Air travel was reserved for the highest echelons, and foreign dignitaries, film stars, rock stars and royalty comprised the Jet Set.
Part of the insignia of those celebrities was the logos of the airlines they flew with in – Pan Am may have been the largest but in the UK BOAC and BEA were ones that regularly featured here in the UK
The BEA logo was bold and minimalist, a modern no nonsense angular presentation that perhaps sought to convey a young, confident and optimistic organisation riding the crest of the “white heat of technology” that had carried over from Britains swinging sixties.
By comparison the dark blue on white livery of B.O,A,C was restrained. However, it did sport the Speedbird logo.
Sometimes in gold, but more often in cyan, this “”futuristic” emblem dates back to the 1930’s and is credited to Theyre Lee-Elliott and Imperial Airlines, it was emblazoned upon VC10’s and Tridents and on the one craft that could truly claim the Speedbird moniker as it own – Concorde
That rarified air was an aspiration, as was the promise of flying even higher that the atmosphere – the future included space stations, moon bases and interplanetary travel – in 1970 the UK still had a satellite space programme, so it was not unrealistic for a young british boy to dream of becoming an astronaut.
Growing up whilst the Apollo Moon landings were in full effect meant that exposure to the NASA insignia was inevitable – despite what modern cynics might have you believe the Space Programme was big news, and an adventure that still inspires.
The emblems mentioned above had to convey the confidence, the determination and the optimism of institutions they represented in an environment that did not possess the instant dissemination of data that we enjoy today.
They had to have impact and longevity, and could not rely on technology to adapt and evolve to the mercurial whims of their audience.
None of these logos were in my mind when I set about creating the design, and in fact the only design element that was fixed was to have a stylised “K” on a circle.
One Logo that I haven’t mentioned in the genesis of the design is the K-Tel emblem. Although it didn’t factor in the finished design it did play a part in the positioning of the “K”
It may also have been the catalyst that sparked the connection with the Pan-Am logo and the subsequent associations with the BOAC Speedwing
(By the way, In case you haven’t noticed the K is two “Koalawings” joined together.)
One last thing – rotate that coloured draft 90 degrees anti- clockwise. Be honest, that design wouldn’t look out of place on Dr McCoy’s tunic now would it? Who says I’m not a geek!
These connections have been made possible, either consciously or subconsciously, because my experience has equipped my memory with a vocabulary of associations that I can draw upon. I don’t pretend to be an expert in the field, but i would hazard a guess that , like technology, good design will outlast flashy gimmickry.
- 111. The platform tiles at Hatton Cross (150greatthingsabouttheunderground.com)