The traditional logo, a stylised condor in a circle, goes back to Otl Aicher; the airline Condor has also advertised with the claim “We love flying” for many years. Now the company has unveiled a new brand identity that combines the motto “Passion is our compass” with an eye-catching look: In future, striped stripes in the corporate colours yellow and blue, but also in green, red and beige, will be seen on the aircraft. The new design was developed under the direction of Remo Masala, owner of the Berlin-based creative agency Vision Alphabet. According to the company, the look is inspired by sun umbrellas, bath towels and beach chairs and is intended to underline Condor’s positioning as a holiday airline. The five striped colours are also meant to stand for the diversity of passengers and employees as well as the multitude of opportunities to discover the world with Condor. “We want,” says Ralf Teckentrup, CEO of Condor, “to express unequivocally through our new appearance: Condor is holidays and Condor is unmistakable – like our new design, with which we are now launching into the future.” In an interview (in German) with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Teckentrup added: “Condor had a clear brand identity for a long time. Then, from 1997 onwards, we were part of a tourism group, every Thomas Cook CEO tweaked the look a bit. The time was ripe for a new consistent appearance. Anyone who knows anything about aircraft now recognises immediately: this is Condor. And those who are not so familiar will look more attentively. In any case, we have achieved what we want”.
Condor had been in turmoil after the bankruptcy of its parent company Thomas Cook. The situation has stabilised recently after a subsequent protective shield procedure of its own. The company is currently majority-owned by the financial investor Attestor, which holds 51% of the shares. The remaining 49 % are held by the federal government and the state of Hesse via KfW. As soon as the loan to KfW has been repaid, the remaining shares will also be transferred to Attestor.
The logo was also redesigned as part of the relaunch. It is now more finely drawn and appears in high-contrast black on the fuselage of the aircraft. The lettering “Condor” has also been adapted and is now written in lower case. The striped design, which is also to appear on neckerchiefs, ties and pins, on board the aircraft, in the airports, on the website and in social media, has been the subject of heated debate since its unveiling. In a Horizon expert check (in German), the new brand identity has provoked quite contradictory reactions. Above all, Condor’s courage to implement a design that would predictably polarise was praised positively. They praised the striking branding and the emotional and colourful appearance, which fits the positioning of the tourism brand. Mutabor founder Heinrich Paravicini, for example, is “happy about every rebranding that takes a courageous step and consciously decides to leave the mainstream of design convenience”. Condor has shown this courage and deserves the “highest recognition” for it. “Finally, an airline dares to move away from the usual white and grey look and boldly implements the theme of holidays in its own branding,” says Martina Hausel, Co-Owner & Managing Director Element C.
Ruediger Goetz, Managing Director of the Peter Schmidt Group, on the other hand, formulates clear criticism. He admits that the new design is striking. But psychologically, the look is going in completely the wrong direction. “Stripes as a quote from beach towels and parasols? I had to laugh out loud! A great example of how designers fall in love with a visual idea and lie about it in a post-rationalising way,” says Goetz, whom Horizont says the stripes don’t make him think of holiday cheer either. “At best, they evoke associations with striped socks, but at worst with warnings and danger: wasps, military, convict uniforms. A prisoner transport to Mallorca? Have a good trip!” Goetz mocks.
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