NWA (Northwest Airlines)

Joe Pemberton's picture

[ Redirecting the NWA spinoff from the AIWA thread. ]

cchs's picture

I don't like to be a complainer, but the new NWA id sucks. It's been a while since I saw student work that bad. I just don't get how any designer or any client could look at that and say, "that's the one, let's go for it."

Makes me scared to fly them, so much for my mileage points.

Alexander Tochilovsky's picture

Not to dwell on this issue... but this is what Northwest had to say about the redesign (from nwa.com):

"The new design represents several Northwest strengths identified in employee research: its global reach, innovative use of technology, pioneering track record and 76 years of heritage."

and this:

Grant Hutchinson's picture

Frankly, Northwest Airlines should have steered clear of the acronymization of their name. There 's a whole demographic slice that attributes 'NWA' with these guys.

tsprowl's picture

hey ya - I clicked here wondering about that.
wonder if the band is getting kickbacks or something - how'd the airline get through that copyright!

beejay's picture

i thought Dr. Dre bought the airline...;)

As far as the copyright on NWA, ... er, trademark.

both parties have active trademarks that were granted in different classes...


The trademark examiner apparently determined that the likelihood of consumer confusion
was low or non-existent and granted both parties trademarks.

Either party could sue, claiming dilution, but acronyms are generally
less distinctive than a unique brand name, such as Kodak.


iota's picture

thats a real shame.

the new logo is clunky, chunky and just plain ugly imo. especially when you compare it side by side with the original, it just looks pathetic.

the original logo perfectly resolved the balance of all the elements, whereas the new one just seems to be haphazardly arranged, not to mention the typeface choice is unbelievably bad.

the only real negative i can find about the old logo is the use of a serif instead of using a sans to compliment the symbol, and the tracked out "airlines".

"The new NWA identity was positioned as primarily a cost reduction exercise (that's a first!)... intended to lower future repainting costs by 20% or so (simpler design thus less masking, fewer colors, greater durability). More importantly, it's also an assertion: "We're global, not regional; what's more we're very cool, like our best customers... smart, sophisticated, technically advanced and elegant." Livery design was inspired both by the Audi TT, and by Northwest's clean, functional new Detroit home terminal."

this is really just crap. the words "smart, sophisticated, technically advanced and elegant." are so far removed from my mind when i see this logo that its not funny. also whats to stop them from retaining the original logo and just redesigning the livery using fewer colours?

talk about taking a backward step.

jthomas's picture

A few observations on the new NWA logo:

Regarding the mark, when I first looked at the photo above, I immediately noticed that the placement of the triangle just underneath the windows near the front of the plane makes it look like a heart. Completely different interpretation ("heart of the northwest" or some such nonsense)

Also, it's interesting to note that the triangle is more or less an equilateral triangle, so it could be seen as pointing to the left, not down (although there would be better ways of doing this).

Stephen Coles's picture

Sad, sad day! I was a big fan of the old NWA logo, pointing
out to non-designers as an example of clever and clear design.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Hehehe!!! Grant, you totally read my mind.
Another thought. That arrow is pointing downward, this in itself has very negative connotations for me. (Just noticed that Alexander mentioned this. So I agree with you about that.)

Joe Pemberton's picture

While I like this new livery, the new mark is really a shame. If they're really counting on people thinking this arrow points diagonally upward, they're asking people to remember their old logo. Silly.

Re: saving money & the livery
I'm not surprised that this livery design will save them money as the planes come in white, straight out of the factory. FedEx did the same thing when they moved away from their all purple trucks.

When I worked on the JetBlue livery, I was interested to find out that a light colored top allows a plane to be more fuel efficient. (A plane with a dark top requires more energy to cool.) NWA's new livery will probably save them on operating costs over time.

anonymous's picture

The Old Northwest version could have been sent out the the Bangladeshi airline Biman Bangladesh and renamed Northwest Bangladesh Airlines-Bengali Style

Alexander Tochilovsky's picture

Speaking of an international audience and implied W's, the rebranding of Nortwest Airlines comes to mind. Their old logo had a subtle w, which was quite well done, implying a compass pointing to northwest as well as the letters N and W, but in order to sound less regional (Northwest) their mark is now just "nwa" worked into the frame of the old logo. The problem is they still had to stick "northwest" into the logo. Another rebranding that, in my opinion, seemed like a good idea on paper but failed to hit the mark, no pun intended. (I like the new paint job on the planes though)

Another interesting take on the Northwest rebranding.

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