The Boeing logo is easily one of the most noticeable logos in the world. You can hardly mention airplanes without thinking about it. The logo – blue in colour – combines a logotype and a stratotype typeface in a simple but sophisticated manner. That the logo still maintains the name of its founder, speaks volumes for itself. Indeed, the Boeing logo remains an iconic symbol of what one can achieve if they dare to dream. The company’s logo has undergone numerous modifications since it was first adopted. The following is a short history of Boeing and its logo.
Boeing was founded by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington, in the year 1916. William, a college dropout, started out as a lumberman – a business he had learnt from his father. Fascinated by airplanes, William enrolled for flying courses; upon completion, he started thinking about constructing one himself. With the help of a little more than ten men, some of whom were technically gifted – he designed what would become the first Boeing airplane. This was all done within a factory based in a small building, and the finances came from his inheritance.
Following the successful construction of a second plane, Boeing Airplane Company came into being, and was awarded a contract by the US government to construct 50 trainer airplanes for the US Navy during World War 1. Shortly thereafter, the company ventured into the airmail business and launched its first logo in 1928. This logo was basically a vertical winged totem and did a lot to promote the image of Boeing as an airmail service provider.
World War II and on
During the Second World War, Boeing was very instrumental in the provision of warplanes for the American Air Forces. While men went to the battlefront, women joined in the fray and worked tirelessly in the manufacture of military aircraft models like the B – 17 Flying Fortress, and the B – 29 Super Fortress. Between 1942 and 1944, the production rate increased rapidly, from about 60 to over 360 planes a month. Though Boeing Airplane Company had left an indelible mark in terms of contributing to America’s triumph in the Second World War, the years following the war proved to be very difficult as the US military stopped ordering bombers. Boeing again turned its focus to commercial airplane production, under its new President, William M. Allen. It was during his reign in 1947, that the totem – based logo was changed to a simple new trademark – the word ‘Boeing’. This typeface was done using the stratotype font. Throughout the following decades – up till the 1990’s – the typeface was used in conjunction with plane model numbers and was numerously modified and redrawn.
During the year 1997, following a merger with its compatriot, the McDonnell Douglas Corp., the Boeing Airplane Company modified its logo. This new venture culminated in the joining of the McDonnell Douglas symbol – a sphere with ring around it – to the classic ‘Boeing’ typeface that we see today. Though it might look simplistic, it is certainly refreshing and serves to prove the fact that the company still pays homage to its founder!