Launched this month, LEVEL is a new low-cost, long-haul airline carrier that will start flying in June from Barcelona to Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tickets can be as low as €99, one way to California. LEVEL is the fifth airline brand of IAG, joining Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and Vueling. The new identity has been designed by Brand Union.
The name of this new airline is interesting, as it sounds nothing like an airline. Not that “United” or “Iberia” would have sounded like airlines when introduced, but there is something even more unexpected from “Level” and my inclination is that it’s a good thing. I also like the idea of a conversation like this:
— How are you flying?
— I’m sure you are flying level, who wants to fly all crooked?
— No, the airline is called LEVEL.
And that’s why I write about logos and not screenplays. Anyway…
The icon in the logo plays off of the name by depicting an earth/sky horizon level to the ground. It’s almost annoyingly simple but also surprising that no other airline has done something like it. It’s a smart, attractive, minimalist icon that stands out amidst the wings, globes, and swooshes of the aviation industry. The one weird thing is the minimal contrast the two colors have that makes the icon vibrate and a little hard to discern but I think it adds to some of the mystique of its simplicity. The wordmark is a deadpan uppercase sans serif that I get the feeling someone wasn’t comfortable with the sharp corners it must have had at one point so they rounded the corners just a teeny tiny bit which is neither here nor there. But it’s fine, mostly.
The identity uses a set of icons that look like maritime signal flags — sea, air… all the same — to spruce up communications. They are cool-looking for sure but I wonder if people will try to decipher meaning from them and be annoyed when there isn’t any? The limited color palette of blues and greens plays really well with the abstract geometric compositions. The typography used throughout looks to be the same as the wordmark and does a proper job in establishing a single typographic expression.
The one cliché-ish aspect of the communications is the transformation of regular words into airport-code-like words: WLK instead of Walk, SWM instead of Swim, etc. It feels like it’s trying hard to be cool. Still, the ads do have a cool vibe, especially with the Instagram-y photos and thick, visible margins.
Most airline logos on livery look weird when the windows cut through them but in this case, the intrusion works great with the horizontal symmetry of the icon and the middle bars of the “E”s, making it feel more integrated than slapped on. The tail… there is something odd — in contrast to the blockiness of everything else — to have a diagonal element. It obviously makes sense, as it follows the line of the tail into the fuselage but it feels off. The cabin looks great with the icon set against those stark white headrests. Overall, LEVEL has a very clear youthful, hip personality but its simplicity and directness also helps position it with less youthful and hip flyers who want a good deal and semi-decent flying experience.
Thanks to Edgar Garcia for the tip.