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In most cases, NASA uses one of its three main logos. The most popular ones are the so-called meatball and seal designs, but the “worm” logo is also used under certain circumstances. In addition to this, NASA may develop new emblems for certain projects.

Who designed the NASA logo?
Richard Danne

The official seal was developed by a NASA Lewis Research Center illustrator. The so-called “meatball” insignia was designed on its basis by James Modarelli, the head of Reports Division at Lewis Research Center. The authors of the “worm” logo (1975-1992) were Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn.

Meaning and history

NASA Logo history
One of the most reputable and influential organizations in the world, NASA, hasn’t had many logo redesigns during its history, but the two that are still in use by the Administration are very well known across the globe and both have funny nicknames — “Meatball” and “Worm”.
Though there was one more logo, not that famous. It was a visual identity for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA, the predecessor of the NASA, formed in 1915.

1915 — 1958

The logo of NACA featured a stylized badge with wings, colored in yellow with the black outline. The wordmark, executed in black was placed in the central part of the emblem and written in a simple yet stylish sans-serif typeface.
It was a well-balanced and professionally executed badge, which brilliantly reflected the nature of the organization and its purposes.

1959 — Today

NASA was born in 1958, and its logo — one year after, in 1959. It was developed by one of the Administration’s employees, James Modarelli, and instantly got its “Meatball” tag. The logo, which was used until 1975 and brought back in 1992, is composed of a blue circle, representing the sky, with white stars, and a red V-shaped line or ribbon, which was aimed to represent the aeronautics in general.
The wordmark in bold serif lettering is colored white and placed in the center of the circle, with a thin white orbit around it.
This emblem also became a base for the NASA seal, which is only used for special events. It is a circular blue badge with a wide white frame and yellow outline. The red “National Aeronautics And Space Administration USA” title is placed around the frame’s perimeter. The yellow of the outline is balanced by the yellow placed, placed on a blue background inside the circle. The red V ribbon and a white orbit are placed around the planet.

1975 — Today

The “Worm” insignia was designed for NASA in 1975 and then was replaced by the circular emblem in 1992, but brought back as a secondary badge in 2020. It is a logotype, where capital letters are executed in a custom smooth sans-serif typeface, featuring rounded angles and distinct cuts. Both “A” of the inscription have their horizontal bars removed.
The smooth contour of the inscription resembles a worm in motion, this is where the funny nickname came from.

The “seal” symbol

NASA symbol
When NASA holds or takes part in award presentations and ceremonies, the company uses a special “dressed-up” version of its official emblem. This symbol is called “seal”. In addition to the stars, orbital path, and vector elements that can be seen at the regular NASA logo, the “seal” also includes two planets and “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration U.S.A.” inscription.

The “worm” emblem

nasa worm logo
In 1975 Richard Danne and Bruce Blackburn developed a new emblem for the space organization. This move was a part of the Federal Graphics Improvement Program. All the lines forming the word “NASA” had the same width, while the bars from the “A” characters disappeared, and thus the customized type resembled a worm. That’s why the emblem was nicknamed the “NASA worm”. This version of the emblem was used for 17 years, then the company decided to get back to its roots and return to its “meatball” insignia.


Font of the NASA Logo
The “meatball” NASA logo features a bold serif type. Every character is capitalized.


Color of the NASA Logo
The “meatball” insignia uses three colors: a bright hue of red (Pantone 185), dark blue somewhat reminiscent of the evening sky (Pantone 286), and white.
nasa emblem