THE MANY HOURS DEVOTED TOWARD CHOOSING THE NEW COLOR DESIGN FOR THE JUMBO JETS

1970-1971

 

The process

In a special edition of the EL ALON digest published in February 1972 and dedicated to the “Uniform Campaign 1972”, one reads the following:

“El Al being a small national company, working on a limited budget in an intensely competitive field of civil aviation, is acutely aware of the importance of the company’s image throughout the world. This is shown in many ways: in the type of advertising campaigns, in personal service campaigns, in the many hours devoted toward choosing the new color design for the jumbo jets, the panning of menus, the highly popular audio program ranging from Bible reading to Hassidic songs which can be heard by passengers travelling on the jumbos.”

Indeed, when the Management of El Al, under the leadership of Mordechai Ben Ari, took the historic decision to order the Boeing 747, it also decided that the introduction of the Jumbo Jet had to be underlined by a new color design.

To obtain the best result, the Management initiated a competition between two artists who had already – and very importantly – contributed in shaping the airline’s successful corporate identity throughout the 1960s, namely Dan Reisinger and Otto Treuman.

The artists

Otto Treuman was the Dutch graphic designer who had created the famous El Al square logo in 1962, in conjunction with El Al’s Design Consultant George Him. It can be noted that this logo was still El Al’s official logo at the time of that competition.

Israeli graphic designer Dan Reisinger had created several items for El Al including advertisements, posters, calendars, Rosh Hashana cards and plays for children. On some of these creations, Reisinger already introduced his concept of a unified Latin‑Hebrew logo for El Al, and he did so in his Boeing 747 color design. At the same time, he was also playing a central role in designing the interior decoration for the El Al 747 on the theme of “Jerusalem of Gold”.

The projects

Both Treuman and Reisinger worked on their respective projects in the Reisinger Studio in Givatayim. Regrettably, there seems to be no trace left from Otto Treuman’s project, as no document is to be found neither in the Archives of Otto Treuman in Amsterdam nor in the Archives of El Al. From descriptions by witnesses, the project of Treuman was based on the colors of the desert, with shades of ochre, brown, orange and red. Those shades were certainly also meant to fit with the stewardesses’ orange uniforms designed by Gideon Oberson and introduced just the year before, in 1969.

The project of Dan Reisinger, on the other hand, is known to all of us, as it overwhelmingly won the competition and graced El Al airplanes during more than three decades. This livery was very elegant in its design and incredibly striking in term of colors, giving El Al airplanes a very high degree of visibility. The dominant color was an eye-catching and unforgettable shade of light blue with greenish notes. A darker shade of blue was used as a contrast to put the light blue into value and also to refine the silhouette of the rear part of the 747 fuselage.

The unified logo integrating both the Latin and Hebrew alphabets was meant to symbolize the bridge which El Al represents between Israel and the world and between cultures, and it also allowed to make the best use of the elongated shape of the plane’s fuselage. In the mind of Dan Reisinger, it was clear that this sign would become the future logo of El Al. However, it is interesting to note that although the Management accepted this new arrangement of the El Al titles on the airplanes, it did not at all envision it then as a new corporate logo.

In Dan Reisinger’s initial project, the Israeli flag was represented by a large and dynamic Star of David on the blue tail, as can be seen on some photos of the scale model used for the presentation of the project. However, the Management of El Al decided to keep the existing design with the Israeli flag on top of the tail as it believed it was more in line with the company’s mission of national airline and flag carrier.

Conclusion

As we can see, El Al invested not only many hours in the selection of the new color design in 1970 but also a lot of care, going into every detail. This proved to be very efficient as it resulted in a highly elegant and powerful livery which gave El Al airplanes a totally unique stature for more than a quarter of a century.

El Al is presently in the process of updating its color design for the arrival of the Boeing 787 in 2017. Let us hope that many hours and a lot of care will be invested in order to get a beautiful result.

 

I would be very interested to learn more about the internal selection process of the 1971 livery and any other subject related to the history of El Al. I can be contacted (also in Hebrew) at d.weil@yahoo.com or through the Moreshet e-mail and team.

 

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אל עלון מס 83 30.12.1979
ג'מבו AXH-X4
המטוס נמסר לאל על בתאריך 21.12.1979. הגיע בטיסה העברה ישירה מסיאטל לפריס ובטיסה מסחרית מפריס לנתב"ג בתפוסה מלאה של נוסעים.
הצוות הטכני של המטוס כלל את הקברניטים מימי בן יוסף ועמרם שמר, קצין ראשון בן דוד, מהנדסי טייס יוחנן מוזס, יצחק זילברג וטוביה רביב.
תצורת המטוס 461 נוסעים במחלקת תיירות ו 10 נוסעים במחלקה ראשונה בסיפון העליון.     במקורו היה המטוס מטוס נוסעים לכל דבר. הוכנסו בו שיפורים טכניים וקוסמטיים לשיפור אמינות המערכות הקשורות לרווחת הנוסעים.
בשלהי שנת 1992 הוחלט להסב את המטוס למטוס "קומבי", נוסעים או מטען. העבודה נמסרה לחברת בואינג. במטוס הותקנה דלת מטען צדדית, הוגבהה תקרת החלק הקדמי של המטוס. חוזקה הרצפה ונעשו שינויים נדרשים נוספים. בתאריך 14.01.1993 הוחזר המטוס לאל על ומאז שימש לסירוגין כמטוס מטען או נוסעים על פי הדרישות המסחריות של החברה.
בחודש יולי 2006 נמכר המטוס לחברת המטענים הרוסית "Thetis Aviation Enterprise" שבסיס האם שלה היה שדה התעופה של לוקסמבורג. כעבור שנתיים (2008) החברה פשטה את הרגל וצוות המטוס שהיה באותו זמן בטיסה הנחית את המטוס בלוקסמבורג. לאחר הנחיתה הצוות חמק מהמטוס מתוך חשש שייעצר על ידי שלטונות השדה עקב חובותיה הגבוהים של החברה.
המטוס שהפך ל "אבן שאין לה הופכין" חנה בלוקסמבורג ומנהל השדה לא ידע מה לעשות איתו. כשהוחלף מנהל השדה, המנהל החדש החליט להפטר מהמטוס וביולי 2014 נגרס המטוס ונמכר לגרוטאות.
ערך, חנוך אפלמן
26.06.2016