American Airlines

American Airlines has a small, but significant branding problem: the polished aluminum that makes up the base of the current livery cannot exist on the 787 which uses composite materials for most of its construction. In addition, because of recent mergers and acquisitions, the importance of having a strong, memorable brand is increasing for American, who hasn’t changed their logo and livery since the late 1960s.

American, however, has one of the most iconic logos in the airline industry, the one that employees refer to as the “scissors eagle” logo.

Current American Airlines logo


I wanted to see if I could create an effective evolution of the current brand. I wanted a bold new look for American Airlines, one that looks classy, distinguished, and ultra-modern with highly geometric, sharp angles and a metallic feel that creates a sense of strength and security.

I evolved the Scissor Eagle logo to a more abstract form. The new “Eagle” is not just an abstract eagle, but also an abstract representation of the American flag. The overall brand beyond the livery would take heavy influence from timeless Art Deco, Gothic and neo-Art Deco design which symbolizes American strength, freedom, and an overall classicism that distinguishes the brand from the competition.

New Livery:


  1. Ski
    August 6, 2012 - 7:44 pm ·

    Stunning. The Flag/Eagle design is superb. This would be a perfect yet modern twist. Great job!

  2. Peter
    October 22, 2012 - 4:21 am ·

    Very nice! That eagle, like you say looks like an american flag, but it looks like US Airways’ flag/logo!?

  3. John
    October 24, 2012 - 5:11 pm ·

    It’s interesting, but I honestly hate it.
    I’m not a fan of the white running the length of the belly as illustrated, it just looks out of place. With all of the surfaces being painted, I think that the cabin will be harder to cool if it’s anything other than white.
    As for the tail; that red makes the aircraft look like it’s rear is bleeding and the blue should run the full length down the vertical stabilizer.
    The red shouldn’t be an after thought, it should stand for the American blood, sweat and tears that built the company.
    As for the eagle; it looks reminiscent of the American Flag and I appreciate the concept, but feel that it’s lost a lot of it’s heart and soul.

    This is just my critique, so please no flames.

    -John (12 years with the AMR Family)

    • Anthony Harding
      October 25, 2012 - 11:51 pm ·

      Thank you John for your critique, and believe me I feel there’s great value in constructive criticism which you provided.

      It’s also great to hear feedback from those in the AMR family on my design. Many seem to think that airline branding is all about how it impacts the customers, but I feel the impact on employees from top to bottom is too often overlooked. They are the ones who are around the branding almost every day, who are exposed through time to every detail of it. A great airline brand is one that employees are proud to have represent them, one that creates an ideal, a set of values that through imagery the employees will want to embody.

      An ineffective airline brand will ultimately lead to a lack of identity among employees. That lack of identity will translate to a lack of confidence, and an unhappy workforce who has lost confidence will take a strong financial toll on an airline.

      Is my description overly simplistic? Of course it is, there’s a lot more to it than just an airline livery, but a lot of folks on the outside of an organization think this stuff doesn’t matter. I think it absolutely does. Every tiny detail matters. I can hear it in your response, you care very much about AMR’s identity because you’re a part of the AMR family, and the Eagle is more than just a design — it’s a statement about you, your co-workers, and the airline that you have devoted 12 years of your life too. A poor design is an insult, and rightfully it should be! We would all be flying bare white airplanes and the airline industry would be incredibly dull if nobody cared and nobody critiqued. So as such I feel it’s the duty for any designer to treat that devotion with immense respect.

      I got a bit off tangent but it’s all to say that ultimately I find tremendous value in the opinions of the employees. Thank you again for your critique.


  4. RAI
    October 26, 2012 - 12:15 pm ·

    I don’t like it. I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but it isn’t needed. Why do people think there is a need to “remake” what already is the most recognizable brand/eblem/logo in the aviation world? If there is an issue with composites – meaning the polished metal has to go away – then just do exactly as they did with their American Eagle subsidiary which uses highly composite planes. Paint those other areas white, retain the red white & blue stripe and the existing logo. Problem solved. The American Flag will be where it always is; right next to the aircraft tail registration number.

  5. Steve Dinkin
    October 27, 2012 - 11:20 am ·

    I think your design is awesome and could be used if a merger occurs between US Airways and AA as well as if AA is on its own. I also like the fonts you have chosen as they seem modern and crisp.

    Did you try the lighter gray on top and fade into a darker shade? I just wonder if the lighter color on top would help with heat dissipation or reflection on hotter, sunnier days.

  6. Bill E. Bob
    October 29, 2012 - 6:09 pm ·

    From the worldwide recognized symbol of what the USA stands for to some hipp-mod version of Dark Vader.

    What an abomination!

    This is even worse than the Braniff “get up” that was hailed as “so modern” when rolled out. Fittingly it followed them into airilne oblivion.

  7. Barrt
    October 29, 2012 - 6:50 pm ·

    U agree with Rai, and it also reminds me of the Steven Wolf regime. Logo is ok but the body paint I do not like.

  8. rtay
    October 29, 2012 - 8:44 pm ·

    I couldn’t agree more with RAI. This is the coldest, design one could ever imagine. Keep the stripes and the word “American” in the un disputed upper and lower case helvetuca medium.
    I might be able to live with the modern eagle but again, why fix what’s not broken?

  9. Rex Toltschin
    October 30, 2012 - 12:29 am ·

    Initially, I like it, a lot. Starting with the top non AC logo, bold and strong. The Aircraft does have a great look, but it somehow doesn’t have the distinction the Silver Bird has today. I can easily see some of DL & US & UA in the design the more I look at it.

    All of the comments thus far are great, both the pro & the con. Our Eagle is definitely an important component, the Silver Bird is as well. Great work!

    (AA – 26 Years)

  10. greg
    October 30, 2012 - 11:37 am ·

    What a classy paint sceme. luv the white belly with the grey as some stated otherwise. The tail paint with new eagle is wonderfull. Its obvious you have great taste !!!!!!!
    AA – 28 Yrs.

  11. Woody Edge
    October 30, 2012 - 12:26 pm ·

    My first impression was very positive and even after reading all the comments, I still like it and would be happy flying a bird painted in these colors.
    27 years flying for American and counting.

  12. Johnny Law
    October 30, 2012 - 6:14 pm ·

    Your logo should say – We Are AMERICAN.

    Unfortunately your design look like a cross of Tomy Hillfiger meets Aeroflot. You should colour scheme with cream , sand and silver. Try minimalise the red to a sliver.

  13. Bryan
    November 2, 2012 - 1:31 am ·

    American Airlines should retain their current livery because the current livery is outstanding. The new concept could be for any airline – not for American Airlines only and it looks “modern und typical for today” but it is aweful.

  14. Meh
    November 9, 2012 - 6:14 pm ·

    When I first see this, I think Delta or US Airways. Thus, American loses their brand. Why look like all of the other airlines? The polished steel and brand stand out. With Airbus, I know they are painted, but why dull gray like it used to be?

  15. Peter Franco Jr
    November 19, 2012 - 1:50 am ·

    In my opinion, it’s not the new paint job that makes the airline. It’s the people who work for it.

  16. Napoleon
    November 30, 2012 - 12:56 am ·

    I love the new “AA logo” with the new eagle representation and the “American” font – very clean, modern and sleek. My only suggestion – maybe extend red line along the side otherwise love it..

    With American 22 Yrs.

  17. Alan M.
    December 8, 2012 - 6:28 pm ·

    Wow, people aren’t even trying to be polite, they are being pretty brutally honest right to your face.

    I like it, actually. I don’t think they will move to an all painted grey exterior, it seems to be white fuselage or nothing these days.

    But I love the tail and the font for the word American.

    I hate the current decades old American livery. The silver, it’s just awful. Anything new would be good, and with American struggling, they could use a refresh.

  18. jackal
    December 12, 2012 - 4:03 pm ·

    Agree with Alan M. 100%. I love your concept, and the current livery is so outdated that it actually prevented me from flying American ever since I became a frequent flyer six years ago (since I associated the American brand with being old and in disrepair–I fully expected to walk onto an AA aircraft and find lava lamps, turquoise-colored overhead bins, shag carpets, and seats upholstered in worn-out oranges and greens). So, I diverted probably a half a million miles of travel over the last half-decade onto other carriers with more modern brand images. (I recently did fly AA, and while their interiors are actually relatively comfortable, and they are only slightly dated [1990s-era instead of 1960s-era like I thought]).

    I don’t mind paying homage to the current “iconic” look and logo, but AA desperately needs a refresh and updated identity.

  19. Scott
    December 14, 2012 - 3:55 am ·

    Wow that is great! Contemporary and striking, really cool! The only thing I would modify is the title font, I think I’d like to see it just a little thicker or more bold. But liveries are art and art is in the eye of the beholder. I really hope American takes notice of what you’ve done – just fantastic!

  20. Rich
    December 28, 2012 - 1:45 am ·

    Hey, I’m a pilot and there are aspects of this design I like, others I don’t. I agree with a previous critique – ditch the white and make it all the silver. The rest looks stunningly modern and ushers in a new age. Simple enough to last a long time. I’m a huge fan of going to “American” v. “American Airlines” and like the idea of the large name across the jet. Nobody says their flying “American Airlines”,its American. I think the new motto or slogan should be (post merger): “American: Together we serve you”. The way you have it prominent its like how Frontier did theirs along the entire fuselage but this looks very classy. On the other hand, I HATE the logo. Sorry, I’ve hated ours for some time and feel its lost in the 80’s. I like the idea of the Delta “widget” and getting rid of AA altogether, as well as the eagle. IF your changing it, change it. I say go with the Admiral’s Club logo…the five admiral star of the armed forces. IT’s simple and classic. Perhaps change the ring around it to red with the white stars. Similar to the simple USAir Flag and symbolizing continents. Just my input!

  21. Greg
    December 30, 2012 - 5:40 pm ·

    I am an American retiree, 33 years of service at American, and I can honestly say I love this design. I hope what American goes with looks half this good.

  22. Tony
    January 4, 2013 - 2:53 am ·

    I’ve seen a lot of ideas pass by for the new American livery, most were at best comical, many downright insulting to the brand. But yours, I don’t like…no..I LOVE!! I think this is who the new AA will be, bold up to date, but keep a bit of the historical value.

    Great job, I’m hoping to see this concept in the sky one day.

  23. Teri Smith
    January 10, 2013 - 2:02 am ·

    I love Art Deco but really hate this logo and I don’t feel it captures the history and tradition of our company. I really don’t care for the 80’s logo either, I have flown for AA for 27 years and find myself partial to the 40’s era designs. I really hate all our new, “sleek” china and first class silverware and glasses as well! Looks like there was a sale at Ikea, whoever decided on this look fell way short of the mark. I do like the darker look,as far as the paint goes, very classic.

  24. Tony Velez
    January 11, 2013 - 9:47 pm ·

    I think at the very least, the eagle shouldn’t have been touched. I think the eagle is the last link on the chain that represents AA glorious past & link it to the future.

  25. Brad
    January 17, 2013 - 3:33 pm ·

    After seeing the reveal today, I like yours better. To me it looks more stately and their choice of blurry-flag logo on the tail looks absurd.

  26. Khalid
    January 17, 2013 - 7:39 pm ·

    I agree and disagree with Brad above but on the flip side, American has always identified itself as the flagship of the US and imagine seeing those tails all over the world, I would welcome seeing them. Just like the rising sun on the Japan Airlines tails.
    I am also wondering if you were part of the design process of the actual livery. (Any confessions? :-))

  27. Marcus
    January 18, 2013 - 11:43 pm ·

    I am so disappointed about the real new livery of AA. Saw it today. I like your design much much more!! It really looks fantastic! Best wishes from Germany!

  28. Alfred Danberg
    January 29, 2013 - 12:30 am ·

    Anthony, this is the coolest airline livery I have seen! I googled AA’s new image and came across yours which I thought was brilliant.

    As for the actual new AA logo, I was most disappointed. The tail is hideous but the logo ok. The horrendous blue color cheapens the image of the airline.

    I will be in contact with you to explore rebranding of our company.

  29. JohnO
    January 31, 2013 - 6:19 pm ·

    Anthony – your livery design is simply superb. The clean crisp lines and choice of font type are far better than what American Airlines actually went with. It’s a huge challenge to refresh an iconic logo and you have respected the heritage of the brand while adding a modern, forward looking touch. Well done!

  30. kevin
    February 12, 2013 - 11:50 pm ·

    I think that this is the best design for the tail I DON’T LIKE THE FLAG FOR THE TAIL SECTION .. Go with this deign it looks more modern and not some shrudded up flag for the tail sect ….. thats my opinion but this looks much better ….

  31. Neil
    March 9, 2013 - 1:57 pm ·

    Modern, simple, with clear reference to AA’s past – a great effort mate. The “real” new livery is such a dissapointment.

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