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30 July 2007

Not much to notice in the Qantas rebrand.



As DIFFUSION mentioned in our 21 July blog Qantas needs more than a logo makeover the world's most profitable airline unveiled a new version of the iconic flying kangaroo last week.

In a company annoucement, Qantas Executive General Manager John Borghetti claimed the new design was part of Qantas' "increasing focus on contemporary design for its in-flight and on-the-ground products" but DIFFUSION accepts that the logo change was more to do with the requirement that the new logo fit the new A380s it will start taking delivery of this time next year.

Qantas went to Sydney based design company Hulsbosch for the work, rather than to a specialist brand agency.

Accompanying the logo redesign, is a change in the corporate typeface to a more modern grey sans serif for the airline.

What's most interesting will be to see whether customers will see any real benefit from the rebrand. In visual theory, it just registers against the Difference Threshold (or what is also known as "Just Noticeable Difference") under the widely regarded Weber's Law, which determines the minimum amount by which stimulus intensity must be changed in order to produce a noticeable variation in sensory experience. So the more sleeker, angular kangaroo is a slight variation on the 1984 rebrand.

Ernst Weber, a 19th century experimental psychologist, observed that the size of the difference threshold appeared to be lawfully related to initial stimulus magnitude. This relationship has since been known as Weber's Law.

We're not sure if either Hulsbosch or Mark Newson know about Weber's law, but certainly Qantas going to have to go a lot further to deliver tangible benefits to both customers and shareholder. Focussing on the perceptible physical displays (brand marks, livery, seating, cabin design) is far easier than looking at the more underlying brand problems than can cause sudden unexplainable shifts in brand perception. With a six year time frame to repaint the entire fleet with the new logo, they certainly have some time to get things right.

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