The market of airline liveries is ever-growing and is a topic that has captivated the modern design world. What exactly is airline livery, and what do their designers do?
Well, we sat down with Edmond Huot, a Creative Director and Airline Livery Designer, to answer all our burning questions about his work field. Huot’s latest project was with Northern Pacific Airways, designing their brand-new livery in San Bernardino.
Let’s hear from Huot on his creativity, and how he got into such a niche workspace.
Q: How do you find inspiration as a creative director?
A: Being in the business for more than thirty years exposes you to a lot. I remain curious and open to the world—traveling, meeting people, and always framing and curating my experiences.
Growing up on a rural farm in Canada, devoid of cable TV and city-living, I was extremely bored and, hence, was forced to use my imagination. As an early av-geek and disaster movie fan, I would lose myself in thought—creating entire story plots and visual scenes with model airplanes that I’d build, play with outside, and ultimately crash in some snow bank! I spent countless hours drawing planes on discarded paper bags and would act out scenes from Arthur Hailey’s Airport in my bedroom.
For me, creativity started with storytelling and creating entire fantasy worlds in my head. Years later, my talent for drawing and sense of theatrics led me to advertising, where those same core passions drive my professional pursuits to this day.
Q: Tell us your favorite part about having a career in such a creative filed.
A: Beyond the initial conceptual phase, where my team and I get to stretch our imaginations and aspirations, there’s nothing—and I mean NOTHING—that compares to walking into an aircraft hangar to see (for the first time) my design applied to a 137,000lb 155 ft long Boeing 757-200 series. The sheer scale of this aircraft in all of its aerodynamic and technological beauty is beyond extraordinary. It’s truly life-affirming!
Q: Can you explain exactly what an airline livery is?
A: A livery is synonymous with a ‘uniform.’ An airplane’s livery refers to the painted decal on the exterior of the plane. A plane wears a uniform the same way a chef or a doorman wears a uniform.
Folks within the aviation and travel industry are fascinated with plane liveries because not only a feat to paint such a large canvas but liveries are only changed once every 10-15 years.
Q: Did you encounter struggles while working on the Northern Pacific Airway livery?
A: A hurdle early on for me was understanding who the customer would be. Unlike larger, full-service multinational firms with the ability to cover more ground in terms of research and analysis, our agency is a smaller, more boutique company. We had to move fast, be resourceful, and quickly prioritize the core issues.
I worked closely with the client to better understand Asian cultural significance and hot points. At the same time, I was also speaking with the local team in Anchorage to highlight any concerns around misrepresenting their local indigenous communities.
Additionally, I developed a range of target profiling decks broken down into general categories such as leisure, business, and regulatory audiences. From there, I weaved all of those gathered quantitative insights into more contextualized thematic storytelling that gave a greater, more compelling meaning and purpose to the customer.
I titled the story: “We Are All Navigators.” So much of the subsequent design, including colors, typography, and positioning came from these valuable insights. By turning those data points into a greater story, I was able to elevate the brand in a more consumer-centric manner.
Another challenge that is often faced by start-up airlines involves maximizing relatively small resources. How do I make the most out of a budget? Both the investors as well as the operators are extremely sensitive to how we go about spending time and money. You’ve got to get it right the first time.
Q: What was the best part about creating for North Pacific Airways?
A: Northern Pacific will be the first airline that I fly on featuring my work. And for the record, when I say ‘my work,’ I really mean my team’s work. I could never do this without the help and dedication of some truly talented and inspired individuals. That is what’s really worth bragging about!
Q: What can we expect from Edmond Huot in the future?
A: I am looking forward to showcasing some new project work for another start-up airline based in Canada. Unfortunately, because of its sensitive nature, I can’t share any details at this point. I also want to expand my creative and design repertoire with travel and transportation-related assignments including private jet travel and environmental design application.