When the eagle becomes a ribbon: Matters arising in the design of the Nigeria Air visual identity
By: Etiido EffiongWilliam Inyang


Sometime in early 2015, General Muhamadu Buhari, the then-presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), a frontline opposition political party in Nigeria broached the idea of revamping the defunct national flag carrier airline and returning it to the skies. Many may have thought that the promise was part of the usual campaign rhetoric by Nigerian politicians that must just be heard and not taken seriously. But alas, more than three years after the idea was muted, precisely on the 18th of August 2018, Mr Hadi Sirika, the Honourable Minister of State for Transport, made bold to fulfil the promise by the Buhari-led Federal Government at the Farnborough air show in London. It was the launching of the new national airline and the unveiling of its new brand identity. By that single action, the hope to accomplish the campaign promise and activate the desire to rejoin the league of African nations with a national carrier………..

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See for example Cherished Phola 2018 “3 shocking design errors in the new Nigeria airways logo”. A YouTube short video document. http//www.pholarstudio.com. see also, victor Fatanmi “why do you think the new Nigeria air logo is ugly” Techpoint Africa, https: //techpoint Africa/…07/20/Nigeria-air-logo/

This animated video is also available on Youtube. See for example

Armstrong, J. Scott 2010. Persuasive Advertising: Evidence-based Principles, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 224. See also, https://brainblaze.com/bill-said-william-bernbach-quotes-ddb/

See for example, “Airlines of the world – Nigerian Airways,” Flight 77(2665):505. April 1960. Archived from the original on 10 January 2013, Pdf file.

See also, The Bureau of European Designer’s Association (BEDA), 2000. The value of design to the European economy, European competitiveness and innovation through design, Report No.1, Brussels: Biblioteque Solvay. Pdf file.

For the avoidance of doubt, a signature is the specific and non-negotiable designed combination of “brandmark and the logotype. It is expected that for effective cognition of the visual identity, designers fashion an acceptable signature orientation for all identity touchpoints of the company. See Wheela, Alina 2009. Designing Brand Identity: an essential guide for the whole branding team, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, p.50.

See empirical studies illustrated in Armstrong, 2010, pp 226-227.

See Berryman, Gregg, 1990. Notes on Graphic Design and Visual Communication, Menlo Park, CA: Crisp Publications, p. 1.

The British Airways ribbon logo was designed in 1997 by Newell & Sorell to replace the speedbird symbol first used by the imperial Airways in 1932. See for example, British Airways Liveries 1974-2015, https://www.yesterdaysairlines.com/ba-liveries-1974-2015.html

See Berryman, pp. 8-9.

See Wheela, Alina 2009. pp 31, 42-43.

See for example, Inyang, Etiido 2012, Logo for the typical client: Reflections on the theory and practice of the business mark and visual identity. Port Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press Ltd., pp. 71-72. Under the principle of irradiation, the figure/ground relationship between the tonal weights can affect the overall perception of the colours used for the brand mark.

Berryman, p.12

AP is one of the national brands in the lucrative downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. It features on the visual identity radar as one of the few national companies that executed a brand makeover in three quick successions. The shield was redesigned twice after the initial brand launch in 1977 due to its vulnerability to reproduction “demons.” The attendant cost implication of these avoidable makeovers can be better imagined.


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