it reads “Virgin Atlantic” for those who didn’t catch the company name from the logo. A few surprising changes: the writing has been un-italicized and made thinner, and the color has been changed from black to purple.
Why are these changes surprising? Because they don’t really seem to match with the Virgin brand. Italic writing gives an impression of movement. Taking away this element is a rather curious development for a company in the transportation industry. Thinner writing gives a less substantial, somewhat weaker image that doesn’t really befit a company that people trust with their lives. While a different font is being used, it retains certain details from the original, such as the way the T’s are crossed. The purple colour is also an interesting choice, as it usually means either royalty, spirituality, or femininity.
A last concern: when the logo is read straight across, it now reads ‘Virgin Atlantic Virgin’, which seems redundant. While the logo design is certainly an attractive and modern choice, we have to wonder if it could have been better designed to send a more appropriate message to those who view it. The logo design change is difficult to decipher because the new elements seem to have been chosen randomly, rather than given the thought and planning that a logo professional would dedicate to the task.
This logo has a few advantages. Concerns aside, it looks good on an airplane and will also look fine in a small scale, such as on an iPhone app. Red and purple may be interesting choices based on the meaning of the colours, but they are eye catching and will provide a palette for the brand. Further, while Virgin has changed their appearance, they still look like a fun brand, an airline that people will want to fly on. That is one brand characteristic that the company can’t afford to lose!