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keiser31

Raymond Loewy design....

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Who knew that Raymond Loewy had a hand in the design of the paint scheme of Air Force One?

 

In May of 1962, in anticipation of a new pair of planes to serve as Air Force One, Boeing’s exterior designs for the planes— which included the typical red and orange military plane markings and type-font lettering — were released to the public. According to the New England Historical Society, Raymond Loewy, a well-known French industrial designer who had created designs for Coca-Cola, Lucky Strikes Cigarettes and Studebaker cars, made it known to a White House aide that elements of the proposed sketch were “gaudy” and “amateurish.”

When Jackie Kennedy heard that such a well-respected designer had critiqued the design of the iconic planes, she asked her husband to hire Loewy for the job.

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Ever-conscious of appearances and trends, the First Lady wanted to make sure the planes that served as a foreign country’s first impression of JFK would represent the U.S. leader well. During Loewy’s first meeting with JFK in the West Wing, he had the president sit on the floor with him as they sketched a new paint scheme, according to the book Air Force One. Kennedy, who wanted a design with less military nomenclature, changed the traditional “U.S. Air Force” markings on the side to a more neutral designation of “The United States of America.” He also added the presidential seal near the nose of the plane, and an American Flag on the tail. In order to select the best font, Loewy looked to historical U.S. documents for inspiration; when he saw the typeface of the original Declaration of Independence, he knew he had found the perfect model. Widely spaced letters in all capitals, using the font Caslon, were then applied for the lettering on the planes.

For the color palette of the aircrafts, Loewy went with a simple but striking design. Knowing Kennedy’s affinity for blue, the designer came up with the paint scheme that is now synonymous with the presidential planes, using slate and cyan blue for the middle and wings, and leaving the top of the plane white with a silver underside.

Air Force One.jpg

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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I think I saw Donald comment recently that he is going to change that up in the near future with Red White and Blue.

I wasn't paying much attention back in the sixties.

Edited by JACK M (see edit history)

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Just now, JACK M said:

I think I saw Donald comment recently that he is going to change that up in the near future with Red White and Blue.

Yeah....I was hoping nobody would go there.

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Sorry bout that.

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I knew Raymond Lowey was credited with the design but had not heard the interesting back story, thanks for posting it, Todd C

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Thank you, although just a boy then I remember the time well. JFK,  Jackie and Air Force 1 were a class act

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He and his firm were responsible for so very many iconic Art Deco and Streamline Modern designs. It's a treat to take a look at his contributions from time to time. His locomotive designs are legendary, but I still can't see his name and not think of his Aerodynamic Hupmobiles. You might wish to Google Raymond Lowey designs.

 

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