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Kulula Airlines: Fun on Airplanes

I Just Flew In. And Boy Are My Arms Tired.

When I say fun on airplanes, I really mean on airplanes.

Kulula Airlines (a South African low-fare airline) clearly gets the idea of playful design. Take a gander.

Highlights (see more photos):

  • “fuel tanks (the go-go juice)”
  • “the big cheese (‘captain, my captain’)”
  • “jump seat (for wannabe pilots)”
  • loo (or mile-high club initiation chamber)”
  • “rudder (the steering thingy)”
  • “landing gear (comes standard with supa-fly mags)”
  • black box (which is actually orange)”

Forget Shamu airplanes or special edition tails painted like the American Southwest. This is way better.

Playful Design. A New Design Movement?

It’s common to differntiate historical movements in design — Art Deco, Bauhaus, Neo Classicism, Modernism, etc. I’ve noticed in recent history (especially the past decade) that there’s been a general trend in advertising, architecture, art, music, etc. toward something that is on the whole much more playful than that which came before. Case in point? This Kulula jet’s jokey neon green livery (or even note the smile’s about page).

Think about it. What are the things you pass around online with your friends and family and coworkers? What are your favorite commercials? What style of marketing communication on packages or billboards best draws your attention? I argue that a significant portion of those things we most respond to — at least at this point in history — are rooted in playfulness. So, why not embrace playfulness as a defined component of the design process?

(via Chris Rawlinson: The Gentleman’s Log)

Addendum: I suspect there’s a correlation between this trend I note above and the incorporation of the Internet into mainstream culture. I’ll leave the relationship of the two and the accompanying cultural dynamics for way smarter people to comment upon.

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Reader Comments (1)

i'm not sure i qualify in the "smarter" people category, but i'm going to throw my two cents out there on the internet influence.
i've been engrossing myself with the show madmen, which is set in the madison ave 1960's advertising world. everything is polished- a pretty picture of a happy family, a happier man, the ideal life, the ideal woman... but the lives of everyone on the show? kinda mega screwed up.

my point?

we've been doing serious way to long. with the internet, people who might have spent their life in shadows can finally have some recognition, even it's for being mega screwed up. we're not waiting for the next movie to see a trailer- we can watch it online. want to know what kanye west did to taylor swift 10 minutes ago? someone just posted it on youtube. see jesus in your piece of toast? sell it on ebay.

no one needs an reason to buy or an excuse to sell. what really matters is that we came up with the idea. we created the video, posted the comment.... sold the idea.

to ourselves.

so why wouldn't a low budget airline feed into that? it's a design for the obvious citizen. the oblivious citizen. the down and out citizen.

we've seen pretty. lived through disaster and war and hunger and desolation and grief.
watched established news stations cover brittany spears 11 hour marriage with the zest and intensity of... actual news.

all in all, marketing and advertising doesn't stand a chance unless they are will to flex around the instant access campaign of the internet, and target the individualistic branding that goes on everyday, across every continent.

March 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternaomi
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