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Logo Lounge 8 Hardcover – June 26, 2014
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Fiji Airways Identity Design FutureBrand, Melbourne, Australia
Although the airline Fiji Airways became Air Pacific in 1970 to reflect its expanded regional presence, during the decades since, the new name became less relevant as other countries in the Pacific established their own airlines. The company wanted to return to its roots in both name and brand identity to align itself more closely with its Fijian heritage and better promote the destination in emerging markets. Fiji Airways approached FutureBrand Australia to craft its identity. “We searched for a new visual language and story for Fiji Airways that would challenge the convention for airline identities and one that would be distinctive and authentically Fijian,” says design director Sally Anderson. The FutureBrand team saw the prevalence of traditional Masi art throughout the islands of Fiji and concluded that it would be the perfect visual language for the national airline. Collaborating closely with the Fiji Airways marketing team, Future- Brand partnered with locally renowned Masi artist Makereta Matemosi to craft a traditional Fijian Masi and a suite of motifs based on the airline’s vision and values. Matemosi first created five concepts for the symbol at the center of the Masi with pen on paper, each with a distinct meaning. The team selected the Teteva design for the logo icon because it represented the interconnection between people and place.
The symbol was then simplified as much as possible while retaining those aspects, such as the four crosses and the central diamond and petals, that transmitted the original meaning—the negative space carrying just as much importance as the positive. The team collaborated with Matemosi to realize fifteen different Masi motifs in addition to the centerpiece. “The aim of the motifs was to embed the visual language of Masi into the airline identity,” Anderson explains. “It was vital, however, to understand their meanings to ensure they were used appropriately and sensitively, rather than as decoration. ” The geometric nature of Masi artwork inspired the word mark. Typographer Kris Sowersby expanded upon the high-contrast look to craft a communications typeface that complements the logo, with a hand-cut style, distinctive linear strokes, and characters recalling the central diamond shape. The airline named the typeface Bula, which means “hello” in Fijian. The FutureBrand team also influenced the cabin experience, from customizing the trim and finish of the seats and cabin walls to the comfort items in business class. Fiji Airways officially relaunched in June 2013 to great acclaim worldwide.
About the Author
Bill Gardner is president of Gardner Design in Wichita, Kansas, and has produced work for Cessna, Thermos, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Kroger, Hallmark, Cargill Corporation, and the 2004 Athens Olympics. His work has been featured in Communication Arts, Print, Identity, Graphis, New York Art Directors, the Museum of Modern Art, and many other national and international design exhibitions. He is the founder of LogoLounge.com and the author of LogoLounge 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, the LogoLounge Master Library series, the annual LogoLounge Logo Trend Report, and Logo Creed.Anne Hellman is a freelance writer and editor. She is the co-author of LogoLounge 7 and the author of Design Brooklyn(Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, 2013). She writes the blog Design Brooklyn with photographer Michel Arnaud. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.