The Worm Is Back!


NASA says the worm is back!

The original NASA insignia is one of the most powerful symbols in the world. A bold, patriotic red chevron wing piercing a blue sphere, representing a planet, with white stars, and an orbiting spacecraft. Today, we know it as “the meatball”. However, with 1970’s technology, it was a difficult icon to reproduce, print, and many people considered it a complicated metaphor in what was considered, then, a modern aerospace era.

Enter a cleaner, sleeker design born of the Federal Design Improvement Program and officially introduced in 1975. It featured a simple, red unique type style of the word NASA. The world knew it as “the worm”. Created by the firm of Danne & Blackburn, the logo was honored in 1984 by President Reagan for its simplistic, yet innovative design.

NASA was able to thrive with multiple graphic designs. There was a place for both the meatball and the worm. However, in 1992, the 1970s brand was retired – except on clothing and other souvenir items – in favor of the original late 1950s graphic.

Until today.

The worm is back. And just in time to mark the return of human spaceflight on American rockets from American soil.

This excites me to no end!

Now, okay, I’ll admit, I’m probably biased towards the ‘worm’ design because it’s the one I grew up with. And I know “the meatball” — the older style logo — has just as many fans. Enough to bring it back in the 90s.

I never understood that roll back.

NASA!  Space! The Future!!

The “worm”, to me, embodies that spirit. It’s a simple, yet futuristic logo. It used to fill my mind with amazing visions back then.

When I see the “meatball”, I think… backwards. Old. A lack of progress. Quaint sci-fi rocket ships. Black and white footage. Pre-moon landing era.

But! I know the “meatball” means a great deal to other people, too. So I thought, why not merge them? Put the “worm” on top of the “meatball”? Best of both worlds!

And, as usual, that means it’s already been done.😉

Check out the “New Heritage” design:


I don’t know who the creator is that did the edit (hit me on Twitter if you know and I’ll update this), but it’s exactly what I’d imagined. This fusion would be perfection to me. It pays tribute to the past, while integrating the future.

But, in the meantime, I’m going to giggle excitedly to myself now that they’re moving… back to the future. 😉