Dispatches

Musings on all things typography and design.

 

The Meatball vs. The Worm

 

In spring of 1974, a request for proposals for the NASA redesign had landed at the office of Danne & Blackburn, a firm that Richard Danne had started with another designer, Bruce Blackburn. For a small, young firm, it was an opportunity for attention, and NASA was still basking in the glow of the Apollo moon landings. Since 1959, the year after its founding, NASA had used what was affectionately called “the meatball” — a blue circle filled with stars, a red swoosh that represents an airplane wing and a spacecraft orbiting the wing. “The meatball was something that was contrived by jet pilots, and it went all the way back to Buck Rogers in terms of its sophistication,” Mr. Blackburn said. “It didn’t look like a modern space agency.” So the designers tried pictorial approaches, but concluded that the best embodiment of NASA was its recognizable acronym. The linear treatment that would become the worm. However, in 1992, during a visit by Daniel S. Goldin, newly confirmed as NASA administrator, to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, the worm turned. Mr. Goldin recalled flying down to Langley with NASA and White House officials. Paul Holloway, Langley’s director, greeted him, and pointed to a hangar. “He said, ‘If you want to really excite NASA employees about changes coming, why don’t you tell them we’re going to deworm NASA and bring back the meatball?’ ” Mr. Goldin said. He turned to a White House official and asked if he was allowed to do that. He was, and in an address to Langley employees, Mr. Goldin announced that he was bringing back the meatball. ~ nytimes.com #typography #design #nasa #nasalogo#nowyouknow #design

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cody dennison