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Hopeful Sign: The Return of Japan Airlines' Beloved Logo

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Starbucks' recent logo change to a more minimalistic design is just the latest outburst of an unfortunate trend that has caused the demise of too many strong, recognizable logos, including many in the travel industry. In recent years we've seen Holiday Inn lose its charmingly clunky script logo in favor a cartoonish letter H against a field of lime green. Effect? Meh. Hertz dropped its familiar shadow and added a background of yellow, lots and lots of yellow. Expedia eliminated its funky old airplane and replaced it with shimmering bands of light that make one pause and think, "Is that supposed to be an airplane?" And Hotels.com killed off bag-totting Benny the Bellhop because...because...who the heck knows? Personally, I miss Benny.

But at least one travel company has seen the error of its ways.

Japan Airlines recently announced that it would be replacing its modernistic logo (bearing an unidentifiable swoosh; swooshes seem to be pretty popular with the marketing crowd these days) and returning to its traditional, beautiful, and elegant logo of years gone by: a stately silhouette of a red crane, wings raised in the full glory of flight. The only other company I know that has done that of late is The Gap, which recently introduced a sleek new logo only to reverse itself and go back to the traditional one.

All I know is this: If you hire a new art director, you're going to get design changes—whether you need them or not.

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Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.

Logos courtesy of Japan airlines.



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