Our team was sitting on the tarmac in Seattle recently, and while staring out the window saw an Alaska Airlines plane completely covered in Disney and Pixar characters. At that moment, a light bulb went off: the plane we were staring at was one big, beautiful package.
We design packaging at L&A, so granted, we tend to notice it everywhere we look. And this example does what all good packaging should—it holds the product Alaska Airlines sells—travel, comfort, safety, fun—both literally and figuratively. As a package, the Alaska Airlines plane is as much a part of the Alaska experience as the flight itself.
To appreciate the distinction of Alaska’s themed planes, let’s take a look at the Alaska Airlines standard design: it’s clean, mostly white, with the distinctive wordmark on the body and Eskimo graphic on the tail.
The themed planes really stand out in contrast, yet don’t dilute brand identity in the process.
A variety of wildly illustrated designs reflect partnerships, sponsorships, and commemorations. The Disney “Cars” plane is the fifth in that series, and was used during a Make-A-Wish Foundation event to fly children and their families to Disneyland for a holiday.
Other themed packages include planes promoting the Portland Timbers soccer team, the state of Hawaii and its “Spirit of the Islands,” and wild Alaska seafood. These planes are essentially flying billboards that touch down in airports not only on the West Coast but also around the country. The artwork on both the Timbers plane and the Spirit of the Islands plane was generated through “Paint-the-Plane” contests, providing another promotional opportunity for the airline.
Alaska Airlines’ fresh take on packaging works effectively to attract attention, promote the airline’s sponsorships and partnerships, and of course, reinforce the Alaska Airlines brand. We gathered a few examples below.
What are you selling and how can its package be more clever, impactful and engaging?