For more than 80 years, Bell Helicopter has been reimagining the experience of flight to solve real-world challenges. And over the past few years, Bell’s business and vision for the company has been evolving. They didn’t want to be perceived as just a helicopter company anymore. Going forward, Bell wanted to be known as a technology company that’s redefining the experience of flight.
Bell Helicopter was the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. They were aboard NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market. They’ve partnered with the US military for decades to help them achieve their missions. And today, they’re defining the future of on demand mobility. In January 2018, they were the first aeronautical company to debut at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), demonstrating their urban air taxi concept aircraft—an innovation closer to reality than science fiction. Bell’s long history of breakthrough innovations reflects a commitment to deliver more to their customers. More value. More mobility. More access to experiences that will make flight an affordable, accessible part of their everyday lives.
Our work helped them embrace the past and future equally, while delivering a differentiating brand solution that uniquely aligns with what their customers want. By bridging Bell’s past and future innovations and acknowledging the value of its entire workforce—from the boardroom to the shop floor—we created a new brand more akin to a progressive Silicon Valley startup than a company founded in 1935.
We simplified the company name to just “Bell” and shifted its focus away from individual products to the value of the masterbrand offering. To clarify the change, and avoid confusion with legacy brands like Ma Bell, we added a brand signature to crystallize their vision for the future: “Above and beyond flight.” This serves as much more than just a tagline. To employees, it served as a rallying cry for where the company was heading. And for external audiences, it signals a bold declaration. A stake in the ground. A goal to shoot for and a statement of intentions all in one.
For the new logo we took inspiration from the dragonfly, the ultimate master of the vertical dimension. It is one of the most advanced airborne creatures—having the ability to take off and land vertically and fly in any direction. It is agile, maneuverable and lethal. In regions around the world and across cultures both modern and ancient, the dragonfly is a symbol of change, rebirth and self-realization.
Bell, like the dragonfly, has constantly evolved to become a better, more agile and efficient version of itself. For both Bell and the dragonfly, size is an advantage—they are nimble, act swiftly and are confident in their ability to move forward with purpose.
While the dragonfly is a prominent component of Bell’s new logo, the shield that houses it is also significant — cuing reliability and customer service. And its angles — both sharp and rounded — echo Bell’s product designs, lending a sense of credibility and authenticity to a brandmark that is unique to Bell.
The brand’s visual identity system is inspired by the company’s history—using the legacy red and black shades found in their old logo, along with white, to create a presence that commands attention. The extended color palette (blue, green, khaki and gray) deliberately resembles the landscapes Bell’s aircraft soar above and the environments they fly through—from the land and sea to cities and deserts. Inspired by Bell’s mastery of all things vertical lift, the new photography style—brand-centric imagery and product-centric imagery—helps communicate the essence and excellence of their aircraft.
To bring this all together, we created a brand book, part inspirational and part educational to help all employees understand the new brand and rally around the company’s future vision. Brand guidelines were also codified to assist internal marketers and external agency partners accurately and consistently create on-brand expressions across all connected experiences.
“Bell has always been about more than just helicopters. Our team has spent the past 80 years pushing the boundaries of flight, and now we will accurately reflect that quest. Our new brand captures our innovative spirit while underscoring our core mission of providing safe and unsurpassed experiences to our customers.”
- Mitch Snyder, President & CEO
President & CEO Mitch Snyder introduced the new brand at an all employee launch event on February 22, 2018. The rest of the world experienced the brand through a new website and updated URL (bellflight.com) as well as its global customer premier at the HAI Heli-Expo 2018 tradeshow the following week in Las Vegas.
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