In September of 2014, China Eastern Airlines announced their new livery just weeks prior to the delivery of their first Boeing 77W (777-300ER), which was painted in the update livery. It was a much-needed update, as the old livery was living far beyond its expiration date. As can be seen in the picture below, it featured a classic blue and red circular logo on the tail with what appears to be a white crane over top. Running down the fuselage is a blue, red, and gold cheat-line that opens up near the front. The words “China Eastern” and its equivalent in Chinese are printed above the passenger windows in a very bland and inauthentic typeface. To finish it off, there’s a tiny black spot on the nose (used to protect the radar dome) and a black area in the shape of a crescent in front of the main cockpit windows. These features, especially the cheat-line and tail desgin, were very common among aircraft in the 80’s, but are quite rarely seen nowadays, which is why the livery appears somewhat outdated.
As much as the old livery was in need of an update, it looks like a piece of museum-quality art in comparison to the “updated” version, which is again shown below. This thing is hands-down the cheapest, blandest, and least creative airline livery that I have every seen. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, as this is the kind of quality that you should expect from Chinese companies, who either don’t understand or don’t care about this thing called corporate identity and don’t have a culture of paying attention to details. Sure the livery looks simplistic, but not in the right way. A simplistic design isn’t just about getting rid of as much as possible to create a no-frills product. Instead, the idea is to substitute a single well-thought out design element (for example a line, shape, or color) for a complex group of several while retaining the same amount of thoughtfulness in the design. That’s not what happened here with China Eastern. It seems like they tried to axe the embellishing details such as the cheat-line from the old design, and replace all of it with something that’s essentially the bare minimum needed for a livery slapped onto a white frame. The only thing they kept was the typeface, which just so happens to be what they should’ve gotten rid of. The logo (and the livery in general) has just lost any sort of character or identity. Whoever designed China Eastern’s new livery should probably consider a different career path. Seriously.
For further reading (an analysis done by a website focused on brand identities): http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/new_logo_and_livery_for_china_eastern_airlines_by_bang.php#.Vp48Keh96Uk