British Midland International Logo

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British Midland International Logo
While British Midland International has ceased operation, the history of the BMI logo contains interesting material for research as it reflects the evolution of logo design since the 1950s.

Meaning and history

British Midland International Logo history

1956

While the company’s roots can be traced back to 1938, it was officially founded in 1946 as Derby Aviation Limited. The earliest-known logo appeared in 1956 when the airline started international services to Ostend, Belgium.
The centerpiece of the 1956 logo was a pair of letters, the “D” and “A,” the initials of “Derby Aviation.” A stylized wing could be seen above the “D.” The wing was extended beyond the circle in which the abbreviation “DA” was placed. The type was italicized.
When the company was renamed Derby Airways about three years later, there was no need for a new logo as the initials remained unchanged.

1964

After the company changed its name to British Midland Airways (BMA), it adopted a new logo. It featured a stylized aircraft in flight over the sky-blue background. The central part of the aircraft was formed by a stripe housing the lettering “BMA” in dark blue. The type looked very much like the Microgramma font.

1985

The airline shortened its name to British Midland (BM) and introduced a completely different emblem. It was now dominated by the letters “BM” formed by horizontal stripes, which made them somewhat similar to the IBM logo. The glyphs were italicized and red, which made the resemblance not so apparent. Also, the pattern was of a more dynamic quality due to the difference in the color density (the density was growing from the left to the right).
The top of the “M” contained a tilted white rhombus. Below the abbreviation, the full name of the airline in Univers Bold Italic could be seen. Similar to the letters above, it was also italicized, which reinforced the implied motion. The background was dark blue.
Although there was a lot of implied motion, this logo looked pretty heavy because of the bold letters, dark colors, and abundance of details.

1996

The introduction of the new logo was a natural part of the fleet renewal program the company carried out in 1996.
The updated version was by far lighter than its predecessor, and it was now easier to identify the company it belonged to. The emblem was dominated by the full name of the airline, while the “BM” mark grew smaller and moved to the left. While the monogram still featured the old shape and color, the heavy dark blue background disappeared.
While the diagonal serifs on some of the letters in the word “British Midland” introduced upward motion, it did not seem to fit the direction of the serifs on the “B” and “M,” while the angle at which the letters were positioned also differed from the angle at which the serifs were positioned. All these created a slightly cluttered effect, so it was difficult to perceive the logo as a single whole.

2001

The company was rebranded as BMI British Midland and went through one more update of the visual brand identity.
Now the BMI logo was by far simpler. Both the abbreviation “BMI” and the lettering “British Midland” above featured a rounded, streamlined sans serif where many of the sharp elements and angles had been removed or replaced by curves.
The distinctive “D’s” created an illusion of upward motion.
The logo was developed by the US-based brand consultancy Landor Associate. The company stated that the new brand identity: “is now based around the Brand Driver ‘speed with charm and style’.”

2003

When the company’s name was shortened to BMI, the lettering “British Midland” disappeared from the logo.

2010

The company started to use the full name hoping the words “British” and “International” would help to win the markets where the airline is relatively unknown. As a result, the British Midland International logo grew more cluttered.
The abbreviation, which was now white and more rounded, moved into a blue 3D circle. The full name was added to the left. The type it featured was somewhat similar to the one used for “BMI” but was not exactly the same. This was hardly a beneficial approach in terms of the integrity of the image.
Logo British Midland International
While the light blue color supported the sky (and thus aviation) theme, it was a little too transparent to be perfectly legible.
Two years after this logo was introduced, BMI was sold to IAG.

Company overview

BMI was headquartered in Donington Hall in Castle Donington, UK, while its operational base was located at London Heathrow Airport. At its peak, the airline operated over 2,000 flights a week.