Decoding Design

American Airlines' redesigned, uninvited logo

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An uninvited redesign of American Airlines' identity casts the airline in a retro but tech-savvy light, but what does its origin say about modern job-seeking?

When I was in high school, I had an art teacher -- Sister Elaine, if memory serves -- who had a habit of embellishing my art projects during the weekends. I swear. When I came in on Monday, my sketches and pastel still-life efforts had somehow gotten just a little better.

I never brought this up to her, happy as I was to go ahead and take the better grade, regardless of how undeserved it was. Will American Airlines take a similar tack with the unrequested gift is a new logo and branding package, courtesy of Anna Kövecses, a 24-year-old graphic designer and illustrator who lives in Cyprus? No, it probably won't.

Maybe it should, however, because Kövecses' effort is damn fine. Think modern aviation meets Mad Men.

As FastCo Design explains, the uninvited logo is one the top submissions that resulted from a call for an AA rebranding, proposed by Boulder, Colo.-based ad agency Victor & Spoils.

AA didn't ask for any of this, and as the website explains:

The “uninvited redesign” has become a fixture on the Internet over the past few years. It perpetuates the perfect symbiotic relationship between designer and audience: People love seeing what Wikipedia or Microsoft might look like in the hands of a genius, and designers love stretching their legs without the burden of a real client or brief.

But this wasn't a stab in the dark for Victor & Spoils -- the same tactic has earned the agency business in the past.

But in this case the spotlight has fallen mostly on Kövecses, who told FastCo: "I wanted to design something that makes people feel safe because it visually meets up to the extremely high technology of aviation, the security and flawless on and off board services provided, and reflects the great history and experience behind American Airlines"

The overt brown-nosing in her statement aside, her efforts went well beyond just a new logo. She went so far as to imagine a customer blog that would serve as a forum for marketing the airline but also making fliers feel part of the company.

Is this what it takes to get a good job these days? For designers, writers and other creative types, I'd wager a yes. No longer are a resume and samples of past work sufficient. Job-seeking is more like auditioning. The uninvited redesign is the branding equivalent of an eager entrepreneur jumping into an elevator with a venture capitalist and pitching his idea. Only, it's far more public. And, perhaps, effective.

Via: FastCo Design

Images: Anna Kövecses

Mary Catherine O'Connor

Contributing Writer

Mary Catherine O'Connor has written for Outside, Fast Company, Wired.com, Smithsonian.com, Entrepreneur, Earth2Tech.com, Earth Island Journal and The Magazine. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure