Few industries have produced as iconic design as the airlines, a trend that started in the 1950s and continues today, at least for some airlines, said Matthias Huhne, author of the book, Airline Visual Identity 1945-1975.

“Finding the essence of what a company stands for — or should stand for — and translating this into a corporate design is a highly complex procedure,” Huhne said in September at the Skift Global Forum in New York City. “Successful designs will greatly contribute to a company’s perception in a competitive environment.”

In a 15-minute talk, Huhne compared approaches used by various airlines, including Swissair, Pan Am, Lufthansa and United.

Huhne is particularly laudatory of Pan Am, which he called a “master of effective publicity and marketing.”

“Pan Am, of course, was the most influential airline, a great innovator and pioneer, the first truly global airline, and a company we remember around the world even today, almost 25 years after its shocking end,” he said.

Watch Huhne’s full presentation on airline branding below.

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2017 events, including our London event in April of 2017.

Photo Credit: Matthias Huhne could be the world's foremost expert in airline branding. He spoke in September at the Skift Global Forum. Skift