Aircraft Cabin Management

PriestmanGoode produces new brand identity for Hainan Airlines


PriestmanGoode has produced a new brand identity for a Chinese airline.

Chris Parker, director at PriestmanGoode, says the project was challenging because of the wide scope of the brief and the tight deadline, which saw the whole project completed in just two years.

Hainan Airlines wanted to introduce a more sophisticated look and feel to the entire passenger experience, one that would appeal to both Chinese and International passengers. The airline has retained the current external livery but changed virtually everything else, from the aircraft cabin to ticket desks to food packaging.

PriestmanGoode for Hainan Airlines

Two key elements of the new brand are the Golden Garuda, a mythical bird,  which appears as a highly stylised logo, and a feather pattern, which HNA named the ‘Dream Feather’ concept. The feather motif was inspired by the Garuda and the association with flight more generally. It appears through variations – from details to abstracted patterns – to provide visual consistency throughout the passenger journey.

A noticeable difference is the reduction in the amount of red compared to the rest of the fleet. It makes an appearance because, along with gold, which is also present, it symbolises good fortune in Chinese culture.

The company also designed a new typography in Western and Chinese characters and a series of pictograms that are used across a wide range of 2D printed items. The shape of the characters and pictures incorporate the circle, curves and angles from the Golden Garuda and the new HNA logo.

PriestmanGoode for Hainan Airlines

The first aircraft to receive the new interior is a Boeing 787-9, the first of a batch of nine aircraft (it may be retrofitted to other aircraft in the fleet but no decision has yet been made). It has a three class layout, with Super Economy being introduced for the first time.

With no change to the external livery, the first touchpoint on the aircraft for the new design comes at the Door 2 entrance area, where there are large welcome panels on each side of the galley, one for Business Class, the other with the new airline logo.

Turning left, Business Class features 26 Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats in a 1-2-1 configuration (previously, 787s were 2+2), plus an isolated double unit. Fabrics from Lantal are used throughout the aircraft, including carpets and curtains, with the dress covers featuring a linear ribbon motif running horizontally across the seats.

This is combined with a 3D weave to create greater depth and comfort while yarns with a metallic sheen run through the fabric and catch the light, adding a sense of luxury to the interiors. In Business Class, warm grey and taupe colours are used. The seat shell has a contrasting soft Nomex liner from Replin.

A further modification is a PriestmanGoode-designed ambient light built into the literature pocket. Parker notes that the seats in Business and Economy are used elsewhere in the HNA fleet and there is only a small amount of customisation involved in the new aircraft.

Gold and champagne tones are used elsewhere in the cabin, including bulkhead foils, where a dense feather pattern has a metallic sheen to catch the light. The brand panel on the rear bulkhead has a machined and plated metal 3D logo. This feature also appears in the other two cabins, in different colourways.

Super Economy has three rows of Collins Aerospace MiQ seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. The colour palette is a mix of cool grey tones, although the seat belts provide a splash of red (they are black in Business to be less intrusive).

Red comes to the fore in Economy Class, featuring in the bulkhead panel and in the headrests and seat belts of the 247 Recaro CL3710 seats. These are in a 3-3-3 configuration (the rear fuselage taper means the last row has only six seats). IFE is provided by Panasonic.

The aircraft has the standard Boeing LED mood lighting system, but PriestmanGoode developed two special scenarios for HNA. The first takes passengers from a warm, golden tone at dinner, and gradually moves through shades of pinks and purples to deeper blues for night time. The second is inspired by dawn, and offers a mix of reds, pinks and blues.

The cabin is often where a design agency’s involvement with an airline will end but PriestmanGoode’s expertise in other industry sectors led to a much wider brief.

From its airport and hotel work, the studio could develop a visual link from the passenger experience on the ground to the cabin interiors.

The Premium check-in area for business and VIP passengers features branded back walls, custom desk designs, lighting and ceiling design, totems and wall finishes that incorporate the flow of the Dream Feather concept. The colours and materials reflect those onboard the aircraft, with tones of warm gold and beige.

The Economy class check-in also picks up on the finishes and colours onboard the aircraft and includes tones of greys and reds. The back wall features the Dream Feather brandmark while custom desk designs incorporate the flowing patterns of the Dream Feather motif.

From its transport work, it designed the passenger transfer buses, including a dedicated VIP and Business passenger bus. The new livery features the Dream Feather design, while the interiors of the bus reflect the design language, materials and finishes from the aircraft.

In addition, the studio’s branding specialists put a lot of work into transferring the feather motif to such things as sleepwear, meal items and glassware on the aircraft. On the ground, the Dream Feather appears on tickets and luggage tags, menus, wayfinding and digital screens.

An unusual design request was a birthday card, to be handed to passengers on board, while the unaccompanied minors’ documentation included a journey log, with meals eaten, that could be folded into a paper aeroplane.

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