Why Europe’s Largest Airline Lufthansa Carried out First Rebrand in 30 Years


Demola Ojo

Dark blue is now the leading brand colour for Europe’s largest airline, Lufthansa, after it overhauled its iconic 100-year-old logo, marking the first major change to the world’s oldest airline logo in decades. The new logo took effect four days ago (February 7) and will be rolled out across the fleet of 330 aircraft over the next eight years.

Lufthansa revealed its new, modernized brand image to customers and employees at two major events in Frankfurt and Munich last Wednesday where in front of more than 3,000 guests, Lufthansa officially presented a Boeing 747-8 and an Airbus A321 with the new design.

According to Lufthansa, the change was made against the backdrop of digitalization and changing customer requirements, and the recognition that the company needed to modernize the aircraft appearance in order to remain up to date and stay ahead in a market increasingly competitive due to the exploits of Persian Gulf airlines.

An important challenge in revising the design was to meet the requirements of today’s and tomorrow’s digital world. In addition to optimizing the crane for new technical requirements, Lufthansa has developed its own typeface, which is particularly easy to read on mobile devices or Smartwatches.

Lufthansa was recently awarded the Platinum Award by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for its new digital services and is the first (and only) airline in Europe to be awarded the 5th star by Skytrax.

Ont the plane, the redesigned tailfin keeps the flying crane in the circle and features a white logo on a rippling blue background, which replaces the former blue-and-yellow design. The plane’s underbody was originally in grey but is now replaced with white.

The brand roll-out at first appeared to remove the well-known yellow tone from Lufthansa’s corporate palette but after testing the waters in “leaked” pictures on social media, Lufthansa clarified that yellow would be put to use in other ways.

“The response to the new appearance was predominantly positive, although some people missed the traditional yellow tone; nevertheless, it will receive a specific function to serve as a means of orientation and differentiation,” said Lufthansa in a statement.

Yellow will be found in the future on every boarding pass and at every Lufthansa counter at the airport, among other things.” It will also remain as an accent on flight attendant uniforms.

“Lufthansa has changed and is more modern and successful than ever. From now on, this will also be visible to the public through a new design”, said Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “The crane has always been with us and clearly stands for the promising performance from Lufthansa. To this day, it still stands as a symbol of highest quality, excellent service, flying expertise, reliability, innovative spirit; and it stands for trust.”

The crane, designed exactly 100 years ago by graphic artist Otto Firle, a distinctive icon in the sky, remains the airline’s iconic symbol. In the future, it will be slimmer and fit for the digital world. A thinner ring makes the crane look more elegant, bringing it into the foreground and granting it more space. All in all, the trademark will gain lightness and elegance.

After 30 years, Lufthansa’s aircraft are gradually being given a new livery. In keeping with the airline’s claim to be premium, the blue colour of the livery should dominate the sky and the world’s airports for the next few decades.

In the cabin, guests will encounter the modernized design within the crew’s uniform in the form of new – and often yellow – accessories. On-board articles such as tableware, amenity kits, blankets or pillowcases will carry the new design in future. Around 160 million items will be exchanged over the next two years.

The Lufthansa Group’s brand image has also been modernized. The new logo no longer bears the crane and is written completely in capital letters. This will take into account the great variety of brands in the Group, offering optical neutrality for all companies. The newly developed Lufthansa Corporate typeface is timeless and independent. The use of capitals is a characteristic of the new Group design.

The Lufthansa Group is the world’s biggest airline group in turnover terms, and is also the market leader in Europe’s airline sector. The Group strives to be the “First Choice in Aviation” for its customers, employees, shareholders and partners. And safety, quality, reliability and innovation are the prime credentials and priorities of all its business activities.

The Lufthansa Group’s airlines currently serve 308 destinations in 103 countries on four continents and offer 11,738 weekly frequencies. The Group’s total fleet comprises some 617 aircraft and in 2016, the Lufthansa Group welcomed 109.7 million passengers aboard its flights.