NASA logo and some history of the Agency

This is a look at the NASA logo and some history behind the organization.

The nicknames—meatball and worm have one thing in common. Can you figure it out? Still, can you name the organization whose slogan is “We make air and space available to everyone?” I think the second question gives you an obvious hint.

The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) is the institution in focus. It has and continued to lead one of the ambitious and adventurous space explorations in history. Its contribution to the world of science and technology is gigantic and impactful.

Aside from its visionary leadership, the Agency has been propelled by a unique and recognizable logo that’s too influential. Everywhere you turn in science, technology, communication, and the military, you’ll find the NASA logo impacting lives and causing changes.

For nearly six decades, NASA has used two official logos with funny names: the meatball and the worm. The NASA worm logo was a red wordmark logotype that resembles a worm. It served NASA for about seventeen years before the meatball logo came to represent the brand again.

The meatball logo is the current face of the Agency. It comprised a blue circle frame, white stars, red v–shape, and a white circular orbit. The circle represents the planets, the stars for space, the v–ribbon signifies aeronautics, and the orbit stands for space travel.

The NASA logo is timeless and can scale on multiple promotional channels. It’s a great explorer on t-shirts, vehicles, websites, spacecraft, television, billboards, and other collaterals. 

The NASA Logo Evolution

The Agency’s logo has evolved only twice in many years. It seems the stakeholders are comfortable with the personality of their iconic trademark. I’m delighted to share with you the only two updates the logo has seen in a long while.

NASA’s 60th anniversary Logo

1915 to 1958—The Original NACA logo

For about forty–three years, NASA used a winged logotype. The winged frame came in yellow with a thick black outline. At the middle of the frame were the initials—NASA, which aligned with the organization’s service. The wordmark was designed in a narrow sans–serif typeface.

1959 to 1975—The Meatball logo

Popularly called the Meatball logo, it served the research agency for about sixteen years. This official trademark featured a round blue frame with several other graphic elements. These elements are white stars, a red ribbon, and a white orbit. The designer placed the inscription NASA at the center of the blue background.

1975 to 1992—The Worm logo

NASA used its famously called Worm logo for nearly seventeen years. It was a custom wordmark logo executed in bold sans–serif font. It had rounded edges and cuts. You can find the cuts on its double letters—A, where their vertical bars had been erased. This stylized writing makes the custom logotype look like a worm, hence the nickname.

1992 to Present—The Meatball Logo

The meatball logo seems to do some magic for NASA. After seventeen years of relegating it into the background, the blue, white, and red planetary logo is back. When you inspect, you’ll find no change made to its original one.

Why does NASA Logo Works?

1.      The NASA Logo Is Relevant:

Widely influential logos are significant to the target market they serve. The NASA logo design with its graphic elements of stars, orbit, and planet is important to its mission of exploring the solar system.

2.      The NASA Logo Is Memorable:

The NASA trademark is highly memorable. Its creative use of blue, red, white, and other recognizable design elements creates positive connections with its stakeholders. This emotional connection sticks in the minds of its audience and helps them to remember it.

3.      The NASA Logo Is Timeless:

Timelessness is a powerful character of the best logos in the world. The NASA logo design is infinite because it has remained relevant and effective for decades. For instance, the current logo first served the Agency in 1959, and it’s still exuding powerful charisma.

4.      The NASA Logo Is Simple:

With a short attention span among people, designers aim for simple logo designs. Though some people may argue that the NASA logo contains many graphic elements, it’s not overly elaborate. It’s modest enough for its audience to understand its emotions.

5.      The Logo Is Versatile:

The ability to fit multiple mediums is a basic but powerful requirement of all compelling logos. With its relatively modest layout, the NASA official trademark can scale on many promotional channels without colliding in space.

NASA Design Elements

NASA has familiar graphic elements that relate to space and its heavenly bodies. These include stars, a planet, an orbit, and colors that naturally align with the universe. We can also take a walk into space to further explore a few of its design elements. Let’s go!

NASA Shape And Symbols

1.      A Wing:

Before the birth of NASA in 1958, the Agency used a winged logotype. A wing represents the ability to fly. It also symbolizes the power of mobility, balance, and imagination. The wing resonates well with the aim of the organization.

2.      A Circle:

The meatball NASA emblem has a huge blue circle as its frame. It represents the universe or globe. Aside from this emotion, a circle signifies unity, community, and eternity. As an agency that explores and researches the world, it’s a suitable design element.

3.      A Dot:

The NASA logo has several dots. These sparkling white dots represent the stars. It’s a heavenly body that signifies beauty, purity, and truth. It can also convey motivation, protection, and spirituality. Again, this is a fantastic graphic element for an agency that studies space and time.

4.      A Ribbon:

A ribbon is one shape in the NASA logo design. It came in red and in the form of the letter–v. This red ribbon promotes awareness and support for exploring the universe and its heavenly bodies.

5.      An Orbit:

In space, there are multitudes of heavenly bodies moving around a star or planet. To emphasize this in the logo design, the orbit sign was used. The orbit sign conveys the path taken by the celestial bodies while in space. This is another excellent shape for an agency that research space.

NASA Logo Color Palette

1.      Yellow Color:

The hue yellow beautified NASA’s winged logo design. It’s a cheerful color that radiates happiness, optimism, and hope. It also boosts confidence and inspires creativity. The color of sunshine can also evoke negative emotions like madness, egoism, and cowardice.

2.      Blue Color:

NASA’s meatball NASA emblem is colored in blue, and it depicts the universe. The color of the sky and ocean signifies serenity, stability, and wisdom. This peaceful color can also promote trust and calm. Its negative vibes include coldness, sadness, and timidity.

3.      Black Color:

The NASA Logo color of darkness is a mysterious color that radiates power, authority, and security. This intimidating color marks the outline and wordmark of NASA’s winged emblem. It can also exude negative emotions such as death, evil, and sadness. It combines well with yellow.

4.      White Color:

The white color plays a supporting role in the meatball trademark. It dresses the stars, the orbit, and the brand’s initials—NASA. This cheerful color signifies purity, cleanliness, and goodness. You can also use it to convey virginity, humility, and perfection.

5.      Red Color:

The hue of red can’t be ruled out in NASA’s logo design. It’s the mainstay color in the famously known worm wordmark. Red, the color of fire and blood, symbolizes passion, longing, and joy. It can also represent rage, stress, and anger. These are some of its negative feelings. 

What Font Is NASA Using?

The NASA font used in 1959 and on the current meatball logo is like Bambi and Qeskile Voyage Medium typeface. But the red worm logotype came in a custom sans–serif Std Bold and Nasalization Bold. They are clean, readable, and attractive.

Who Designed the NASA Logo?

Different graphic artists owned the credit to the various logos that NASA has used and continued to use. For instance, James Modarelli, an employee of NASA, designed the iconic meatball logo in 1959. And the space agency used it till 1975 when it paved the way for another one. The famed red wordmark, which was nicknamed the worm, was crafted by Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn in 1975. This is the symbol that replaced the meatball logo.    

Who Started NASA?

Born in Denison, Texas on 14th October 1890, Dwight David Eisenhower owned his parental lineage to David Jacob and Ida Elizabeth Eisenhower. From seven children, all males, Dwight was the third child. He was brought up in a poor but hardworking and robust religious family.

Dwight considered Abilene, Kansas, as his hometown, where his family moved to in 1892. He was a fun-loving youngster who took an interest in exploring the outdoors. His childhood friend, Bob Davis, taught him how to fish, cook, play cards, and hunt for animals.

He attended and graduated from Abilene High School in 1909. His favorite subjects were history, arithmetic, and spelling. His mother’s collections of books on history ignite his passion for the military and develop his interest in reading. He became addicted to books.

Both Dwight and his brother, Edgar, wanted to attend college. But there was no financial support to see them through. So they decided to work to support each other to graduate from college. Thus, one of them would work to support the education of the other and vice versa.

With this agreement in place, Dwight found a job at Belle Springs Creamery as a night supervisor. This provided the needed funds for his brother, Edgar, to enroll in college. He supported him for about two years before entering the U.S. Military Academy.

The decision to join the military broke the mother’s heart and put her in tears. She hated wars and doesn’t want to see any of her children in military uniforms. After graduating in 1915, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and posted to San Antonio, Texas.  

In Texas, Dwight met Mamie Geneva Doud, proposed to her on Valentine’s Day, and they got married on 1st July 1916. They had two sons—Doud Dwight and John Sheldon Doud. Having devoted his life to military service and achieving a lot, he caught President Truman’s eyes.

Mr. President made him the supreme commander of NATO—North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1950. He traveled in 1951 to France to occupy his new position and to execute his duties. Dwight resigned from NATO in 1952 to run on the ticket of the Republican Party.

His campaign message was simple: K1C2, which means Korean war, communism, and corruption. These were the political issues that formed the core of his presidential campaign. He won a landslide against Adlai Stevenson with 442 to 89 of the Electoral College votes.

On 28th March 1969, Dwight David Eisenhower passed away at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. He became the 34th President of the United States of America from 1953 to 1961 and the mastermind behind NASA.

How NASA Got Started?

The flaming desire to dominate space and the quest to be a world superpower pushed the United States of America to create NASA—National Aeronautic and Space Agency in July 1958. As a political and economic power, the U.S. doesn’t want any nation to outwit her in any invention.

This is an open secret and a bitter pill for most people to swallow. On 4th October 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, its maiden satellite, into space. The basketball-sized object weighed 183 pounds and spent one hour thirty–eight minutes orbiting the earth.

The United States, a powerful nation that invests massively into science, technology, and research, has been overtaken by the Soviet Union. It caught them unaware. But the American Dream is on—Yes, everything is possible with the Americans.

A month later, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik II; it came with a dog named Laika. It was their second satellite into space. In revenge, the United States launched Vanguard in December. It collapsed after takeoff. They seemed to lose the space war against the Soviet Union.

However, the goddess of space smiled on the United States when she launched Explorer I on 31st January 1958. President Dwight Eisenhower sent a legislation draft to Congress creating NASA. And on 29th July, Congress passed the legislation, and President Dwight signed the Act into law.

The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) officially opened on 1st October 1958. Mr. T. Keith Glennan, who had Mr. Hugh Dryden as his deputy administrator, became the Agency’s first administrator. They were sworn in at the White House on 19th August. 

How Big Is NASA?

NASA, the independent Agency of the United States, was crafted from NASA in 1958. NACA stands for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. The National Aeronautics and Space Agency is a civilian group tasked with peacefully exploring space.

It sits on 1,620 acres of land with about a hundred complex facilities. Its head office in Washington D.C. provides political leadership to all its ten satellite centers. By the end of 2020, it has about 17,373 employees, and its annual budget stood at $22.629 billion.

Since its inception, it has led several adventurous explorations. Some of these include the Mercury Project, the Gemini Project, the Apollo Project, and the Skylab Project. Through the Apollo Project, NASA put the first man on the moon on 20th July 1969.

Neil Armstrong, an astronaut, became the first man on earth to walk on the moon. It was one of the most expensive U.S. scientific expeditions, costing $20 billion in 1960. In today’s value, it’s about $223 billion. From this, you can imagine the ambitious projects NASA has set its eyes on.   

My Last Note On NASA

NASA’s contribution to the advancement of scientific and aeronautical knowledge is felt around the world. But it took the victory of a political foe, the USSR, and the political will–power of President Dwight David Eisenhower to establish it.

The meatball NASA logo has not always seen success. Though it’s leading an influential agency, it has encountered some fatal disasters on its mission to conquer space. These setbacks haven’t deterred its administrators and financiers from backing off from its mission. 

This is a priceless lesson for aspiring entrepreneurs. Success always seems to come after many failures. Whenever you fail, it’s a sign that you aren’t hitting the right note yet and that there’s something else you need to focus on. Enjoy every moment of failure and triumph.