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New book chronicles the glory days of airline visuals

Airline Identity Boeing

Once upon a time flying wasn’t such a hassle.

At its height the airline industry was the bees knees of postwar culture. From the mid-forties to the the mid-seventies flying was the way to go.

The world got smaller as new opportunities and possibilities connected the four corners of the globe.

It was also a time of some stunning graphic design. The posters and printed detritus that accompanied the golden age of air travel mark a high-spot in the history of advertising  and corporate design.

Airline Identity TWA

It is the graphic side of these times that M. C. Hühne chronicles in Airline Visual Identity 1945-1975.  

This monster of a book (in both heft – it weighs 14 pounds and price – it retails for $400) provides a comprehensive look at the “visual identities of the world’s greatest airlines presented in a book of extraordinary beauty”

The book “pushes the limits of modern art printing technology” using seventeen different colors, five different varnishes, and two different methods of foil printing and embossing.”

Airline Identity Pan Am


Forged by some of the best creative minds of the time, such as designers like Ivan Chermayeff, Otl Aicher, Massimo Vignellli, Academy Award winner Saul Bass, as well as advertising luminaries like Mary Wells Lawrence, the artwork found in Airline Visual Identity: 1945-1975 illustrates the shift from traditional methods of corporate design and advertising to comprehensive modern identity branding programs generally introduced in the 1960’s.


Airline Identity BOAC


Airline Identity United


Airline Identity Air France

Airline Identity cover

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