Qatar Airways rebrands

Most Qatari corporate identities are particularly badly designed. If you want to see a sample of those just watch a few Aljazeera programs. They all seem to be sponsored by this or that large Qatari company. As a relatively young country, Qatar still seems to be infatuated with itself. Companies have names like Qa-something (Qafco). There is an overuse of the flag color (which is some sort of maroon/reddish brown/violet) and its zigzag motif. And despite the impressive TV advertising, the Asian games 2006 in Qatar have a pretty lame running stick man logo.
Qatar Airways

All of the above design attributes are present in the current identity of Qatar Airways. The logo of the airline uses the head of an oryx gazelle as a motif, stuck on a round background of zigzags which resembles the AT&T logo. For sure, the identity uses maroon as its primary color.

The airline advertises heavily internationally. Qatar is a very much a Dubai wannabe (who in the Arab world isn’t one might ask) and its national carrier plays a key promotional role for the peninsula country.
Qatar Livery

Today, Qatar Airlines, revealed its new visual identity and livery at the ITB travel fair in Berlin. Gone from the name is ‘Airways’. The airline will simply be called ‘Qatar’. And the ‘AT&T’ background has been toned down (traces of it are still there in grey). The word ‘Qatar’ is rendered, using a quite bland font, in huge letters on the livery. The whole thing somehow looks ‘corporate American’ to me and lacks flair and distinctiveness. The Arabic name of the airline ‘Al Qataria’ is rendered in a much smaller, light grey font is is barely noticeable on the plane. Maybe this is a conscious decision to appeal to globalized audiences to whom the presence of the Arab script in a more noticeable manner might be confusing (although Emirates never seems to have turned stylized Arabic script into a design differentiator in its logo, designed in the mid 1980s).

The oryx on the plane’s tail might be recognizable to those who know the old logo. But I suspect that newcomers to the brand might wonder about the ‘squiggly’ motif.

All in all, the new visual identity seems like a small improvement. Dropping the word airways and making the Qatar name more legible on the livery are good ideas, but implemented in an unimaginative manner.

If you want to see really inferior identity design for an airlines have a look at what Abu Dhabi’s Ettihad Airways or Oman Air look like!


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6 Responses to “Qatar Airways rebrands”

  1. salam Says:

    But this is still better than the old logo.It has always annoyed me how self centered those Q-atari corporations where.

  2. rampurple Says:

    urgh at the omani

  3. moryarti Says:

    who is the agency? any ideas?

  4. Suhail Says:

    If this is the only pic we get of the new identity, I disagree with the point that it is any better really. If you want to say that the overal design scheme is simpler and bolder, fine. But it lacks any character and does not in anyway seem to indicate where the airline comes from other than QATAR. KLM for instance has the crown, and BA has the colors of the Union Jack. If an entity spends as much money as branding costs, and this is the outcome I find that a regression. If Qatar airways is to be a national carrier it really needs to project a national identity to the world. Of course there are terrible airlines out there, that is not in quetion. And honestly I’m glad one of them is from the Emirates, it just means more business for everyone involved.

  5. Romano Says:

    Hi all
    I found this blog whilest trying to work out who did the rebrand of Qatar Airlines. I was specificly interested in the Asia Games special livery they did on one of the planes. There is a bike rider on one side.
    This is where my interst comes in. We are producing bike wheels (www.gravity-zero.com.au). I am looking at the possiblity to have our wheels at the games. Of course we would need to find the right team and sponsor to make this happening…
    If any of you can help this would be greatly apreciated.
    BTW love your blog!
    Romano, Melbourne, Australia

  6. Gary Says:

    Corporate design is a matter of taste, picking on companies with this apparent lack certainly isnt going to help them although it might boost your ego. How about approaching them with a new idea. If we look a the shooting stars in the airlanes today my guess that one of the oldest logos (that I can remeber) is today one of the best recognised and synonymous with “better style”. Which one? You as “branders” should get it straight away, a single word in white on a red backdrop. Its been known for so many products, been around for donkeys years, simple and effective. If your ideas are as good as that was, then your work would probably be on those aircraft too. So lets move design forward and not gripe about the past. As Suahil said it means there is still plenty of oppourtunity out there, go and get it!
    Bavaria, Germany

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