Monday, March 09, 2009

meatball vs. worm

A couple of years ago I wrote a short piece on the history of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's logo. This weekend, The New York Times featured their own discussion on the subject in their Men's Fashion special magazine. Here's a quick recap: In 1959, NASA started out with its Insignia, nicknamed "the meatball" (top). A couple of decades later, the agency revamped their image with the slick Logotype, better know as "the worm" (bottom). But then in 1992, in an effort to revive their image of their Apollo glory days, NASA decided to bring back the meatball, which is today the administration's official symbol (they also have a separate seal, which is used mostly for internal and ceremonial purposes).

The Times added some curious tidbits to the discussion, but what I found noteworthy was what they didn't mention. Of particular interest was that they neglected to point out—as I did in my piece [subscription required]—that the meatball was and is a royal pain in the butt for designers. For one thing, the official colors don't reproduce well on printed materials. And for another, the tiny stars are really hard to see in certain contexts. As a result, NASA has its own special page dedicated to directing graphic artists and other media types how to use the meatball properly . . . and improperly.

Okay, so I thought it would be fun to poll you readers are there (if there are any of you left!) to gauge your preference. So what shall it be? Meatball or worm?

1 comment:

  1. Oh meatball is so superior! Anyone can build a worm logo... meatball is forever! Take the lettering off of both of them. Which one do you instantly recognize? That's right!


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