Voxpop

British Airways has decided to kill off the much publicised world imagery identity created by Newell and Sorrell. What has the design industry learnt from the exercise, given that it was one of the most prominent ‘big idea’ identities?

‘BA’s “Britishness”, and ours too, overwhelmed the generous idea behind its new identity. The “Senior Service” aesthetic, its gold braid and the tinge of disdain in BA’s politeness remains more British Airways than celebrating the richness of the variety of our world’s cultures. BA looked a gift horse in the mouth and threw up. The lesson? Never underestimate the power of convention and the stealth of mediocrity.’

MICHAEL WOLFF, FOUNDING PARTNER, THE FOURTH ROOM

‘I would like to think that the industry has learnt that a “big idea” has to encompass more than a series of “international” patterns that appear on tailfins, ticket wallets and menus. For a big idea such as this to be successful, BA would need to live and breathe world values – something that is probably not possible within the persona of a national carrier with British in its name. A big idea has to be founded on something that is true to the organisation in the first place.’

PAUL SMITH, SENIOR DESIGNER, WOLFF OLINS

‘The world imagery concept for British Airways was indeed a fine idea. However, it seemed that some of the applications of the concept lacked measure and control, but more importantly, lacked a convincing explanation and reason for the average passenger to embrace the concept. The further step of now reducing the design concept to one of its least successful executions is more puzzling still. The learning is that a secure base in strategy for design is more important to a successful outcome than design alone.’

RICHARD FORD, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, LANDOR ASSOCIATES

‘Two lessons can be learnt. First, when dealing with brands of substance – especially national brands – think carefully before embarking on radical change. Often evolutionary design is the most effective, even if creatively less exciting. And, second, don’t forget the basics in the pursuit of making a unique design statement. You simply don’t build long-term brands around fragmented images – however visually arresting.’

DAVID ROWSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR, LUXON CARRà

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