You might not have ever noticed unless you’re a design nerd or a NASA nerd, but the agency has used two distinct logos in its 58 year history. There’s the original “Meatball” logo (right), and the futuristic “Worm” logo (left).
The “Worm” is the work of designers Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn, who redesigned the look of NASA with their 1975 Graphics Standards Manual, outlining the visual identity of the organization from clothing emblems to rocket identifiers. The work was somewhat unceremoniously ditched in 1992 when NASA decided to return to the original “Meatball” logo design, but last year, designers Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed decided to bring it back—at least for public consumption.
The pair ran a successful Kickstarter campaign last fall to released Danne & Blackburn's 1975 NASA Graphics Standards Manual, which you can now preorder. The hardcover, 220-page book costs $79, and features scans of Danne’s personal copy of the manual, as well as a foreward by him, a 6,000-word essay on the culture of NASA in the 1970s by writer Christopher Bonanos, rare scans of the original 35mm slides presented to NASA, and The Manager's Guide to NASA Graphics Standards.
You can gaze at some of the book’s pages and hear Danne talk about the manual at the project’s Kickstater page.