Southwest’s Change of ‘Heart’

Since Southwest Airlines launched in 1967, it has grown into a phenomenon in the market. Operating more than 3,600 flights a day and servicing more than 100 million customers a year, the blue and gold staple color scheme has wiggled its way into the homes of many.

However, Southwest Airlines believed it was time for a change. For the first time since January 2001, it unveiled the newest makeover of the fleet, ‘Heart One’:


Unveiling the new design at an employee appreciation event on Sept 8, Southwest is elated with the way the new brand initiative is taking off.  With the belly of the plane showcasing the newest “Heart” logo, Southwest aircraft will be recognizable to all from the ground.

In a global news release sent on behalf of the airlines, Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines chairman, president and chief executive officer, says, “Our collective heartbeat is stronger and healthier than ever, and that’s because of the warmth, the compassion, and the smiles of our People. The Heart emblazoned on our aircraft, and within our new look, symbolizes our commitment that we’ll remain true to our core values as we set our sights on the future.”

In addition to the rebranding, Southwest Airlines has also issued new uniforms to employees displaying the newest logo, began remodeling headquarter airports in Dallas, Denver and Chicago Middway and is now flying to international destinations.

Social media has also caught the buzz of Southwest Airlines news:

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With such a positive response in the forefront of the release, it will be interesting to see what direction Southwest will go next. For now, only one thing is certain, as long as they keep putting their heart into it, they can’t go wrong.

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7 Responses to Southwest’s Change of ‘Heart’

  1. Shirin Ahmadpour says:

    Serious high fives to Southwest for an awesome design element. I think more businesses should put effort into showing society, showing their customers and showing the world that they care. Now whether Southwest is the best airline or not is up to the customer, but sharing “the love” can sometimes be more powerful than any sales gimmick. It doesn’t matter if they attract thousands of new customers because of the new heart design, which probably won’t make a big difference in numbers, but I know that if I looked up to see a heart flying over head, my day would be a whole lot better.

  2. Aleks Cataruzolo says:

    This is amazing! I completely support the airlines taking a new bold approach on their airplanes. It creates a personality for the airline and it is more user friendly. This is Southwest Airlines saying “Hey, look at us, we’re creative, bold and full of love.” Also, it’s about time all that blank space on airplanes gets creative!

  3. Collay Dennis says:

    When I first read about the logo change I was a bit shocked. I’ve only ever known Southwest Airlines as the airplanes with the rusty dated colors. I definitely think they were in need of an update, but I don’t think I like the heart. For an airline company I thought the heart was very cartoony and immature, but maybe that is what Southwest was aiming for. The article I read about the logo change included a video demonstrating the painting process which was interesting, but I’m still not a fan of the actual heart on the belly. I wonder how the redesign will affect their customers’ perceptions of the company.

  4. Megan Conner says:

    I think this was a great topic to post about; I really enjoyed reading further about Southwest’s new branding. I am a native Arizonan and have grown accustomed to the signature Southwest colors and I am glad that they have finally decided to re-brand and create a new logo. Announcing the new brand at an employee appreciation event was a great way to unveil the new logo and colors to those who are most loyal—the employees. I also think the new colors and logo will appeal to a wide audience and help associate positive and happy feelings with Southwest Airlines. However, I do think that the new logo is a bit juvenile and child-like, but that does not mean that it will not be effective. The “Southwest Heart” has also created a great persona on social media and has allowed various audiences to get involved via Twitter and Facebook.

  5. Kathleen ETzel says:

    Great post Courtney! It seems this could be a step in the right direction for Southwest. Rebranding can be a risky move, but Southwest has a clear mission statement demonstrating this decision is in favor of the brand’s core values. This rebranding is very relatable to the consumer. Keeping the same color scheme was a smart decision, because people will still be able to recognize the brand. Issuing new uniforms is also a great way to show off the new branding and in a more personal way to which consumers will relate.

  6. Gian-Franco Demano says:

    I think this was a great move on Southwest’s part and I believe the majority would think so. Being an avid Southwest flyer and having my mom work for Southwest for many years, I have seen the same color scheme, logos and image when flying. Not that that is a bad thing at all though.

    For many years they have had that reputation of great service with a cheaper price and for the most part, they’ve held onto that. So back when it was considering a logo revamp, it must’ve prioritized the need to hold onto that reputation. I feel like it was definitely able to do that. With subtle color change (orange to yellow), different and friendlier font, and a more colorful and encompassing heart, I think it made great changes. I believe their biggest thing was to not make a big change, because they already have a great reputation. They simply modernized its look and magnified its message of loving its flyers.

  7. Ashley Black says:


    I enjoyed reading your post because I fly Southwest Airlines often and think the new
    branding is a great idea. Although the company has been successful thus far, I think
    that since it has been almost 50 years of the same visual branding that it was time
    for a change. Furthermore, I think the heart was very creative because it appeals to
    the audience’s emotions.

    It is obvious that a strategic plan was implemented because the new heart logo is
    very beneficial for the company. It sends a great message to the customers and
    employees. Also, being able to spot a Southwest aircraft from the air will instill the
    brand into their audience.

    Unveiling the design at the new employee party was a great idea because as we
    have discussed in lecture, it is important to take care of the people working for your
    company because word-of-mouth is so crucial.

    The positive feedback along with the remodels and new uniforms are all part of
    backing up the new branding and it seems to be working quite well. I knew I have
    always ‘loved’ Southwest!

    Ashley Black

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