Cathay Pacific Airways

Crafting an enduring brand

We were challenged with implementing a new brand identity for Cathay Pacific Airlines that ushered it into a new era but maintained the integrity of its Asian roots. Through extensive research within six of its key markets we were able to design its “brushwing” logo that evokes the spirit of a bird’s wing.


Date
1999

Client
Cathay Pacific Airways

Brand
Cathay Pacific Airways

Industry
Airlines

Capability
Identity & design

Overview

Cathay Pacific began as a British airline based in Hong Kong. It had enjoyed an excellent reputation for quality of service but had become somewhat tired looking as its identity had not been updated since 1970. With the Asian air transport market growing fast, Cathay was evolving to meet the burgeoning travel demands. Cathay management determined that a corporate identity renewal was necessary to signal the changes within the company and preemptively respond to growing competition in the region. In view of the forthcoming handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese government, and in recognition of Cathay’s Asian heritage, marketplace, and employee base, the old expatriate image needed to change.

Challenge

Cathay asked Landor to create a comprehensive identity program that would convey attributes of service, professionalism, technological developments and, importantly, the airline’s Asian roots. The company also wanted to retain its equities in the Cathay name, the color green, and the Swire Group endorsement. We conducted extensive consumer research in Cathay's six key markets. Our results indicated that although Cathay did have equity in its green and white colors, the striped identity itself was outdated, inconsistent, and carried no Asian meaning or style.

Solution

Landor developed the “brushwing” logo, a single calligraphic brushstroke suggesting the wing of a bird. The brushwing symbol balances modernity and technological innovation with the airline's Asian heritage of professionalism and service, further expressed through its rich green and red color scheme. Launched in 1993, this exceptional branding program has since become a universally recognized representation of one of Asia's greatest and most successful transportation brands-a true leadership brand that has endured as it has grown and prospered. Seventeen years later, Cathay Pacific is ranked as one of the six 5-Star airlines in the world.

 

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