Typography and Expression

An airplane ticket is not unlike an airplane cockpit. Both are cluttered to the untrained eye and rich with information, but not without reason: the pilot and the flyer alike both need to be informed, otherwise we don’t get to fly and they don’t get to do the flying.

My design for a boarding pass is a kind of a truce or compromise between information, ease of understanding, and comfort.

Boarding passes can be nothing short of intimidating. Typically, racing across an airport and its many terminals and duty-free shops, we’ll hurriedly scan these slips of paper for the bare essentials—names, places, times, seating arrangements, etc.—and try our best to ignore everything else. My boarding pass concentrates the information the flyer needs most—boarding time, origin and destination (just to be sure!), seat number—while sidelining the intimidating information (the unintelligible codes and other noise) and doing away with the unnecessary (showing both boarding time and take-off time is needless and only produces anxiety, inciting us to repeatedly check our watch, and frustratedly remark how behind schedule we are). My passes’s type, moreover, is clear and neutral, with a medium center of gravity—not too tall and not too stout.

Boarding passes also tend to be bland. This blandness can contribute to the dread one might feel at the prospect of flying (a torrent of weird, managerial or bureaucratic codes and such). The blue in my boarding pass not only serves to break up this blandness—dreary monotony of undecipherable codes and  anxiety-inducing times and cautions (“**subject to change**” warnings on the original ticket)—it also soothes. Blue has been known to inspire trust and confidence. It’s why, for example, so many organizations and companies that handle our money and/or your data employ blue in their logos and names.

Expressive Words


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