Since 1928, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia has transformed its logo eight times to reflect the changing nature of the Service and to modernise its look. The logo used today represents a refinement of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia's symbol as it has evolved over the last ninety years. It provides a simplified version of the various elements within the past logos with a strong use of colour and symbolism.
1934 - The first section to be formed by the Australia Aerial Medical Service (predecessor of the RFDS) was the Victorian Section in 1934. Its Annual Report in 1935 featured the first logo (figure 1). The Maltese Cross represented medicine; the wings aviation and the zig zag flashes, radio. The map of Australia indicated the national nature of the organisation (although Tasmania was omitted).
1942 - The logo was varied in 1942 (Figure 2) to take into account the change of name to Flying Doctor Service of Australia (FDS). The proportions of the logo were slightly varied.
1945 - The prevailing Federal Council of the Service adopted a new logo, drafted by Mr Adrien Feint for a fee of five shillings (Figure 3). Medicine was represented by the caduceus (the serpent and staff); aviation by eagle's wings, including a three-bladed propeller and radio with zig-zag flashes. The symbols were bound together by a laurel wreath. Tasmania now included within the roundel map of Australia. Seven dots represented the RFDS bases for that time in the central map. The words "medicine","aviation" and "radio" were placed below the wreath. The words "Flying Doctor Service of Australia" were then included in the design.
1955 - The logo was redrawn and updated in 1955 (Figure 4) when the word "Royal" was added to the Service's title. The left side of the laurel wreath was positioned behind the propeller blades.
1956 - The logo was redrawn in more detail (Figure 5) and stars replaced dots on the map to represent bases.
1988 - Ken Cato designed and donated a new logo (Figure 6) which was used on aircraft by some Sections, but not all, in connection with the RFDS Aircraft Replacement Appeal (1989 – 1993).
1993 - The Australian Council of the RFDS agreed to develop a national corporate identity including a redesign of the logo (Figure 7). The logo acknowledges historical associations with earlier logos by retaining the traditional symbols of medicine (the caduceus), aviation (wings) and the map of Australia. The wings have been softened to better express the sense of caring and protective mantle of safety (compared to the militaristic association of the earlier eagle's wings). The brand mark, has been placed underneath to more clearly identify the organisation.
80th Anniversary - The unique 80th anniversary logo (Figure 8) utilises the current logo but with few minor adjustments. Replacing the map of Australia is the number 80 and the dates 1928 - 2008 have been added beneath to represent the milestone.
2009 - A new unifying message was introduced to summarise the essence of the RFDS. Stokes Street Studio won a competitive pitch to develop a new slogan and create the visual link with the logo. The wining solution uses a more contemporary font style, with an increase in weighting between the symbol and the words. Upper and lower case has replaced all upper case to improve legibility and the removal of the lines to facilitate print reproduction. A vignette through the centre of the blue and red areas of the symbol around the propeller circles creates a subtle halo effect.