Livery - Modern Usage

Modern Usage

From this core meaning, multiple extended or specialist meanings have derived. Examples include:

  • A livery company is the name used for a guild in the City of London; members of the company were allowed to dress their servants in the distinctive uniform of their trade, and the company's charters enabled them to prevent others from embarking upon the trades within the company's jurisdiction.
  • Following on from the decoration of horse-drawn carriages, a livery is the common design and paint scheme a company will use on its vehicles, often using specific colors and logo placement. In this sense, the term is applied to railway locomotives and rolling stock, ships, aircraft, and road vehicles. For example, United Parcel Service has trucks with a well-known brown livery. Another example is the British Airways ethnic liveries. The term has become extended to the logos, colors and other distinctive styles of companies in general. See also trade dress.
  • "Vehicle Livery" can be used to promote a brand or for unrelated advertising compared to the goods contained in the vehicle. This can enable companies to become iconic as a result of their livery. An example is Eddie Stobart trucks which have a deal with corgi to sell replicas of their trucks with livery. The practise is very common with few brands not taking advantage of putting livery on their fleet.
  • A livery is the specific paint scheme and sticker design used in motorsport, on vehicles, in order to attract sponsorship and to advertise sponsors. See e.g. Formula One sponsorship liveries.
  • Aircraft livery is also the term describing the paint scheme of an aircraft. Most airlines have a standard paint scheme for their aircraft fleet, usually prominently displaying the airline logo or name. From time to time special liveries are introduced, for example prior to big events.
  • A "livery vehicle" remains a legal term of art in the U.S. for a vehicle for hire, such as a taxicab or chauffered limousine, but excluding a rented vehicle driven by the renter. In some jurisdictions a "livery vehicle" covers vehicles that carry up to seven passengers, but not more, thus including a jitney but excluding an omnibus or motorcoach. This usage stems from the hackney cabs or coaches that could be provided by a livery stable. By extension, Canada has many businesses offering canoe livery.
  • A livery stable (found from 1705) looks after the care, feeding, stabling, etc., of horses for pay.
  • To describe something that tastes of liver.

The term is now rarely if ever applied in a military context, so it would be unusual for "livery" to refer to a military uniform or the painting of a military vehicle. Early uniforms were however regarded as a form of livery ("the King's coat") in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

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