Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Proposal To Go Where No NASA Logo Has Gone Before

A Proposal To Go Where No NASA Logo Has Gone Before

The proposal for NASA’s new logo.

If you could redesign any brand, which would it be? This was the question asked recently by Viewpoint magazine, The Future Laboratory’s bi-annual magazine about trends, brands, futures, and market strategies.

What company or organisation is doing super-cool, interesting, worthwhile things, and is completely undersold by its logo or brand? NASA.

NASA’s aptly nicknamed meatball logo

The first thing we see in NASA’s previous logos is that perennial truth that what may look futuristic today will look passe tomorrow and of course tomorrow comes faster today than it did yesterday.

You also want to avoid anything that would be too techy—NASA isn’t about technology; it’s about using technology as a vehicle for doing and going and discovering.

So they went with a fairly neutral typeface that won’t look immediately dated but would de-emphasize the name in the logo to create more of a symbol that would be universally understood.

If you eclipse the name with a giant sphere, which could be Earth or any other planet, you don’t get rid of the “meatball” entirely, you just don’t see it.


The logo can appear on plain backgrounds or over imagery. (all photos courtesy NASA)

This idea that Earth is just another planet is re-enforced in the tagline. “THERE” implies that our home is bigger than just Earth—space is no longer there, it’s here.

We also like the fact that “THERE” contains the entire journey in a single word. Of course NASA is an American agency, but it wants to downplay the nationalistic side of it and sidestep the flag-planting mentality.

So the “US” in the tagline isn’t “U.S.”; it’s all of us, everyone on Earth. It’s getting back to the idea of NASA taking giant steps for mankind and the World is going along for the ride.


The logo can also work as a window the places NASA goes and the things it does.

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