Airline logos from China and Hong Kong

Design from the Far East. Is it any good?

China National Aviation Corporation CNAC logo 中国航空公司 标志

CHINA NATIONAL AVIATION CORPORATION (中国航空公司)
Founded in 1937. This version is from 1947.

Civil Aviation Administration of China logo 中国民航 标志

CIVIL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OF CHINA (中国民航)
Formed in 1949. Ceased operations in 1987, when it was split into six different airlines.

China United Airlines logo 中国聯合航空 标志

CHINA UNITED AIRLINES (中国聯合航空)
Founded in 1986. Fleet size: 14.

China Southwest Airlines logo 中国西南航空 标志

CHINA SOUTHWEST AIRLINES (中国西南航空)
Founded in 1987. Ceased operations in 2003.

Shanghai Airlines logo 标志

SHANGHAI AIRLINES
Founded in 1985. Fleet size: 66.

The symbol of Shanghai Airlines is a white crane adorning the red tail (of an aircraft)-shaped board. Its figurative meaning is that Shandong Airlines will make improvement despite all the difficulties safely and indomitably.

China Southwest Airlines logo 标志

CHINA SOUTHWEST AIRLINES (中国西南航空)
Founded in 1987. Ceased operations in 2003.

China Northwest Airlines Co., Ltd. logo 标志

CHINA NORTHWEST AIRLINES (中国西北航空公司)
Founded in 1989, ceased operations in 2002.

Guizhou Airlines logo

GUIZHOU AIRLINES
Founded in 1991. Fleet size: 1.

Xiamen Airlines logo 浙江航空 标志

XIAMEN AIRLINES (浙江航空)
Founded in 1984. Fleet size: 77.

According to the company he symbol of Xiamen Airlines is an egret adorning the blue sky signifying that happiness and good luck will always accompany their passengers.

China Xinjiang Airlines logo 标志

CHINA XINJIANG AIRLINES (浙江航空)
Founded in 1985. Acquired by China Southern Airlines in 2003.

Sichuan Airlines logo 标志

SICHUAN AIRLINES (四川航空公司)
Founded in 1986. Fleet size: 62.

Air Changan 标志

AIR CHANGAN (长安航空)
Founded in 1992. Fleet size: 4.

Zhejiang Airlines logo 标志

ZHEJIANG AIRLINES (浙江航空)
Merged into Air China in 2004.

Shenzhen Airlines 深圳航空公司 标志

SHENZHEN AIRLINES (深圳航空公司)
Founded in 1992. Fleet size: 110.

China Xinjiang Airlines 浙江航空 标志

CHINA XINJIANG AIRLINES (浙江航空)
Founded in 1985. Acquired by China Southern Airlines in 2003.

Civil Aviation Administration of China 中国民航 标志

CIVIL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OF CHINA (中国民航)
Formed in 1949. Ceased operations in 1987, when it was split into six different airlines.

China Flying Dragon Aviation 中国飞龙专业航空公司 标志

CHINA FLYING DRAGON AVIATION (中国飞龙专业航空公司)
Founded in 1981. Fleet size: 18.

Chengdu Airlines logo 标志

CHENGDU AIRLINES (成都航空有限公司)
Founded in 2004. Fleet size: 11.

Spring Airlines 春秋航空公司 标志

SPRING AIRLINES (春秋航空公司)
Founded in 2004. Fleet size: 26.

Northeast Airlines 東北航空 标志

NORTHEAST AIRLINES (東北航空)
Founded in 2006, rebranded as Hebei Airlines in 2010. Fleet size: 3.

Great Wall Airlines 長城航空 标志

GREAT WALL AIRLINES (長城航空)
Founded in 2006. Fleet size: 3

Identity designed by Dongdao Design, Beijing: “The symbol is composed of G and W, initial letters of “Great Wall”. It represents the difficult stunt a plane performs. Upward points stand for speed and strength. Blue is the color of industry and IT.”

United Eagle Airlines 成都航空有限公司 标志

UNITED EAGLE AIRLINES (成都航空有限公司)
Founded in 2004, renamed Chengdu Airlines in 2010. Fleet size: 11

Identity designed by Dongdao Design, Beijing: “According to our experience with airline companies, we decided to use the image of a soaring eagle as UEA’s symbol, as it reflects directly to the company’s name. We also made it abstract so that it looked stylish. The yellow logo against a blue background, a simple and modern combination, represents the youthful, powerful and positive image of an emerging airline company.”

Joy Air 幸福航空 标志

JOY AIR (幸福航空)
Founded in 2008. Fleet size: 6.

Identity designed by Dongdao Design, Beijing: “Our design idea comes from a swirling and blossoming lotus flower which symbolizes happiness and esp. life and vibrance in Buddhist philosophy. In the warm sunny color, the symbol signifies the attentive services that Joy Air provides to general public. It also looks a like a flying bird heading east where the company’s based. In all, the design has strong cultural reference which suits well with the client.”

Okay Airways 标志

OKAY AIRWAYS (奥凯航空公司)
Founded in 2004. Fleet size: 7.

Identity designed by Dongdao Design, Beijing: “The symbol resembles a flying plane that is modeled out of China’s traditional auspicious cloud. The focus is on “flying” and “cloud”, which imply the two qualities—security and fast—of the industry. We used purple as the main color to signify “The Purple Air comes form the East”.”

Tibet Airliness 西藏航空公司 标志

TIBET AIRLINES (西藏航空公司)
Founded in 2010. Fleet size: 1.

Identity designed by Dongdao Design, Beijing: “The idea originates from Khatag and scripture flag, two typical Tibetan elements. Khatag signifies sincerity and purity, hospitality and friendship with people of the world. The scripture flag is a token of a blessed trip. The wing-shaped symbol represents a promising future for the company. Also, it resembles a rainbow which hangs over the Roof of the World.”

Air China logo 中国国际航空公司 标志

AIR CHINA (中国国际航空公司)
Founded in 1988. Fleet size: 268.

Identity designed by Dongdao Design, Beijing: “We recreated a new VI for Air China by making adjustments to the logo and its font, while maintaining its originality: the red phoenix and Deng, Xiaoping’s handwriting. We also redesigned the interior of passenger cabins which deliver the important message of Air China, dedication in service.”
The phoenix logo is also the artistic transfiguration of the word “VIP”.

Shenzhen Airlines 深圳航空公司 标志

SHENZHEN AIRLINES (深圳航空公司)
Founded in 1992. Fleet size: 110.

The new identity was designed by Ideal Design, Beijing: Google’s translation of their motivation is hard to understand. The symbol is a depiction of a roc or Peng (two mythylogical birds). The logo expresses all the staff’s hope of being a vigorous and enterprising corporation, making progress all the time.

Chongqing Airlines 重庆航空 标志

CHONGQING AIRLINES (重庆航空)
Founded in 1997. Fleet size: 7.

Identity designed by Ideal Design, Beijing. The design is based on Eight Diagrams and the shape of the Yangtze River and Jialing River.

Donghai Airlines 深圳東海航空 标志

DONGHAI AIRLINES (深圳東海航空)
Founded in 2006. Fleet size: 4.

Logo and dentity designed by Ideal Design, Beijing. The depicts a seagull and/or aircraft engine fan blades.

Beijing Capital Airlines 标志

BEIJING CAPITAL AIRLINES (北京首都航空)
A subsidiary of Hainan Airlines, founded in 1995 as Deer Jet Airlines. Fleet size: 34.

Yangtze River Express 扬子江快运航空有限公司 标志

YANGTZE RIVER EXPRESS (扬子江快运航空有限公司)
Founded in 2003. Fleet size: 14.

Tianjin Airlines logo 标志

TIANJIN AIRLINES (天津航空)
Founded in 2004. Tianjin Airlines is the largest regional airline of China. Fleet size: 91.

Tianjin Airlines 标志

TIANJIN AIRLINES (天津航空)
Founded in 2004. Tianjin Airlines is the largest regional airline of China. Fleet size: 91.

Logo redesigned by SiVO, Beijing. The symbol is a depiction of the Jingwei bird, a character in Chinese mythology. In the story a young girl perished in the East Sea. After her death she chose to assume the shape of a bird in order to exact revenge upon the sea by bringing stones and small twigs from the mountains nearby over the sea in an effort to fill it up.

Hong Kong Express Airways 标志

HONG KONG EXPRESS (香港快運)
Founded in 2004. Fleet size: 4.

Hong Kong Airlines 标志

HONG KONG AIRLINES (香港航空)
Founded in 2001. Fleet size: 14.

Dragonair logo 标志

DRAGONAIR (港龍航空)
The flag carrier of Hong Kong, founded in 1985. Fleet size: 32.

AIRLINE LOGOS FROM CHINA AND HONG KONG

Whenever I come across something that’s designed in China it’s usually also “Made in China.” In most cases “Made in China” means that it looks cheap or it is cheap. But what about Chinese graphic design or logo design? Does that look cheap too? I had no idea. I know virtually nothing about Chinese design.

I tried to display the above images chronologically. Chinese companies that operate internationally usually have their name written in two languages (Tibet Airlines even three). The words in English of early logos all look very “Made in China.” Ugly, cheap-looking typefaces, bad kerning. Designers obviously payed more attention to the Chinese characters and callygraphy.

Some of the symbols – like the birds and dragons – are based on Chinese mythology. It’s one of the reasons why Chinese design is so unique. Or used to be unique. China has opened it’s borders. There’s also the internet. Large branding agencies like Landor and McCann-Erickson now have offices in China. The globalization of design. Most of the designs above were done by Chinese firms, but Western influences are already visible.

It’ll be interesting to see what the future will bring. Westernization of Chinese design, or easternization of the West?

  1. Kyle Kargov says:

    Great collection. As always, thanks for sharing.