Racheal Lee
Apr 16, 2012

Malaysia Airlines quietly launches new logo

KUALA LUMPUR - National carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) quietly launched its new logo during the unveiling of its A380-800 Airbus aircraft recently.

The old (above) and new logo of Malaysia Airlines
The old (above) and new logo of Malaysia Airlines

The news comes as the national carrier moves to establish itself as a premium airline following a reported net loss of US$814 million in its last fiscal year. The inaugural A380 flight to London will commence on 1 July.

The new logo, designed by Landor, is a departure in that it does not use red, which was incorporated in the old design by Johan Design in 1987.

While some netizens called the new logo classy and applauded the designer for a better and cleaner font that shows a stronger stance, others called the kite dull and akward, complained that it doesn’t represent the country and called it a waste of money in the face of huge losses.

On the side of the former, Jim Goh, CEO of Briq Communications, felt it was high time MAS changed its logo, saying the new logo brings out the intended brand image.

“As for why there was not a big launch for the new logo, it is a double-edged sword," he said. "If they make it a big event, people will ask ‘Why did you spend so much money on that’ and so on."

What is delivered matters the most, he continued, and in this case the airline is gearing up to establish itself as a premium airline.

Sara Tang, director of strategy at The Brand Union, Hong Kong, noted that a new logo is often used to signal a more profound change in a company, and troubled companies may use a logo change to inject new life into the brand or to tell stakeholders that they are embarking on a new course.

"In the case of Malaysia Airlines, the streamlined font and forward-facing kite icon of the new logo make the brand look more modern, premium and efficient," Tang said. "This helps to support their new positioning as a premium carrier."

She added that the new logo doesn't look any less "Malaysia" after dropping the red element, as the name "Malaysia Airlines" itself clearly tells the consumers where its from and that it really isn't necessary to have such a literal interpretation of the country (using national colours).

The logo is also in line with industry trends, as very few other aircraft carriers in the world use national colours in their logos.

"The new logo does make the brand look more sleek and corporate, but because it's all mainly one colour, it does tend to lack some of the dynamism and approachability of the previous logo, which used blue and red," she added.

Jennie Morris, creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore, meanwhile said, "I think this is a smart, contemporary evolution of what was looking quite tired and dated. It's a big promise of change. Let's see if the brand can live up to it."

MAS recently named Ogilvy & Mather Advertising as its retained master creative agency to work on its global account out of the Kuala Lumpur office, while strategic brand consulting and design firm Landor Singapore came on board as the official brand agency for its A380 fleet.

The creative pitch was called in the region and worldwide in May last year, but subsequently delayed due to the share-swap deal between Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and budget carrier AirAsia, after it announced the shortlisted agencies.

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