A Brand New Airport

While I was still deliberating joining R+K, Sujata Keshavan (R+K | Brand Union MD) mentioned to me that we might be doing the Bangalore International Airport Identity. It was a fantastic piece of news I thought – after all you don’t get to do an Airport identity every other day. Its a once in a career opportunity – or as it was to prove with my first year at The Brand Union – twice in a year one. My first interaction with the Bangalore Airport (the old one along Airpot Road en route to Whitefield) was a complete disappointment. It was a chaotic, overcrowded terminal – the outside was no more reassuring – neither was the traffic on the arterial roads. My memories of Bangalore were of a city in the ago when the Airport was pretty much on the outer fringes. Over a period of time as I began to accept the city as it was – I began to find other facets. The flowers on my windscreen, a number of roads where the trees criss-crossed and hid the skies, the changing colours in the misdt of greens – bright orange, flaming reds, soft lilacs, pinks and whites.

We had already started the work on the Airport logo by then, emphasizing that the identity must connect the airort to the city, just as the airport would connect the city to the world outside. A number of routes were explored, hundreds of sketches revised, redrawn and reviewed. The crossroads of in our approach ws at the juncture of the old and the new. Should we look at a youthful, vibrant Bangalore – India’s Silicon Valley or the timeless city of mild weather and gardens?

We opted for the latter, supported by the views of Bangaloreans both young and old, the ones that would frequent the new Airport and the ones who would possibly watch from a distance, until someday they to were passengers. Our choice was ratified by a number of articles in media (around end of 2007), questioning the good that sudden implantation of western MNCs had bought to cities like Bangalore – questioning if all citizens of the new Silicon Valley were indeed happy on the newly acquired status. The answer, the articles suggested, were a clear negation.

The Garden city route was the preferred one, after all Bangalore was better known for its various parks and gardens (and lakes or kere) than its monuments (some of them fairly recent in comparison to its Parks). The current logo, in different hues, made it to the shortlist. And then to the next round and the one after. My colleagues changed the colours, refined the forms and redefined the transparency. The clients voted overwhelmingly for this option (they could have retained an existing marque but didn’t). It was a journey of over 7 months, a journey marked by learning and discovery – of losing and finidng a city that many of us now call home.

The graceful, soft forms hints at the act of air travel – of converging and again of flying outwards. The colours are vibrant, the overlap emphasizes the rich tapestry that is a multi-cultural cosmopolitan city such as Bangalore. The colours of the logo are meant reflect the natural environs – the bright hues of the flowers, the softer teal green that represents both water and greens – leaves and grass. The symbol hovers above the typography like a hummingbird in perfect balance. The decision to put in the words Bengaluru instead of Bangalore was in a sense, to pay tribute to its founding fathers – to uncover its roots and be proud of it, whilst being contemporary, responsive and modern in every other aspect. The abridged BLR still holds as good.

Seen against a number of Airport logos with a ‘city-connect’, the Bangalore Airport logo is fresh and distinctive – its colours typically Indian – a free, festive spirit, reflecting the spirit of Bangalore.