There is meaning behind the color for the 777X. Image: Boeing

There is meaning behind the color for the 777X – Image: Boeing

With all the excitement of the new Boeing 777X orders announced at the Dubai Airshow, one might have missed the fact that the aircraft is showing off a new color for the Boeing livery. Is it red? Maroon? No, it is a very rich burgundy.

To date, we have seen a rainbow of colors showing up on new Boeing aircraft and the choice of burgundy is no accident.

I had the opportunity to speak with Rob Pollack, vice president Advertising, Brand and Market Positioning with Boeing to try answer why burgundy was to become the official color for the 777X.

The composites of the new Boeing 777X are in maroon. Image: Boeing

The composites of the new Boeing 777X are in burgundy – Image: Boeing

The choice of burgundy was not made overnight. Boeing had to complete quite a bit of research before deciding on their new color. Different colors can have different meanings, and Boeing did not want to end up insulting a particular culture or airline based on a wrong choice.

Believe it or not, there has been quite a bit of work done on seeing what feelings and words that people relate with colors. Boeing found some key thoughts connected to the color burgundy, which they wanted passengers and airline customers to associate with the plane. Those words are vigor, elegance, refinement, high-end, richness, leadership, and maturity. Think of the color as a fine wine, in literal color and embodiment.

I also cannot help but think about a key quote from Anchorman Ron Burgundy, “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” I think the color choice definitely stays classy.

Once it was decided to go with burgundy, then the mission was to find which shade. If you have ever been at the local hardware store to buy some house paint, you know the selection of shades can be nearly endless. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of shades in the same color family.

Boeing’s marketing team tried quite a few different samples by spraying a 6″ x 12″ test panel, taking it outside to view the color, and then tweaking it to their final liking. They finally settled on the color seen on the 777X mock-ups today.

At this time, Boeing doesn’t have an official name for the burgundy (did someone say, “naming contest?”). Some have already dubbed it, “Big Burgundy,” but that just doesn’t seem classy enough to me.

Although Boeing’s official color is blue, this livery is not the first variation of their color roots. Let’s take a look at the other offerings from the Boeing livery rainbow family:

ZA003 at the Doha International Airport for the Dreamliner World Tour. Image by The Boeing Company.

ZA003 sported the updated Dreamliner livery in blue during the the Dreamliner World Tour. Image: Boeing

The first time we saw the new Boeing livery was with the first 787-8 Dreamliner ZA001. Many have felt it has been one of the best liveries every designed and it has received quite a bit of positive feedback. Although the most recently livery on ZA003 was updated a tad, most people wouldn’t be able to notice.

BONUS: Photos- The Wonderful Liveries of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental's First Flight. Click for larger.

Boeing went with orange to help promote the 747-8 Intercontinental.

The second version was displayed on the 747-8I and was a mixture of reds and oranges. The new design was called the Sunrise livery and Boeing designed it as a salute to potential Asian customers. Unfortunately, the color might not end up being enough for the plane.

BONUS: A Nice Little Wrap Up to the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental’s First Flight

The obvious change was the use of orange, but Boeing also put a large “8” on the tail. This added feature was used in future Boeing liveries, including the 787-9 Dreamliner.

The Boeing 737 MAX8 in the teal Boeing livery. Image: Boeing

The Boeing 737 MAX8 in the teal Boeing livery. Image: Boeing

At first, I did not notice that the 737 MAX had a different livery than the original Dreamliner. However, after closer inspection, one can see the use of more teals and a bit into the green family on this livery. The difference is not as obvious as the bold orange or burgundy, but it is a subtle change.

BONUS: Boeing 737 MAX to get a Radical Winglet with a Boring Name

I am still not a fan of the name “MAX,” but I have to say that I do like the blue-green family of colors and love this color combination.

The new 777X will offer a folding wing-tip. Image: Boeing

The new 777X will offer a folding wing-tip – Image: Boeing

Then, of course, we are back to the red-family with the new 777X. I really like the burgundy and cannot wait to see what it will look like in person. Historically, Boeing has been a pretty conservative company and I get a kick out of the fact that they are being a bit creative by putting the same livery on all their new aircraft, but spicing it up with different colors.

We still have quite a bit of time before we get to see the new 777X in person, but luckily Boeing has some ways for you to connect with the aircraft today. If you want to experience the new 777X in ways not seen before, be sure to check out Boeing’s interactive page on the aircraft. This gallery view is unique and was actually done locally at the Seattle Art Museum.

If that is not enough for you, also be sure to check out more mock up photos of the 777X on Boeing’s site.




EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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Maybe Boeing is sick of seeing Airbus blue birds at every air show!

Nunavut Wolf

Now, you explained the colour quite well. What still baffles me is the “9” on the tail… what’s that supposed to symbolize?

The 777X is being initially offered in two models. The longer range but shorter fuselage length 777X-8 and the high capacity 777X-9.
In the mock-ups above, the 777X-9 model is shown and that is what the 9s on the tail represent.

Why are the first models of an aircraft type being given the -8 or -9 designations? I would think it would be -1 or -100. Can someone give me the thinking behind the higher numbers?

It doesn’t always make 100% perfect sense, but they are following what they started with 747-8, which was supposed to indicate that this new 747 was going to use 787 (hence the 8) technologies. Then they just expanded on it. The 737 and now the 777. Now, -8 has come to mean the first variant of the model. 737-8 will be the first variant, just like 787-8 is the first variant. If it’s bigger, they go up, like 787-9, 787-10, 737-9. If it’s smaller then 737-7.

Not exactly sure if 777-8 is actually going to be the first variant or not. They may have changed it up a little here. Maybe 777-8 is the same size as 777-300ER so it is the baseline, and therefore -8. Not sure.

Anyways, that’s the basic logic behind it all

I love the red, makes it look very modern

My grandmothers living room was that color – looks dated to me!

I just dont understand why Boeing are offering the 777X model?

Isn’t it clashing with their Dreamline 787-9 and 787-10.

The engines look the same and im sure many of the features of the 787 like the carbonfibre body or so.. and are using it in the 777X model?

Pardon my ignorance, but I just can’t see the benefits of having the 777X now?

I don’t even think it will work out financially cheaper..

The 777-8 is a 350 seat airplane, and the 777-9 is a 400 seat airplane. The 787s are all smaller than that. The largest variant is 787-10, which will seat 320. 787-9 seats about 280, and 787-8 seats 250.

The 787 is more of a 767 and 777-200 replacement, and a competitor to the A330. Not a competitor to the larger 777-300ER and new 777X, and technically not to the A350. However, Airbus screwed the pooch on A350, and they are hemmed in on both sides by 787-10 and 777-8.

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