You know you’re supposed to review it, although few of us do, and it is there for your own protection in the “unlikely event,” in every seatback on every airliner from every country throughout the world: the laminated safety card. Yes, these colorful works of universal illustration all answer the same basic questions – Where’s that life vest? How does the oxygen mask work? Where’s the closest exit? – but every plane and every airline has its own unique system of graphic shorthand to communicate quickly and across language barriers. Design for Impact is a compendium of the most interesting and imaginative of these airline safety cards, from the earliest booklets created for planes like the 1930s Pan-Am Flying Clipper to the simple pictograms used on today’s jumbo jets.
This wryly humorous primer (“Gentlemen should loosen their ties before impact” counsels a 1960s British Air card) on the most basic – and urgent – form of visual communication inlcudes cards from planes like the De Havilland Comet, the Lockheed Constellation, the DC-3, the Boeing 727, and the Concorde, along with airlines such as BOAC, Eastern, Air France, Ghana Air, Lufthansa, PAN AM, Qantas, Swiss Air, and Sudan Airlines, among many others, all reproduced at their original size. Design for Impact will appeal to both aviation buffs and information designers.