United Airlines New Logo and Livery Represent a Turning Point for the Carrier

By Jesse Sokolow on 24 April 2019
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Nine years after merging with Continental Airlines and melding its globe logo with the United name – with the result that the merged airline’s logo continued to scream “Continental” – United Airlines introduced an updated logo and livery on Wednesday at a special event at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

The move marks a significant turning point for the airline as it seeks to build a new unified identity. United completed merging its workgroups, such as pilots and flight attendants, just a year ago.

The new logo and livery – which the airline calls an “evolution” from the current logo – do a good job of burying the past: The resultant corporate identity is clearly United’s.



The new logo does feature the inherited globe, albeit with a new and more modern appearance. It will remain prominently on the aircraft’s tail, although the gold has been removed and the logo will emphasize blue tones instead.

“It’s like a breath of fresh air,” said a United Airlines purser who asked to remain anonymous.

On aircraft, the Chicago-based airline will place its name in its new corporate blue in much larger letters across the fuselage. The engines, now grey, will be painted blue as part of the new color scheme as well.

In addition, United is also adding a blue swoosh below the windows, replacing the current gold stripe. The line is similar to the gold line on Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 737-Max aircraft.

United’s visual identity has an interesting history. Early wordmarks for planes’ tails were devised by industrial designer Raymond Loewy. But the logo that everyone has associated with United for over 30 years – the so-called “tulip” logo with its red, white, and blue abstract of the letter U – was designed by the Academy Award-winning graphic designer Saul Bass in 1973.

When the two airlines merged nine years ago, the resultant logo – a compromise combining Continental’s look and feel and United’s name – was met with a lukewarm reaction. While United had the timeless and striking tulip, Continental’s logo was bland. Some referred to it as the “whiffle ball” logo.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)


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