AirIndia: a custom font honoring local culture for a global airline
The language and letterforms of a culture are authentic expressions of its identity. How can a company pay homage to them while also being prepared to fly all over the world? We embarked on this challenge together with FutureBrand’s London studio for AirIndia, the biggest airline in a country that is now home to the largest population in the world.
Together, we designed a unique typeface that has both global appeal and regional character. The font is strong and extended with intricate details inspired by Indian culture. We explored 18 design concepts across multiple time zones — Brazil, London, France, and India — refining them collaboratively until we found the style that seamlessly integrates with the identity being designed.
The font’s wide horizontal proportions and round letters with a squarish look bring structure, solidity, and authority. In letters like ‘M’ or ‘W’, there is a noticeable curve where the diagonals meet. This is inspired by the iconic Indian window frame and is a unique feature that has been part of AirIndia’s identity since its foundation — now redesigned to have an even greater impact. The stems of the letters ‘T’ and ‘J’ have subtle movements rooted in calligraphic movements, creating authenticity and distinction.
“Our bespoke typeface is beautiful. It has personality and gravitas, in this world where there are so many characterless typefaces everywhere. Here, even if you’re seeing a communication that has no visuals, it will be instantly recognizable because these letterforms are so much part of our identity.” — Tasneem Ali, Chief Creative Officer, FutureBrand India
“The studio Fabio Haag Type was a reliable, punctual, and more importantly, fantastic creative partner. We appreciated their flexibility and ability to pivot with us to find some really good solutions that worked for us and the client. The AirIndia custom typeface is a great solution they will use for many years to come.” — Paul Silcox, Executive Creative Director, FutureBrand London
The result is a cohesive identity system that genuinely reflects AirIndia’s rich history and personality, making every word instantly recognizable.
Fabio Haag, Eduilson Coan, Henrique Beier and Ana Laydner. FutureBrand: Paul Silcox, Vincent Châtel and Tasneem Ali. Logotype: Rob Clarke