The Story Behind NASA's Legendary Logo Design


Whenever I come across interesting articles on the creative industry (filmmaking, video production & post, advertising, design, etc.), I clip them and send them out in a weekly e-newsletter.

A few weeks ago I read this article on the famous NASA logo, which traces its history and its legacy. I encourage you to read the story if you work in a creative field, even if it isn't design. I'm sure you can find applications to your own work.

Here are a few things that stood out to me as I read the story:

  • Establish consistency and continuity. Whether it's setting design standards, or any other creative endeavor, make sure that everyone (managers, employees, vendors, etc.) are working together and understand the parameters. 
  • Think minimal. The original NASA logo was intricate, hard to reproduce, and busy. The redesigned logo was clean, minimal, easy to reproduce, legible from distances, and could easily be placed on everything from ID badges to vehicles.
  • Stay true to your vision. Anyone who has worked in a creative field knows that some clients will push back on a proposed idea. A client's objection might not be because of your idea. It may be because the client doesn't quite understand your vision. It might take some convincing on your part. Be prepared to defend your choices and know how to answer a client's questions.
  • Things don't always end well. Even after all the time and energy invested in a creative project, a client may just decide to move in a different direction. There have been moments in my career when I've been very proud of the videos I've produced, only to see the client pivot at the last minute and go in a different direction. I know I'm not the only one.

What do you think? What other lessons can be learned from this story? Leave your thoughts in the Comments.