In 2005 I joined LAN Airlines as part of the corporate image division in their marketing department. At that time, LAN Airlines had recently undergone a major redesign to their brand. Branding agency FutureBrand was hired to create a new brand strategy, identity and architecture for the airline. This new image took over around two years to implement company-wide, from the lowliest luggage tag to new paint for their planes and completely redone retail locations and airport counters all over the world. As I joined LAN Airlines it became my first and foremost task to evaluate this transition, identify any remaining material still branded with the old design and ensure its replacement. I would become the corporate image police of the airline. This led to having me visit every single retail location, official 3rd-party agency and airport in Chile in order to personally assess the state of the airline’s brand image and determine the best way to implement the required changes.
The new brand identity manual very specifically described the rules for applying the new brand image to graphic and industrial elements. It however did not go into specific implementations, since a theoretically infinite number of applications could exist. For example, when it came to industrial design it would tell you how to apply to the brand to any one item, but not what the item itself would be. It was up to us in Corporate Image to then determine what would constitute an appropriate implementation that would be coherent with the concepts that the brand would be striving to convey according to the manual.
Together with the new brand manual a plan was created for updating the airline’s retail presence in a manner that would convey the new brand concepts specified in the guide. Corporate Image worked in unison with external design agencies to create the required designs for these implementations. We made sure they were up to standards, appropriate and effective in comunicating our desired message.
A lot of the work involved collaborating with the agencies producing the designs, the contractors doing the installations and the local branch managers where these operations would be taking place. I would find myself visiting these offices, overseeing installations, making sure that items were updated with the proper replacements and ascertaining that the quality of the work and materials met expectations.
New designs were requested to external agencies, who would submit their final proposals for approval. These were reviewed and if accepted would be approved to move on to prototype stage. If the one-of proved successful we would move to full-on production and resolving the logistics for distribution.
In addition to all the new brand image related tasks we were also in charge of solving every other design requirement that the company needed fulfilled. These could range all the way from a flag needed for an airport halfway accross the world to business cards for executives to new toiletries for the planes. The basic procedure for dealing with these would largely be the same. These did however impose the necessity that those of us in charge of them needed to be well versed in quite a few areas of design.
Every year the airline would need calendars and books printed. Posters and photographs in enormous sizes. Internal signage repair and updating for all office locations. Little branded accessories like keychains and the ubiquitous shirts and caps. These and many more on top of the usual range of items for the planes, offices, airports and ticket sales locations.
During my period at LAN I became the resident image-resolution specialist, and the go-to person when dealing with large scale printing and image banks such as Getty Images and Corbis. I was asked to give a presentation explaining DPI and printing VS in-monitor resolution to my colleagues in marketing.
I worked directly with 16 airports, 41 retail locations and 3 third party agencies, making sure they were faithful and accurate representations of the Airline’s identity. I solved their problems and strove to make each the best it could be.
The first part of my time at LAN Airlines was part of an internship at the company. As such, I had to write a report on my work to validate with the university, which I still keep in pdf form.
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