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China airlines  |  KOA Woodgrain  |  Summer 2013

Headquartered in the Dayuan District of Taiwan, China Airlines is the Republic of China’s state-owned national airline. It operates over 1,400 flights weekly to 102 cities across Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania.

Schneller Team members
  • Members Involved: Abigail Crock (Designer), Don Rose (Design Manager), and Carol Bernauer (Design Development Manager)
  • My Role: I was the designer responsible for creating the woodgrain artwork and color correcting to meet the desired color
Project Narrative

In America, the interiors of airplanes are rather dull, unimpressionable spaces. Once you leave America, aircraft interiors start becoming spaces you remember. Bold colors, exciting patterns, and dynamic textures transform a mode of transportation into a design experience. China Airlines, one of the two major Chinese airlines, was working with a designer on their new Business Class design and was using Schneller as their laminate supplier. The China Airlines designer wanted to use an architectural paneling in the design for the aircraft interior. The problem was that the manufacture copyrighted the wood grain design. We created our version of this wood grain in our laminate product and matched it to their preferred color tone.

I started with a high-res scan of the original 48” x 98” wood grain panel. I had to extend it to meet our size specs of 61.5” x 98”. I spent several weeks working on revising the artwork to remove most of the distinctive portions. Once the design met legal approval that it was a unique design, we moved on to the next challenge – the color. The color that the client wanted to use did not have an exact English translation from Mandarin. The closest word in English was “Khaki,” – which in America can come in many different shades. Adding to the difficulty was that the panels would look different depending on the light (cool, warm, daylight, etc.). Eventually, the client came on-site so we could get his real-time feedback on getting the shade correct. After 20 rounds of color revisions, we reached a color that matched the client’s vision. We moved the panels into production.               

This woodgrain was heavily used in the new China Airlines’ Business Class cabins and even in their marketing. They used the wood grain in the bar area, the seats, the tray tables, and the bulkheads.

Original Woodgrain

When adjusting the artwork, I lucked out that the design was paneled. I could easily separate the panels and remove the portions that were too distinctive and add additional panels to increase the width. It was a tedious Photoshop process, as the design needed to remain high res even as I clone stamped, blurred, and painted on it.  

Re-designed Woodgrain

Throughout the entire process, we ran over 20 color checks, each a unique color breakdown. The challenge was that my screen color looked different from the color that came from the printer (redder) and the laid-up sample (yellower). Because this process could take up to a full day, it was necessary to take detailed notes on what color adjustments I made. Including notes on what previous sample I made the adjustments from, so we weren’t running the same sample through the Color Lab. 

Color Check Samples of KOA Woodgrain

Premium Business Class photos taken from China Airlines’s website. Copyright © China Airlines 2020. 

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