There was a time when passenger airplanes wore more sophisticated outfits than they do these days.

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If you look back in time, we find elegant typography, minimalistic paint jobs, low-key colors, simple lines and dynamic curves, streamlined lightning bolts, remarkable-yet-discreet logos. The following selection of photos takes you back to the golden age of airliner liveries.

The second Concorde in factory livery, at the British Aircraft Corporation’s airfield at Filton, Bristol, 1971

Photo: Victor Drees/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


A Cubana airliner (Bristol Britannia 318) at Jose Marti International Airport, Havana, Cuba, 1971

Photo: Beverley Reed/AP


Bulgarian Airlines Tu-134A in hangar, c1970.

Photo source: CPCP - Братерство. Мистецтво, Київ, 1972.


An Alaska Airlines DC-3 on sea ice at Tigvariak Island, Alaska, 1949

Photo: Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren/NOAA Corps.


Hungarian Airlines (Malév) TU-154 B-2 at Paris Orly International Airport, 1989

Photo: Kornél Umann/Fortepan


A KLM McDonnell Douglas DC-8 (and an Aeroflot Il-18 on the left), 1970

Photo: Éva Romák/Fortepan


Aerolineas Argentinas Boeing 737, 1968

Photo: Éva Romák/Fortepan


This Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-114 looks gorgeous even in black and white (1961)

Photo: Fortepan


Malév Bombardier Q400 in a 65th anniversary painting (2011)

Photo: Malév


...and the same paint scheme on an Il-18, from 1972

Photo: Lars Söderström/Wikimedia Commons


A Cubana de Aviación Douglas DC-3 , 1965

Photo source: Flieger-Jahrbuch 1965, Transpress Web Verlag für Verkehrswesen, Berlin


Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727, c1970

Photo: SDASM


Tenneco BAC 1-11, c1970

Photo: SDASM


United Airlines Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, c1980

Photo: SDASM


Pan Am Boeing 747SP, c1978

Photo: SDASM


Air Canada Boeing 727, c1974

Photo: SDASM


Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 737, c1980

Photo: SDASM


Aerovias Guest Lockheed L-1049G “Super Constellation”, c1955

Photo: SDASM


Lufthansa Lockheed L-1649A “Super Star” Constellation, c1958

Photo: Lufthansa


British Midland Douglas DC-9, c1979

Photo: SDASM


Eastern Douglas DC-10, c1989

Photo: SDASM


Aeroflot Ilyushin Il-86

Photo: SDASM


Delta Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-11, 1997

Photo: SDASM


Lufthansa Douglas DC-10, c1980

Photo: SDASM


American Overseas Airlines Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, c1949

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Hungarian Airlines (Malév) Lisunov Li-2 HA-LIX from the Fifties restored to airworthy condition in 2001

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Air Atlantique Douglas DC-6AC, c1987

Photo: Ken Fielding/Wikimedia Commons


Martin’s Air Charter Douglas DC-3, c1958

Photo: Ken Fielding/Wikimedia Commons


Top photo: Japan Air Lines Boeing 747 (SDASM)