40 years ago today on January 2, 1976, NASA released a 60-page Graphics Standards Guide. It’s awesome to see the design of the worm logo standing the test of time (despite the fact that NASA retired the worm logo in 1992, returning back to the meatball logo). The simplicity of the design along with the clean layouts stand strong to this day. The art world has classic time-worthy artworks hanging in museums. This style guide is truly one of the classics in the design world. Dig through the entire guide on archive.org. Inside you’ll find goodies such as the official grid layout for publications:
The official color for NASA (C=0, Y=100, M=100, K=100):
Even how the logo is to appear on car doors:
But what about the 58 other pages? Which ones are the most popular?
The most-faved page features a giant NASA logo on a fold-out page:
With half as many favs is the page with the NASA logo shown at different sizes
The third most-faved page features the logo usage on the space shuttle. Everyone loves the space shuttle!
The last page of the 1976 guide garnered many likes. The fashion of the 70s well represented with the NASA uniforms–complete with bell-bottom flight-suit, flight jacket, laboratory coat, blazer, security shirt, and hard hat:
Pretty funny that 19 people have faved the page outlining the incorrect uses of the NASA logo. In the regular view on flickr, you can’t really sell the small type that explains that these are outlawed uses of the logo. Yet people of today think it’s incredibly rad to put a thick shadow behind the logo, or to implement a false italics effect.
The NASA signage with large uses of Helvetica looks much like today’s public transit signage. When you are on NASA’s property, the signs declare a sterile scientific land with directional signs, trailblazer signs, map directories, parking signs, and restricted access signs.
What is the least popular page in the NASA branding guide? The page with no graphics that explains why guidelines are important for illustration, photography, and typography. Even the tab divider page got more favs.
What are your favorite pages in the NASA Graphics Standards Manual?
From the introductory letter in the guide:
We have adopted a new system of graphics-the visual communications system by which we are known to those who read our publications, see our vehicle markings and signboards and the logotype that unmistakably brands them as NASA’s.
The new system focuses on a new logotype, in which the letters “N-A-S-A” are reduced to their simplest form, replacing the red, white and blue circular emblem with the white block letters.
I think the new logotype is pleasing to the eye and gives a feeling of unity, technological precision, thrust and orientation toward the future. Unity, tech nology, pioneering achievement-that’s what NASA is all about.
This manual is a reference book for NASA designers. It is the official policy document regarding NASA identification (use of logotype), communication in general and sets the tone and level of quality for all NASA graphics.
Do any of the pages in the guide stand out to you?