Air Travel

Design Friday. Swiss Air.

Tomorrow I am traveling to Los Angeles for the Adobe Max conference, and since I’ll be flying I thought an appropriate Design Friday topic would be something that relates to the airline industry. I thought about making a statement focused on the subject of how people dress when they fly these days, or on how the leg room has gotten smaller while humans continue to get larger, but instead I decided to talk about Swiss Air’s fantastic printed material from the golden age of air travel. The 50’s through the 70’s.

I gathered most of these images from the ultimate Swiss Air fan site, so unfortunately there are some huge differences in sizing in the slide show below. I wish I had larger versions of some of the Ticket holders and the Timetables, but I didn’t prep these images and there is only so much scaling you can do.

The number of designers that worked on this material of the years has been huge. They include noted Swiss designers like Hans Neuburg, Robert Roser, Rudolf Lukes, Rolf Harder. No matter who worked on this material though, one thing is clear. There is a very conscious effort to make even the smallest material well designed. Each piece effectively uses grid systems, bold color, modern type, illustration and photography to convey the message in an appealing easy to understand form. When I look at these documents and think about the in-flight magazine I’ll have a chance to browse through tomorrow, it makes me long for the days when flying felt special, not like taking a bus at 30,000 feet.

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Eyjafjallajoekull vs The Friendly Skies.

Later this week I am flying to France, and now that Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajoekull is starting to calm down, it’s a certainty that I’ll be going. Over at Information Is Beautiful, they posted an interesting graph about how much CO2 is pushed into the atmosphere by both the volcano and the airline industry. Based on the graph, I wonder what the environmental impact would be, if 4 days a month were no fly days world-wide. I have a feeling that the world would reduce CO2 emissions by a number far greater than 206,465 tons.

For full volcano statistics in a less visually appealing form, go here.