The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, more commonly known as NASA, is a government-owned agency that looks after the research and development of the civilian space program and aeronautics and aerospace research for the United States of America. The agency was established in July 1958 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously approved the National Aeronautics and Space Act.
The world’s most prominent and triumphant space research agency, NASA employs more than 18,800 people. Headquartered in Washington, D.C, the agency had an annual budget of US$17.8 billion in 2012.
DESIGN ELEMENTS, HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF NASA LOGO
Shape, Colors and Font of the NASA Logo
The NASA logo is certainly one of the most recognized logos in the world. The agency actually has two official corporate identities, namely the “Meatball” logo and the NASA seal.
The “worm” logotype of NASA, which was unveiled in 1975, is no longer in official usage. There are a few exceptions, such as certain special occasions, in which the logotype is rarely used.
The “meatball” NASA logo is the primary logo of the agency. It was publicly introduced in 1959, during the starting years of NASA. The logo remained in service until 1982, for a little more than three decades. When the worm logotype was cast aside in 1992, the meatball insignia was brought back and it still remains the official NASA logo to this day.
The NASA seal, which is mostly utilized for formal and legal usage, was conceptualized by an in-house designer at Lewis Research Center, a NASA office located in Cleveland, Ohio. The agency’s executive secretary, favorably influenced by his design, told the in-charge of the research facility, James Modarelli, to come up with another logo that would be used for less formal usage.
Modarelli then fine-tuned the seal himself, and simplified the whole design while retaining the white stars and orbital path – the two primary elements of the NASA logo – which were positioned inside a blue circle along with a red vector. Later on, the agency’s name was inscribed in the middle using white color. The final draft of this logo was eventually nicknamed “meatball”.
The NASA logo is a wonderful example of a timeless, traditional logo. While the sphere evidently signifies a planet, the stars in the meatball represent the space. The red chevron, on the other hand, forms the alternate shape of the constellation Andromeda. It is supposed to be a wing that exemplifies aeronautics.
The NASA logotype was created as part of a campaign launched by the Federal Graphics Improvement Program of the National Endowment for the Arts to come up with a more modern and futuristic design. The task was given to two outside graphic designers named Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn. They managed to deliver the “worm” wordmark which consists of a stylized treatment of the agency’s name using red color. It noticeably takes out the horizontal bars of the letter “A”.
The use of red color in the NASA logotype embodies passion, energy, courage, confidence and the never-ending challenges that the agency faces in attempting to establish itself as the world’s leading aeronautics and aerospace research organization.