Too blue for Lufthansa? The new livery might be changing

Lufthansa‘s new livery certainly drew plenty of attention when it was announced earlier this month. A new blue on the tail and the removal of the yellow generated lots of feedback online; plenty of that was negative. And now it seems that there might be change afoot. An internal company communication shared on a German travel message board suggests that the blue color is not presenting the way the company expected. Combined with other issues in the new branding this may see the Lufthansa Group revisit the decision and adjust the look.

The new Lufthansa blue livery on the ground against grey skies in Johannesburg.
The new Lufthansa blue livery on the ground against grey skies in Johannesburg.

Here’s a mostly literal translation of the internal text:

Since our first two planes with the updated livery landed on many places of this world we noticed that for instance the blue plaint on the plane appears to be significantly darker than in the test environment – especially in adverse weather conditions. In this regard we will work on an optimization. Additionally we will also design a version which can combine the Lufthansa Group word mark with the crane logo. The combination of Lufthansa Group with the crane [logo] will then be used in clearly specified constellations [combinations].

For us this is part of a dynamic process. In the long run it is important that the new design works everywhere. Practical experience is better than any theory. Thus we will continue to collect hands-on feedback in all areas of application and readjust where required.

Reading into the nuance of the original German is not something I’m particularly qualified to do. A colleague who does speak German natively suggests that the phrasing of the response – and especially publicly acknowledging the issues – indicates that this is more than just paying lip service to complaints. The phrasing of practical experience trumping theory is particularly telling.

Read More: So, Lufthansa has a new livery and…

The tail does come across as dark, particularly against grey skies. The missing accent color (formerly the yellow crane) also makes it harder for the livery to stand out against other aircraft at an airport. The crane is nearly invisible in the shot above, contrasting notably with the other distinctive liveries there.

At the same time, it is entirely unclear that the livery matters in consumers’ choice when booking flights. I know that marketing works on the grand scale. Billions upon billions are spent proving that fact regularly. I understand that good branding can help a company while bad branding hurts. Seems like Lufty may have screwed up on that front this time around.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Just when I was starting to get used to the new “premium” livery. But I did point out the “is it blue or is it black?” quagmire to their livery meistro from Aerobrand.

  2. My take. The removal of the yellow, a cornerstone of their brand, has a sinister reason behind it. Designed to make customers expect less. In a subtle way, the message is we will give you less. Like a restaurant switching to paper napkins. There is no other valid eason to eradicate such a key element of the brand. Are they preparing passengers for a reduction in comfort, amenities, etc? That is my take. Imagine McDonalds without the M arch!

  3. I think this rebranding scheme will go down as one of the big corporate flops. There was no need to change a timeless design IMHO. Of course time marches on and the thinking always is about ‘new, new’ and the younger generations. That said, removing the yellow was the biggest mistake. Tweaking the size, even stylist of the crane would not be a big issue. Look at Qantas’ new metrosexual Kangaroo design, but it still is recognizable as a Roo and they kept the colours.

  4. i speak german and looked up the original post. hard to read anything into it but i agree this is more than just an attempt to silence critics. on the one side a revision of a brand project like this is never desirable, let alone planned. on the other, i’m certain that the brand team expected controversial responses specifically from the opinionated internal folks and the critical german public. giving up the yellow is a sacrilege for many. testing a livery comprehensively without letting the cat out the hat is a difficult task. i’m sure they wish the would have put more effort into testing. considering al of those dynamics i have respect for lh not being stubborn but trying to get it right, even if everybody is watching.

  5. Good news is that they are considering user feedback, otherwise, they have to work on it ASAP

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