Pentagram

Green Africa

Brand Identity

A new air carrier based in Nigeria takes off with a bold brand identity framework inspired by African aesthetics.

Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with more than half of its 1.2 billion people under age 25—a generation that is ready and eager to join the global community of travelers. Green Africa is a new value airline based in Lagos, Nigeria that wants to transform the Nigerian and broader African aviation market by providing safe, reliable and affordable air travel to this growing group of customers. Pentagram has developed a brand identity framework for Green Africa that draws on Nigeria’s vibrant visual heritage to convey accessibility and authenticity.

The Pentagram designers collaborated closely with Green Africa CEO and Founder Babawande Afolabi to develop the look and feel of the brand. Babawande has a vision to build a game-changing carrier that would help transform air travel and contribute to Nigeria’s expanding economic development. The project was led by Pentagram Partner Eddie Opara, who was born in London to Nigerian parents and has lifelong experience traveling to and within the country during yearly family visits. The team also partnered with the local Lagos-based firm Dá Design Studio to help extend the identity into a comprehensive system.

The identity was a dream project for Opara, who in addition to seeing the graphics emblazoned on jets, knew that it had the potential to change the perception of transportation in Nigeria and across the African continent. The country has the largest population in Africa (and sixth in the world overall) and is remarkably diverse, with over 250 ethnic groups and over 500 languages. There is an extraordinary desire for affordable travel and reliable transportation, but even local flights can be needlessly complex and unreliable. The country’s airline industry has a history of failure with dozens of defunct carriers; the most prominent of these, the government-sponsored Nigerian Airways, ceased operations almost 20 years ago.

In consumer research, Pentagram identified a need to project a sense of optimism and break through the skepticism that has inevitably taken root in the minds of travelers. The Green Africa brand, and airline, needed to be seen as simple, functional and accessible, but also better—it had to feel special and transformative. Culturally, Nigerians value the bold and outspoken, and the brand strategy developed by Pentagram highlights Green Africa’s originality, but is also clean, clear and efficient.

Green Africa’s forward-looking mission is captured in the logo itself, which combines the shape of the African continent, the letter “g,” and the pointed arrow of a compass. The logo is built of geometric pieces that can be used to construct colorful graphic patterns inspired by traditional African textile designs.

The ear of the lowercase “g” doubles as an airplane-like arrow that can be used to suggest movement, direction and momentum throughout the brand. (The designers thought of it as a “compass of simplicity” navigating the brand to directness and ease.) The logo is accompanied by a friendly wordmark with a modulated expressiveness that incorporates circles inspired by points of travel.

The brand pattern gives the Green Africa fleet a distinctive, immediately recognizable presence that nods to the airline’s Nigerian roots while looking completely contemporary. The motif is carried throughout the plane interiors and cabin crew uniforms for a cohesive experience of the brand that conveys thoughtfulness and trust.

The brand color is a bright, fluorescent green that echoes the name, accompanied by a royal blue. A secondary color palette was also sourced from textile designs, and the logo can pull colors from surrounding imagery. The designers developed a color system for other countries based on their respective flags; the arrow can adopt these colors to indicate various destinations that the airline flies to.

Providing Green Africa with quality fonts at an affordable cost was an important factor. Primary typography is set in the geometric sans Cosmica (designed by Chester Jenkins), while the secondary type appears in Nunito Sans, an open source font.

The clean geometry of the logo extends to a set of icons inspired by the structural lines and shapes of West African masks. Straightforward and easy to understand, the pictograms are utilized on everything from airport signage to promotional posters and advertisements, where they speak across languages at a glance. The user-friendly approach runs through the Green Africa website and app, which are being implemented by the airline’s in-house design team following Pentagram’s brand guidelines.

Client
Green Africa Airways
Sector
Transport
Discipline
Brand Identity
Office
New York
Partner
Eddie Opara
Project team
Ken Deegan
Jack Collins
Paul Yoon
Seyi Olusanya
Damilola Marcus
Steven Merenda
Lucy Chen
Dana Reginiano
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