Established in 1946, SAS (originally an acronym for Scandinavian Airlines System) is the flag carrier of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, making it the largest airline in Scandinavia. With a fleet of more than 160, SAS travels to 119 destinations in Europe, the U.S., and Asia, carrying over 28 million passengers last year. Over the course of this year, SAS has been rolling out a new identity — logo remains the same-ish — designed by Scandinavian firm Bold.
Based on data collected by what drives sales we identified and focused on a new target group, the Scandinavian frequent travelers. Meaning those who travel 5+ times per year. This group represent only 12% of the market, but are responsible for a staggering 70% of the airline’s overall revenue. To increase willingness to pay in this group would be extremely profitable for SAS, and that became one of our main goals.
We named our new target group “The True Travelers” and the primary purpose of the new identity was to attract them, by creating a brand and community they would like to be a part of. To succeed the brand needed an upgrade in every sense. We needed to make SAS more premium, aspirational and adapted to our digital age. The new visual identity has helped transform SAS to be perceived as a premium and credible brand whose community the target group want to be a part of. Since launch this has meant an increased willingness to pay by 26%, equivalent to a brand value increase of 167 million Euro.
Although the image above is probably messy on purpose to exacerbate the lack of consistency in the existing communications, there was no real connecting thread to the SAS brand, even though they were using a custom sans serif. As you will see, this project is about establishing a consistent identity across all materials. The logo pretty much remains intact other than taking it outside of the box, which allows it to be bigger, smaller, bluer, whiter, and more freely used.
We let the wordmark out of its box, letting it roam free - just like our travelers. It also allowed us to use more of the primary blue color.
The world of a traveler isn´t simply blue. We created a new color palette including several new shades of blue that allows SAS to works towards taking ownership of the color blue through working with a blue-on-blue color concept.
I love blue monochromatic palettes and somehow this brings the best out of the logo, giving it an elegance that the default white on blue doesn’t have.
These gradients come into play later in the project but it’s great to see an analog approach to creating them with the “retro” use of a film camera and developed in a dark room.
One of the downfalls of airline communications, specially online, is putting prices and alerts on things where photographs of pretty places end up looking like a breakfast cereal box. The elements above, with the sophisticated color palette, will help mitigate (not completely fix) the problem.
Now we start getting into some applications with a simple, almost old-school approach to stationery. I bet if there is a corporate guidelines document specifying this look, it will get a Kickstarter reissue in 30 years. I really like the introduction of the kraft paper as a contrasting color to the blue and white. (The same tannish hue that can be seen in the graphic elements.)
The previous/still existing livery wasn’t particularly inspiring but at least the tail of the airplane benefited from a small logo that can be tucked in it. In the new livery, the logo remains in the same place, but the gradient that flows into the fuselage makes it feel looser and less confined. I’m not sure about the red turbines; almost feels like a regulatory color enforced by someone.
I’m not a huge fan of the x-ray food — I do appreciate another analog approach — but at least it’s definitely different and unique. The gradients on the cups and the middle thing (barf bag?), on the other hand, look amazing.
The We Are Travelers campaign was the launch of SAS new strategic position as the choice for the experienced travelers. Broad and proud media was prioritized with a specific focus on clarity, distinctiveness and premium associations.
I don’t comment much on ads usually but these are really stunning, specially the ones with the oversize “SAS” and the heavy white frame. The typography — also apparent in the menu — has a great, bold presence that makes it feel corporate but with a slight edge to it.
Overall, this is a fantastic identity redesign that unifies beautifully all of the multiple communications and does so efficiently across mediums, from digital to print, all while infusing it with some personality and establishing a precedent for taking the route less traveled with different approaches like the gradients and food cyanotypes.