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A proposal to go where no NASA logo has gone before

If you could redesign any brand, which one would it be? This was the question Viewpoint, the bi-annual magazine about trends, brands, futures, and market strategies, asked us to consider. Within minutes we were unanimous about our choice: NASA.

The first recurring element we noticed in NASA’s previous logos was that perennial truth: what looks futurist today looks passé tomorrow. Take the “meatball” logo. In our eyes, it comes from a former era: the cold war. Another thing is that tomorrow comes faster today than it did yesterday. We wanted to account for this.

Geoff Cook, Partner

From the start, we wanted to find something that didn’t require explanation. Something that, on a basic and universal level was about what NASA is and does.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner

Our home has become bigger than just the earth. Space is no longer there, it’s here. We also like the fact that “THERE” contains the entire journey in a single word.

Geoff Cook, Partner

Of course NASA is an American agency, but we wanted to downplay its nationalist side and sidestep the flag-planting mentality. So, the “US” in the tagline isn’t “U.S.” It’s all of us. Everyone on earth.

Geoff Cook, Partner

A lot of NASA images are excessively tied to the idea of American power. We wanted to get back to the idea of NASA taking giant steps for mankind. We’re all along for the ride.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner

Our project was covered far and wide by the press, like here or here, and was highly controversial. You can’t touch such a logo without inciting emotional reactions. By in large, the design community was extremely positive about our proposal, whereas the masses were vehemently less so. Either way, it is the responsibility of design companies to open such debates; to always reconsider whether a brand’s identity is in line with its position in the world today.

Geoff Cook, Partner

Amazingly, our proposal for NASA’s rebrand created such buzz that some began to believe it was the real NASA logo. The reaction provoked us to send our proposal to NASA. They turned it down.

Geoff Cook, Partner