Up in the air
A worthwhile overview of this world-class airline's corporate look though the small size of the pages is not the best way to present all the interesting visual material.
Lufthansa corporate look really begins in 1963 when the management implemented design proposals put forward by a design team from Ulm design college under the direction of Otl Aicher. The reputation of the Ulm student design group was sufficient to let this to happen. The design proposals allowed the airline, by 1967, to be one the world's most forward looking commercial carriers. The first pictorial section of the book shows the evolution from a rather haphazard graphic design approach, especially with paintings for posters, to a much tighter and simpler graphic style using photos, flat color panels and clean typography.
The book's next section (printed on sixteen pages of orange paper) use excerpts from the Ulm design study. It seemed to be particularly thorough, covering every aspect of the airline's graphic look. The rest of the book looks in detail at various design manuals over the years, modifications to the logo from Helvetica Medium to Semi bold (and cutting part of the horizontal of the L so that it gave a tighter optical fit with rest of the logo) lots of ads and menu designs. In 1979 the airline's ad department did a design overhaul and created an even more comprehensive look which lasted up to 2000 when the Californian company Design Management Online took Lufthansa into the digital age with an online design manual. Unfortunately there are only two small, unreadable examples of the DMO work.
The last pages have some interesting comments from seven designers about the Lufthansa look, a company timeline and a book and article listing but no index.
I have mentioned the small page size and consequently small photos and graphics but also a small text size that makes reading the book very hard (so four stars). Six point type is just too small and annoyingly there is plenty of empty page space to allow for a larger size and for that matter bigger images throughout the pages. Oddly the book's Introduction is set in a quite readable eight point type.
Though the book is a paperback it has a jacket. Remove this and it unfolds to a mini poster with a mono graphic on one side and on the reverse seven colored profiles of the Lufthansa jet fleet with various livery options suggested over the years.
Some early examples of posters using paintings rather than the later style using photos.
Sixteen pages of the Ulm Design proposal printed on orange paper.
A suggested color scheme that never took off.
Right: a little graphic showing the shortened L to give a better optical fit with the rest of the logo.
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