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Empire in the AirAirline Travel and the African Diaspora$
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Chandra D. Bhimull

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479843473

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479843473.001.0001

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Speedbird

Speedbird

Chapter:
(p.43) Speedbird
Source:
Empire in the Air
Author(s):

Chandra D. Bhimull

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479843473.003.0007

The operational call sign for British Airways, Speedbird, was also the iconic company logo of Imperial Airways. Theyre Lee-Elliott, a noted English artist with a distinctly modernist style, created Speedbird for the airline in 1932. The design was simple: an acute angle with sharp, thin, and straight lines that met in a point, like a chevron. The meaning was straightforward. The symbol stood for the swiftness of flight. Its pointy sleek shape helped Speedbird to look like the common swift, a bird reputed to be among the fastest birds in level flight. Its name called to mind quickness and mastery over nature, which helped to denote power and technological modernity. Speedbird signaled supremacy in the sky....

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