Originally opened in 1939 as Malton Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport is one of the largest airports in North America handling almost 32 million passengers and 418,292 “aircraft movements” in 2010. Last time I was in Toronto I walked for a good 15 minutes to get to some distant terminal — that thing is huge. It’s not often that we cover airport identity here on Brand New, we’ve done three in the last five years, and that’s because it’s not a typically exciting niche in identity design but Pearson is certainly making a big deal of it. And I’m not saying that in a mocking way, it’s just interesting that they are very consciously branding their airport and trying to do so in a consumer-friendly way. Yesterday, as many of our Canadian readers alerted me, Toronto Pearson International Airport introduced a new identity.
“The logo’s multiple, vibrant colours represent the cultural diversity of Toronto and the world we provide access to. Together, the lines create a human figure that is embracing and reaching out to the world,” says Pamela Griffith-Jones. “For You. The World” puts our customers at the centre of it all, conveying our commitment to being the ultimate host while reminding them of our global reach.”
— Press Release
Nothing much to say about the old logo, as it was just the combination of the GTAA’s (Greater Toronto Airports Authority) logo and some serif type. My initial reaction to the new logo is that it isn’t very good, it’s a kind of “primitive” idea — arrows making a human figure, you know, bringing people to one destination — as well as an almost primitive drawing that you might find etched on a cave next to the depiction of a buffalo. It’s not necessarily well done, it isn’t clear whether the lines are arrows or just random triangles that sometimes sprout a middle stick, the colors are a very strange combination, and the stick figure is a male (which could or could not be an issue for some or none). But for an airport identity I think it’s one of the most memorable ones (perhaps not for the right reasons), it stands out and for the millions of less-than-visually-discerning passengers that go through there it will probably come across as a friendly, colorful welcome mat.