American Airlines is renowned for keeping its classic Red, White and Blue scheme from 1968-2013 but the livery before it didn't have such a long-term impact. Whilst investigating some aspects of American's history I chanced across some more information on the Astrojet scheme that pre-dated the 1968 livery and so I thought I'd pull together a quick post on the topic.
AA was inspired to rename its aircraft Astrojets by the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach. The same agency had at the time recently turned the Volkswagen Beetle from an ugly German car into a cult counter-culture classic.
It seems it wasn’t until the delivery of the first 727-023 in January 1964 that the full new livery and logo were put on the actual aircraft. The new ellipse logo was placed on the tail and the lightning bolt on the fuselage modified to a pointed end. The titles were also streamlined. The new colours were officially international orange and astrojet blue.
Apparently one of the reasons C.R. Smith was ok with all the changes was that his brother Bill had joined AA as director of corporate design. He sought the advice of the design firm Visual Marketing Inc. and their opinion was that American had too many variations in visual identification. This is what led to the adoption of the new logo as the main livery feature and the retirement of the previous orange markings.
It doesn’t seem like the livery was particularly well liked and apparently some employees referred to it as “the squashed egg”. Within less than four years American would be looking for a new visual identity and of course the next one would stick.
For a full livery history of American Airlines see:
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: