Icelandair's new "colourful" livery (Photo: Icelandair)
When airline livery redesign is done right

Liveries are become simpler, yet if done right does look aesthetically pleasing to the eyes

Recently, people were up in arms over Icelandair’s recent unveiling of a much cleaner and simpler livery on its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, with a larger “ICELANDAIR” font spread almost 75 percent along the sides of the aircraft and a questionable colourful tail livery which can be easily be mistaken as a low-cost airline.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with the majority of the people. Honestly, the new livery dilutes and possibly cheapens Icelandair’s identity with its additional colours such as boreal blue, magenta, crisp blue, golden yellow, and green. Even Iceland’s newest airline, PLAY, splashes its aircraft in a sea of red to stand out.

If given the choice to redesign their livery, I would have done the following:

  • Reduce the large Icelandair name on the side of the aircraft
  • Revert the engines colors back to golden yellow
  • Paint the tail midnight blue and the logo in golden yellow

Hopefully, it will grow on people over time and what ultimately matters is the service and the cabin products. I still would prefer Icelandair’s original livery though.

On the other hand, some airline livery looks absolutely amazing with the rebranding. There are tons of them out in the market so I will list down five of my personal favorite livery redesign. So who are they? Let’s dive into it.

Fiji Airways

In its desire to go back to Fiji’s roots, the airline, formerly known as Air Pacific, undertook a massive rebranding exercise in 2012, ditching the livery and name altogether for an all-new name, Fiji Airways, and introducing pacific tribal patterns and emblem to show their Fijian heritage.

With the tail livery designed by renowned Fijian Masi artist Makereta Matemosi and colored in a subtle earthy tone, it wants to introduce Fijian hospitality to the world which I found appropriate and well-thought-out.

Garuda Indonesia

As part of the Quantum Leap program in 2009, the Indonesian airline embarked on a revised livery, with the tail logo adorned in different shades of blue to represent the wings of a Garuda eagle, Indonesia’s national emblem.

Designed by well-known design group Landor Associates, which helped designed its original livery, it represents a fresh take for the national carrier of Indonesia, known for its hospitality, which was pleasing to the eyes.


The German carrier decided to update its decades-old livery in 2018 which was starting to look dated with a crispier livery, ditching the yellow altogether for a simple white and deep blue color to align itself as a premium carrier.

The refreshed livery projects a professional and confident image reflected in the service both inside and outside the cabin.


The Spanish airline revised its livery in 2013, opting to simplify the livery by coloring its tail with its original colours while omitting the classic tri-color cheatline which has been adorned on all its fleet since 1977.

It looks amazing with both colors complementing each other with a curving white line to divide the two colours.

Etihad Airways

In 2014, Etihad Airways, working with Landor Associates, unveiled a new livery on its first Airbus A380 at the Airbus facility in Hamburg, Germany. Consisting of triangular patterns in different hues of color found on the tail fin, the new livery is inspired by traditional Emirati design patterns, the landscapes of the desert, and the triangular patterns found in Abu Dhabi architecture.

In addition, its colors were inspired from darker sands of Liwa to the lighter colours seen in the Northern Emirates. I simply love this thoughtfulness and cultural sensitivity that goes into designing an airline branding.

Hi there, need to advertise with us or have a question in mind? Contact us at


Scroll to Top