Virgin Australia


As a formerly obsessed aviation nut and a logo nerd, I felt compelled to comment on Virgin Australia's new brand design. Yes, I lifted that entire first sentence from my JAL blog post back in February, its called recycling.

Ruben just had coffee

Virgin Australia is the rebrand of Virgin Blue, the budget airline started by a consortium of Richard Branson and Australian investors shortly after the demise of Ansett in the early 2000s. Ansett was originally supposed to be sold to Singapore Airlines (imagine how awesome THAT would have been!) but instead was taken over by Air New Zealand and subsequently run into the ground. Well, I am aware planes land on ground and from the perspective of those watching in the airport it could be seen as running, though I believe that's a bit of a stretch. Now the DC-8-30, that was a stretch. But I digress.

Virgin Blue's rebranding entailed (hah, that's a bit of a pun) the adoption of the same slender typeface of their American and British operations, and a stark white livery in place of the awfully ugly yet colourful ironic red livery from Virgin Blue. Unfortunately owing to the parent company's part ownership by Singapore Airlines (those guys again!) for some reason this means Pacific Blue and the like can't also be called Virgin Pacific or something cool like that. Which makes no sense, oh well.

Virgin Australia pulled a Japan Airlines

As with Japan Airline's new livery in February, I have mixed feelings about this one. Like JAL, Virgin Australia has adopted a clean, minimalistic new livery which appeals to someone like me who likes clean minimalism. Well that sentence was redundant. So was this one. And this one. Brown sugar… how come you taste so good?

Where was I? Oh yeah, firetrucks. Did you know in airports they're often coloured yellow for visibility? So "Fire Engine Red" in this case would be… yellow. Funny story.

Anyway, yes, so while I do like the new livery from a minimalism perspective, and while I think the stretched lettering over the vertical stabiliser and down the rear of the fuselage looks rather fetching and unconventional, the lettering towards the front is in the same boring spot almost every airline puts it.

Virgin Blue, sorry Virgin Australia, prides itself on being unconventional in a non-threatening, conventional way, but this new lettering at the front is a missed opportunity. Which is a shame, because repainting planes costs a lot of money that could be spent on more of those little crackers and cheese they sometimes give you. Oh yeah, and A320s instead of 737s, they have far more room per seat.

German ICE train photo by Sebastian Terfloth on Wikimedia Commons

What I’d really like

Despite those No Agenda folks who agree with more often than not, I do prefer trains to planes, and would rather travel on a high speed train between urban centres in Australia, though I know that will never happen because we live in a democracy where the people we elect are only interested in projects that generate short term political capital. The political capital of Australia in Canberra. I mean, what's the point of having long term plans if someone (or some party) other than you can take the credit for it later? Not that I'm cynical or anything. Planes are cylindrical, kinda.

Because really, Virgin Australia implies Australia had never had planes before. And she has. By comparison, she's never had true, regular, electric high speed rail before, so Virgin Australia would make far more sense for such a mode of transportation instead, right? I think I may have pushed that metaphor too far.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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