It was the last of the Great 1970s Airline Liveries — dating back to 1967 and crafted by the masters at Landor:
“In 1967 the national airline of Italy-a country celebrated for its fine designers-selected Walter Landor of San Francisco to create a new identity system for its aircraft. Although Alitalia was an international carrier, Landor’s interviews revealed that air travelers thought of it as a small domestic line. Alitalia’s image also needed to be modernized. The graphics had to be adaptable to a complex variety of aircraft, such as 747s and DC-10s, as well as flight uniforms, plane interiors, ticket counters, and printed materials. Landor’s aggressively visible design emphasized the vibrant spirit of the Italian people. The logo is “very classical. Fortunately, it had a vertical stabilizer that was the A in Alitalia…. It’s still [as] good today as it was then.” “
Alitalia’s 1967 livery, bold and colour-blocked, was the first Landor venture into the field of airline design, and since then there is nobody that does a better job at imprinting art into jet metal — from the (previous) Iberia colours through British Airways’ 1980’s scheme up until the months-old New Etihad design (and many, many more).
So when Alitalia’s new Abu Dhabi overlords announced that a rebranding was to be unveiled today, they had some pretty big shoes to fill. And filled them they have —
— with tofu.
I mean, it’s not bad. It retains the logo, the colour scheme, the font, it adds some 3D effects on the tail fin, a bit of pearlescent eggshell off-white at the front. It’s clean and light.
But it’s kinda boring. Italy is never boring. Alitalia has never been boring either, in fact it has been quite a bundle of thrills — constant strikes, bankruptcy warnings, mass baggage theft, the occasional crash landing. Flying Alitalia has been, up until now at least, a bit of a ride.
Alright, so I get the need to water it all down, to take the blocky coloured plane and soak it in milk. Not a break with the past, like Iberia did, but more of a — what’s the word? Restyling. They are a nice airline now. They won’t leave you stranded in Tirana and steal your hair straightener.
Which is a good thing. I guess.