South African Airways relaunched this week in a bid to reposition itself as “embodying the magic of free South Africa”. The new identity was designed by Diefenbach Elkins in New York and implemented by small Johannesburg group Design Unit.
The airline’s initials have been dropped for a marque focusing on the nation. “By highlighting the words ‘South African’, we build brand recognition and promote our country,” says a spokesman for the airline.
Diefenbach Elkins presented four designs and it was the identity inspired by the new flag which proved to be the best. “This is the first brand representation of the new country which uses the new flag,” says vice-president of Diefenbach Elkins, Angelika Preston. “The strategy has to be about bringing people to South Africa.”
Diefenbach Elkins teamed up with local ad agency Herdbuoys to win the project against KSDP Pentagraph of South Africa, Landor and Davies Baron (DW 15 December 1995). Herdbuoys created some of the launch material.
The new logo will appear on planes, signage and literature. Lounges, aircraft interiors and uniforms were revamped three years ago and will not be changed.