Airport Branding: A Logo’s Worth a Thousand Words


Paris Logo
Paris Aéroport advertisement. Image via Paris Aéroport

APEX Insight: Logos are one way airports aim to differentiate themselves and attract travelers. Sometimes they do so by appealing to passengers’ emotions, as Virgin America did with its April Fools’ Day joke and as Paris Aéroport is doing with its declaration of love: “Paris Vous Aime.” Recent airport rebranding initiatives suggest a move towards bold, graphic designs that reflect a city’s cultural, architectural and geographical characteristics.

Paris Aéroport, the authority that owns and manages fourteen civil airports and airfields in and around Paris, recently introduced a new logo. The updated brand logo has an abstract, Eiffel Tower-shaped silhouette that replaces the old logo’s more whimsical Eiffel Tower with wings.  Along with the updated logo is a new tagline: “Paris Vous Aime” (Paris Loves You).

Memphis International Airport logo.
Memphis International Airport logo. Image via Memphis International Airport

Logos are one way airports aim to differentiate themselves and attract travelers by appealing to emotions or reflecting the city’s culture. Memphis International Airport’s logo does this by having a musical note incorporated into its design – fitting for a city known for pioneering several genres of American music. And then there’s Denver International Airport’s logo, which incorporates the design of the airport’s architecturally compelling roofline, which itself reflects the area’s Rocky Mountains. The logo’s design also includes the letters of its DEN airport code.

At London Luton Airport, a recent rebrand has its logo containing modular blocks that spell out the letters “LLA” in bold colors. The new, contemporary design is part of a total airport rebrand seeking to call attention to the airport’s unique benefits in London’s competitive market: its easy-to-navigate, compact structure and geographical location 30 miles north of the city.


london luton airport logo
London Luton Airport’s modular logo design. Image via Identity Designed.

Some logos, though, can attract negative reactions. At the beginning of April, Virgin America released a video presenting its suggestive “new logo.” It was, of course, an April Fools’ Day joke but while most who reacted seemed to appreciate the humor, a minority of the video’s commenters seemed confused or disapproving.

Since life is said to be about the journey and not the destination, maybe an airport’s logo has a small but noticeable role to play along the way.