This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
EADS or the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, was born from the merger of the German DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG, French Aérospatiale-Matra and Spanish Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA), creating a company spanning the industries of, well, as the name rather plainly suggests, Aeronautics (aeroplanes), Defence (things that go boom) and Space (satellites, rockets, space craft). It’s the Aeronautics division, branded as Airbus, that we would all be most familiar with, but EADS also brands its various hi-tech creations Eurocopter, Cassidian, Astrian and Dassault. Airbus has been the focus of most reactions to the rebrand, delivered by London-based Lambie Nairn, and it’s this business unit that seems to have lost the most in the rebranding exercise.
It would be easy to instantly dismiss this entire effort based upon the bevel treatment alone, but that would be a bit unfair. Working on a program such as this must have been a difficult puzzle to piece together, trying to pull together disparate business units under one overarching design system. However, as generous as I want to be in giving this work the benefit of the doubt, it appears the team working on the project were left without the box this difficult puzzle came in, and without any way of knowing what they were putting together.
The intent behind the new wordmark for EADS was to erase the company’s nationalistic roots as the often fractious and sometimes dysfunctional marriage of two very different cultures: a German love of efficiency, and the Spanish insistence on an afternoon siesta. The solution is a simple, sans serif, all caps word mark, with a ligature created by taking a notch out of the cross bar of the the A and blending its right foot with the D. Perhaps not the most appropriate or logical of ligatures, but I’m willing to go with it.
This brings us back to the beveling and, judging from this treatment and the retro NASA-esque typography, the central idea driving the rebranding appears to be technological innovation, so much of it you could be forgiven for thinking you’re on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. This visual and typographic treatment is then used across the entire system to pull the various EADS brands together under one common aesthetic theme.
Regrettably, redeeming qualities are in short supply with the new Airbus logo. Whereas previously it was internationalist, solid and staid in a “trust us, even at 40,000 feet” kind of way, the new approach speaks of a company driven by technological innovation, and from what can be gleaned from the branding video on its website, looking forward to a future amongst the stars.
The design system for the remaining business units, Astrium (satellite telecommunications), Cassidian (military aircraft) and Eurocopter (helicopters) follow in the footsteps of Airbus, using a circular icon to communicate the business and the razor-sharp, lazier-cut beveled type. It’s in these business units you can see the improvements delivered by the branding program. To put things simply, the EADS brand portfolio was previously a rather unattractive, confusing mess, whereas now, there’s a bit of logic and visual order, although they somehow managed to stick with the unattractiveness.