Snowbird: the new design-centric airline from the North

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It is nice to see charter airlines making a real effort to roll out a cool nicely-designed branding strategy, we saw it last summer when we covered Small Planet Airlines and here is another great example: out of Finland comes Snowbird Airlines.

The aim of this fresh project, a charter airline, is not only to carry holidaymakers to and from Finland, but also to act as a sort of public display for Finnish products (food, handicrafts, design). Snowbird is actually inviting those small businesses, food producers and designers that wish to be featured on-board to submit their proposals.

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This is one of the aspects of this project that I found most interesting:  the Snowbird Airlines brand, whose logo was designed by Sami Wirkkala, has been developed from the very beginning with the idea that it might also be used "on the ground", as a sort of "lifestyle brand", for example by opening brick-and-mortar stores where it would be possible to find the unique Nordic products that will be promoted on board. Certainly not the first airline to leverage the aspirational strength of a brand strongly linked to travel and enjoyment, but remarkable that in this case, this aspect of business takes such the stage in such an obvious way.

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Snowbird Airlines has even developed a "sister brand", called Lumilintu (which means "Snowbird" in Finnish) that,  sporting the same logo as the airline, is going to undertake all these related marketing activities.

This focus on design reminds me a little bit of Nippon Nordic Air, the imaginary "ideal airline" dreamed up by Monocle magazine back in 2010. We are not quite there yet, but it, certainly, feels quite natural to see Nordic airlines at the forefront when it comes to taking a design-centric approach to new airline development.