Swire Group

Swire Group, whose activities span property, aviation, beverages, marine services, and trading and industrial, is a Hong Kong listed conglomerate. It is the parent of Hong Kong carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways, and Dragonair, and Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co (Haeco) is a subsidiary. Swire Pacific and Swire Properties are the main listed arms of the group, which also owns Swire Hotels. 

Brand X instead of daring panache and solid Asian identity

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 September, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 September, 1994, 12:00am

IN terms of lettering and colour scheme, Cathay Pacific's new design is heavily influenced by British Airways.

The brush stroke is an idea but there are a lot of birds on airlines and it reminds me of the Speedbird of BOAC before they came British Airways.

It has a cool European look to it. It is rather brave that Cathay avoided using anything relating to lettering as the logo is not language sensitive. The lettering is rather small in proportion to the body of the plane and it won't be that visible from a distance.

You will, therefore, end up with a puzzle because you will have to identify with the bird from Cathay as opposed to the bird of other airlines.

Interestingly, Cathay started with a racing green before shifting to a lighter green and now they have gone to a deep turquoise which is a change in direction. However, I think they might have changed the colour altogether and used a bolder red stripe.

Other than that it is clean looking design and generally quite handsome, but I think Cathay has lost an opportunity.

They certainly had to change their design because the present one must easily be a decade or two out of date.

The brush stroke is obviously a bird but it doesn't quite have an Asian quality to it. I would like to have seen something a bit more audacious and it would have been nice to see them taking a bold stroke.

However, Cathay appears to have taken a low-key stance. It is attractive but unspectacular, a direction that I would call safe, unobjectionable, but a missed opportunity to really put themselves on the map in terms of something that is either very noticeable, daring or terribly Asian.

While it is reassuring and pleasant, it does not give you the sense of the colour, smell, exoticism and adventure of Asia.

In fact, it looks more like northern Europe than southern Asia.

It lacks panache and style which could have helped create a more Asian appearance. For instance, there are no warm colours, the lettering is small and the whole design is one with a great deal of modesty.

I feel it represents a compromise where several people had different directions that they were championing and that this was the one which was acceptable rather than sticking their necks out and going for something a little bit wild and daring.

It is a very acceptable, unobjectionable identity, but almost a bit of a Brand X. I would have designed the logo using something based on the Cathay ''C'' or something with the words themselves.


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