Retro Airline Logos

Logos Gone Retro

I was chatting with one of my #avgeek friends about airline logos and how they've evolved throughout the decades. So of course, I had to create a Pinterest board - Retro Airline Logos. Below are 12 of my favorite picks.

  • 01 of 12
    Image courtesy of

    This is the original logo of the Dallas-based carrier, founded in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1928 by brothers Thomas and Paul Braniff. The logo was used during the airline's first two years of service. The airline shut down abruptly on May 12, 1982.

  • 02 of 12
    Image courtesy of

    The classic "widget" was used by the Atlanta-based carrier from 1962 to 1997. It was first introduced on the carrier's Douglas DC-8 jets in 1962 and became standard across the fleet in September 1968. It was replaced in 1997 by the interim logo, which featured red and blue colors with the word Delta in white. The current logo is a stylized version of the widget.

  • 03 of 12
    Image courtesy of

    The Tokyo-based carrier used this logo -- called Arc of the Sun -- between 1959 and 1989. The Tsurumaru logo was drawn by Jerry Huff, creative director for a San Francisco-based advertising agency, to help prepare the carrier for the jet age. Between 1989 and 2011, the airline used two different logos featuring the initials JAL. In 2011, Japan's flag carrier brought back the original Tsurumaru logo.

  • 04 of 12
    Image courtesy of

    The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier was bought by a businessman in the state in 1934. In that same year, the legendary C.R Smith was tapped to run the airline and the rebranded airline unveiled this new logo. It was used by the airline until 1945.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12
    Image courtesy of

    This is the classic "meatball" logo used by the Houston-based carrier from 1967 to 1991. It was designed by Saul Bass, an iconic graphic designer and Oscar-winning filmmaker. He created logos for companies including United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, AT&T, General Foods and the YWCA. The logo was replaced with the globe logo, designed by New York-based branding and strategy consulting firm Lippincott & Marguiles in February 1991. 

  • 06 of 12

    This logo was used by the Honolulu-based carrier from 1940 to 1973. It first appeared on the airline's fleet of Douglas DC-3s. The airline moved over to its iconic Pulani logo, created by Landor Associates, in 1973. 

  • 07 of 12

    The Chicago-based carrier, founded as Varney Speed Lines, used this logo for only a brief time - 1939 to 1940. The airline switched to a more simplified shield in 1940, and it was used until 1954.

  • 08 of 12

    This logo was used by the Miami-based carrier from 1936 until 1960, with some variations. The logo was designed by Cardwell Higgins, an artist and illustrator who also worked on movie posters and pulp fiction book covers.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    In 1955, the Miami-based carrier hired architect Edward Larrabee as a design consultant. As the airline prepared to bring on the Boeing 707, he and his partner replaced the old globe and wing logo with the iconic blue globe overlaid with curved parabolic lines. They also made royal blue the airline's official color. The logo was used until the airline's demise on December 4, 1991.

  • 10 of 12

    This carrier, based at Denver's Stapleton Airport, was formed after three airlines -- Arizona Airways, Challenger Airlines, and Monarch Airlines -- merged in 1950. Its logo was created by iconic designer Saul Bass in 1978 and was used until the airline shut down in 1986. He also did logos for Continental Airlines and United Airlines. A variant of the logo is being used by the current iteration of Frontier Airlines.

  • 11 of 12

    The predecessor airline of British Airways used this logo from 1965 to 1974. It's a version of the iconic Speedbird logo, created in 1932 by art deco artist Theyre Lee-Elliott for Imperial Airways, another predecessor to British Airways.

  • 12 of 12

    The Hawaiian-based carrier, formed in July 1946, used the "flower power" logo from 1979 to 1989. The airline competed fiercely with Hawaiian Airlines but shut down in March 2008.