Opinions on corporate and brand identity work.

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This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.


Airtel’s New Blobby Icon

Reviewed Nov. 22, 2010 by Armin

Industry / Telecom Tags /

Airtel Logo, Before and After

With a recently reported increase in customers to 200 million customers — for comparison, AT&T and Verizon have around 90 million each — Airtel is the largest mobile service provider in India, and the fifth largest in the world, with customers in nineteen countries across South Africa and Asia. Its corporation, Bharti Airtel, also provides land line services and broadband internet access. Last week, with the news that it would launch a complete 3G network, Airtel introduced a new identity designed by the London office of The Brand Union.

Our unique symbol is an interpretation of the ‘a’ in Airtel. The curved shape and the gentle highlights on the red color make it warm and inviting, almost as if it were a living object. it represents a dynamic force of unparalleled energy that brings us and our customers closer. Our specially designed logo type is modern, vibrant and friendly. It signals our resolve to be accessible, while the use of all lowercase is our recognition for the need for humility. Red is part of our heritage. It is the color of energy and passion that expresses the dynamism that has made Airtel the success it is today, in india, and now on the global stage.
Airtel’s website


Bharti Airtel Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Bharti Mittal (left) and India and South Asia CEO Sanjay Kapoor launch the new logo and signature tune at a press conference. Photo: Sandeep Saxena, source.

New TV ad, logo animation at the end.

New ring tone composed by A. R. Rahman, winner of the 2009 Oscar for Best Original Song, Slumdog Millionaire’s “Jai Ho.”

The old logo, from what I have gathered reading the news items, had a lot of equity and given the amount of subscribers it was probably found everywhere so I can imagine this being a fairly monumental change in India, where the core of Airtel’s customers are. Obviously, there is nothing remarkable about the old logo and it was fairly generic. The new retains some of that generic aesthetic, except with its modern counterpart of lowercase typography set in some weird hybrid of Dax and Meta — in other words, it’s awkward. The icon borders on interesting, but it doesn’t quite fulfill. The quote above implies it’s an “a” or perhaps it’s an “A.” Either way, I don’t really see it. As far as swooshes go, it’s very swooshy and engorged — in other words, it’s awkward. There is also the unnecessary, webby higlights added to the version of their website (why?!). The animation at the end of the commercial above shows a little more promise in how it comes to life and adds dynamism. Overall, it’s a step into the twenty-first century, but it’s like it’s dancing with two left feet.

Thanks to Siddharth Vanchinathan for first tip.



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