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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Pilot logo gets a makeover

Some people have been asking why we changed the Pilot logo. I want to be clear that we didn’t change it just because it turned 40 – there is nothing wrong with being 40! But it is true that most of the known corporate logos that were created around the same time ours was were updated a long time ago.

For instance, let’s take Starbucks. They opened a few months after Pilot, and their logo featured a bare breasted mermaid. Their reasoning was that she was supposed to be just as seductive as the coffee. She was updated in the eighties with a new hairdo that made her a bit more modest. A few years later, when Apple Computers opened, they had a logo that featured Sir Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. This was almost immediately changed to the graphic apple with a bite taken out it that we all know so well. But back then, if you remember, it was a rainbow colored apple – very reminiscent of the popular at the time rainbow socks that had separate colored toes. I don’t know why they got rid of the rainbow, but my guess is they figured some of the IBM clients they were pursuing might hesitate at buying their computers from some Northern California hippies.

Logos are constantly changing. Earlier this month, the YMCA formally announced that it is now just the Y, with a very colorful, graphic “Y” logo. It’s not that they are abandoning any of their original principles; they just want to be recognized as a modern organization geared to serving the entire community. After all, everyone called it the Y already, except of course for the Village People. And, a couple of months ago, MTV dropped the “music television” from its logo after 30 years. They had a problem…they don’t really show music anymore. The once 24 hour music video channel is now almost exclusively reality TV, from The Hills to the Jersey Shore, so it was time for an update.  Come to think of it, music is probably about the same percentage of their business as air freight is a part of ours.

So to best have the logo represent who we are today, we lost the plane, because today we are so much more than air freight. We kept the forward tilt because we are definitely moving forward. And we moved from the conservative, calming green to the bold, creative orange. The orange is invigorating, and it says I am not afraid to be noticed.

Oh, and one more thing…it’s Richie’s favorite color.