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NASA’s 1975 Graphics Standards Manual to be Reissued

09.22.15 | By
NASA’s 1975 Graphics Standards Manual to be Reissued
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Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth, the geniuses behind the reissue of the 1970 New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual, designed by Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda of Unimark, are planning to, once again, give us another chance at owning a piece of legendary design history. This time they’ve chosen the NASA Graphics Standards Manual, which was designed in 1974 by Danne & Blackburn, and then rescinded by NASA in 1992. As a way to celebrate the 42-year-old design, the duo is introducing the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue, a hardcover version of the original.

Original manual

Original manual

Back in 1974, NASA reached out to young design firm Danne & Blackburn to create a vision for the space agency as part of the “Federal Graphics Improvement Program” initiated by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). They were awarded the project, which launched the acclaimed Worm logo, and the manual was released as a 8.5 x 11″ ring binder.

A page spread from the original manual

A page spread from the original manual

The pages include elaborate instructions on every aspect of how NASA’s new identity came to be. The finished manual was an attempt at uniting all the different departments through a singular visual design.

A page spread from the original manual showing NASA's worm logo

A page spread from the original manual showing NASA’s worm logo

In 1992, NASA decides to go back to their previous “Meatball” logo and rescinds the Worm. Luckily for us, Reed and Smyth contacted Danne and were able to acquire high quality scans of his personal copy, which will now be the pages you see in the new hardcover book.

A page from the original manual

A page from the original manual

Just like their previous manual, they launched this one on Kickstarter (which is already fully-funded) letting design-loving folks get their own copy.

A page from the original manual

A page from the original manual

A page from the original manual showing NASA Red color swatches

A page from the original manual showing NASA Red color swatches

Closeup of NASA Red color swatches

Closeup of NASA Red color swatches

A page spread from the original manual

A page spread from the original manual

A page spread from the original manual

A page spread from the original manual

Rendering of the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

Rendering of the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

Rendering of the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

Rendering of the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

Rendering of a page spread from the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

Rendering of a page spread from the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

Rendering of a page spread from the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

Rendering of a page spread from the NASA Graphics Standards Manual Reissue

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.