It’s uncommon that I’ll do big follow-ups to well-covered projects but today there is a few reasons I would like to tread again on the Southwest Airlines redesign by Lippincott introduced in September of last year. The primary reason is that I really liked this project when it came out and I’ve just been provided with some previously unpublished images that make me like this even more. Another reason is to highlight the typographic work done by Monotype Studio in developing a proprietary typeface, Southwest Sans, designed by Monotype’s Type Director, Dan Rhatigan. The final reason, which is what precipitated the renewed interest is the launch of an interesting collection published jointly by Lippincott and Monotype called Brands with Heart, featuring a “palette of typefaces selected for their distinct personalities and idiosyncratic tendencies as well as their ability to convey the humanistic elements of a brand’s personality.” So, here we go.
(And, no, for the pessimists and haters out there, this is not a paid post by Lippincott or Monotype. If it weren’t interesting content you wouldn’t be seeing it here.)
Our last post had plenty of pictures of the plane — a reminder above — but we only got a brief glimpse at the identity in application beyond what it looked like on a giant steel bird but what I really needed to know was how well it applied to a tiny bag of pretzels.
With the ratio of wordmark to heart in the logo favoring the typography, we hadn’t had an extra large view of the icon.
“Typefaces that have more human qualities naturally have more personality to them. They show their distinction and unique character. When matched well with the voice of the brand the typeface and tone of voice truly become one. So it’s not just about selecting a typeface that has human qualities, but about having a distinctive voice to go with it. And when your voice is authentic, it is more likely to resonate with customers and employees.”
Also at the time of release, we didn’t know Monotype Studio had been involved in the design of a proprietary sans serif.
“The mix of qualities in a contemporary humanist typeface — warm and mechanical but not too informal, clean and functional but not too austere — strike a balance that reflects the quality of a brand like Southwest. The typefaces need to have a personality that encourages the friendly spirit and interaction that is essential to Southwest, but also have a neat functionality that shows that the company is responsible and accountable.”
Since I was already a fan of this project, all of these images cement it for me. It’s a fun, colorful, and energetic implementation for a successful airline that provides some of the more relatively pleasant flying experiences today (as far as coach pricing goes).
Finally, here is a peek at the joint publication, Brands with Heart, which you can request a printed copy of at the link.
The publication is divided in two with a fancy double saddle-stitch binding that allows it to open in two directions. One half is dedicated to the Southwest identity and typeface redesign with large, high-res images and plenty of captions. The other half is a selection of typefaces chosen by Lippincott’s senior partner, Rodney Abbot, who led the identity redesign. If you enjoy brand ephemera, go ahead and ask for a copy — it’s a keeper.