Identity is no small matter. Everyone from the largest conglomerates to the smallest mom- and-pop shops struggle to create a presence that will be remembered. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is no different. Formed in 1958, the foundling organization enjoyed early triumph when in 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the moon.
Post Armstrong, however, NASA became temporarily lost for its next mission, and many wondered of its necessity after the race to the moon had been won. Around that time the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) stepped in and made a push for a program they called the "Federal Graphics Improvement Program." NASA was among the first to enjoy the benefits.
In 1974 the NEA brought in design firm Danne & Blackburn, whom they charged with completely revamping NASA's identity. Owners Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn delivered a complete manual of letterheads, typefaces, graphics and even language that was meant to help form a cohesive brand identity. This new identity was largely led by an innovative new logo referred to as the "Worm."
With the passage of time, NASA eventually moved away from the "Worm" and returned to its original logo, the "Meatball." However, 23 years after the rebranding, Pentagram's Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, who were in charge of last year's MTA Graphics Standards Manual reissue, reconnected with Danne & Blackburn and asked that the manual be turned into a hardcover book.
The new reissue will include a foreword from the designer, archival materials, and an essay from Christopher Bonanos.