By Jennifer Farley

Save The United Airlines Iconic Tulip

By Jennifer Farley

A Facebook page has been set up by a group of lovers of United Airlines tulip logo in a bid to save it from obliteration in favor of a “mash up” of Continental Airline’s blue and gold globe logo. Continental and United are merging and the airline’s CEO’s have reached an agreement to place Continental’s stylized globe logo and blue color scheme on all jets operated by the new United. After the merger United will be one of the world’s largest airlines, but the tulip will be gone.


The new merged logo


Current United Airlines Logo


The Tulip

A short history of the tulip appears on the Facebook page:

The tulip was designed for United in 1974 by graphic designer Saul Bass. Saul Bass created other famous trademarks as well, such as the AT&T world and even Continental’s old logo, the Jet Stream Globe (which was replaced in 1991 with Continental’s current look). It has graced United’s planes through three different livery designs during this time. Before the tulip, United’s logo was a red, white, and blue shield since 1936.


A short visual history of the United Airlines logo. Image from the Save the United Airlines Tulip Facebook Page

Continental’s most recent blue and gold logo was designed by Dutch designer Roger van den Bergh of Oonama Design. Other identity work by van den Bergh includes Shandong Airlines, Daewoo Motors, Midwest Airlines, Eos Airlines, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and the Boeing Company.


Funnily enough, an early version of the Continental logo was also designed by Saul Bass.


The new merged logo will appear on all aircraft


How do you feel about the change from Tulip to Globe? Does it make much difference to the overall branding of the newly merged airline?

  • Ralph Salzano

    I like the tulip so much I’m going to have it tatooed on my lower back so Dory can enjoy looking at it!

  • Erok

    Really. We love that “U” logo that much?

    It’s a reason to lose sleep. To dig our heels in. To fight the man, with guns blazing.

    Really. Okaaaay.

    To be honest, if I had to pick a logo for a t-shirt, I’d go with that 1933 logo. Second place, 1945.

  • Gerard

    Humans are visual creatures I guess. That’s why companies invest so much in the logo to begin with.

  • wwb_99

    If we should have saved something on airlines, I would have voted for legroom, free baggage or free lunch. Who cares about the logo?

  • John Cowen

    I’d be fighting for the older Continental logo by Saul Bass.

  • Dan Poynter

    The new name is United.
    The Tulip is a U shape. They match.
    Keep the tulip.
    BTW, the above logo list does not reflect the newer (even nicer) stylized tail logo.
    Dan Poynter
    UGS, 6,000+ miles/week on UA.

  • Anonymously

    Really have no idea what there business model is (markets they serve) but Continental is long, United is tied to the US. I’d say their #%$… and should just change their name to Free.

    lol… wow, way to much fun!!

    So, anyway, think if Mr. Bass was alive he’d agree the logo is dated and needs to be replaced, he’d also likely agree that the new logo is not a logo, but a generic symbol.

    Anyone know how much they paid for this amazing piece of %#$… ?

  • balanceforward

    Prefer the new one to the tulip. Globe = United, nice symbolically.

    • XLCowBoy

      Also cliche.

  • Ralph Salzano

    The global recognition of the ‘tulip’ enabled the negotiating committee and myself to overcome the final obstacles in our talks with CAL. management. We have secured the tentative agreement involving the mechanics at CAL, and negotiations are moving forward on the CAL fleet service agreement. The Teamsters Union will continue representing our members at United and Continental with professionalism and expertise,
    with the goal protecting our members’ interests as this merger unfolds. The IBT Airline Division embraces the ‘tulip’ and its strong presence in the global marketplace.

  • frozin

    That was a tulip? Hardly “iconic”. No big deal.

  • XLCowBoy

    Such a shame design-related posts are completely lost with the aesthetically-anemic “devs” that populate sitepoint.

    It’s as simple as this: it’s a logo by Saul Bass. I still can’t understand why companies feel like logos crafted by masterclass designers need to be updated. It’s like saying a Picasso is dated and needs to be a bit more modern. Another example of this is the update to the Girl Scouts logo (which was, again, a Saul Bass logo).

    What other logos has Saul Bass done?
    Kleenex (unchanged)
    Quaker (unchanged)
    AT&T (3D-fied)
    Minolta (unchanged)
    Alcoa (unchanged)

    Bass also did a few title sequences for a several movies, including:
    Vertigo (’58)
    Psycho (’60)
    Spartacus (’60)
    Goodfellas (’90)
    Casino (’95)

    etc. etc.

    The guy is a true legend. Calling the tulip “hardly iconic” goes to show just how visually lost some of the audience on Sitepoint are.

  • tulip guy

    Tulips are stupid.


    Don’t care. It’s one of the worst airlines I have flown.

  • ChrisP

    Getting rid of the tulip didn’t go far enough. They should also dump the “United” name. It is a tarnished brand that should just go away.

  • IAH Ramprat

    I feel United should be lucky Continental kept the United name.

  • Who cares who designed the logo? Why worship Sam Bass? His logos are no better than anyone elses – I hate the tendency to think celebrities are better. I agree with most here – I don’t care what logo you use – give me some service! I think the best looking airline livery is Frontier – and they don’t use a logo.

  • Anonymous

    they should get rid of the ugly globe on the tail and ugly colors.

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