The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Design Program is a modernist vision for an optimistic future. The logo (often referred to as the “worm”) evokes qualities of unity, technical precision, scientific capabilities and uniqueness. Reduced to its simplest form; the one width, continuous-stroke letters are as contemporary today as when the logo was first introduced by Richard Danne (Design Director) and Bruce Blackburn (Designer) at Danne & Blackburn, New York, NY) more than 37 years ago. How then, in 1992, after 19 years, did such an emblematic design program for a future-oriented Federal Agency be dropped for it’s previous (now current) Insignia (the “meatball”)? What follows is a heartfelt personal account from Mr. Danne on the obstacles and achievements of one of the century’s most important and widely published design programs.
After visiting world cities in recent years, the members of the AGI Switzerland thought it would be appealing to create a contrast this time around.Biel/Bienne, the city at the foot of the Jura Mountains, is even unknown to many Swiss. It is considered the epitome of averageness, although it is the home of a watch industry of world renown. As a venue, what makes Biel appealing in particular is its apparent ordinariness and normalcy: the other Switzerland. The bilingual city is situated on the language border; it is exceptional as a multicultural living space with 125 nationalities and 65 linguistic groups. It is located in a wine-growing region and its cuisine is distinguished by that of neighbouring France. The unobtrusive beauty of the Jura range and the lake and river landscapes enable restful hours.In our time-proven manner, we will present member contributions, perspectives and professional alternatives at the Kongresshaus/Palais des Congrès in Biel between 21 and 25 September 2015.Those who wish to extend their stay in Biel can visit the cities of Basel, Berne, Zürich and Lausanne by rail in less than an hour.The AGI Switzerland is looking forward to welcoming our friends and members to Biel.
A while ago, I made a comment on this thread in Reddit. In the comment I said: “Actually…. this is really not a good design process…” and was down voted to hell. I can understand the sentiment and I don’t generally disagree with the process of sketching, digitizing and refinement, but I do have an issue with the way such logos are defined in specifications. Here I want to introduce a concept of geometric shape construction that can be utilized to make your logo design better and specifications more clear. Now, you might ask, what the heck is CSC? I don’t want to read the Wikipedia article, it’s too damn long. Well, CSC is an ancient technique utilized by mathematicians to define geometric shapes. Basically you can reproduce a geometric shape just by using a straightedge (without measurement marks) and a compass.
There’s no way of 100% future proofing every design you make but there are strategies, design guidelines & standards, mobile-first techniques, and many other approaches that will allow your work to look awesome on devices that haven’t even been invented yet. Look beyond the scope of your current project (believe me, it will be interacted with on devices that don’t exist yet) and be ready to embrace new solutions so that the experiences you create can tap into their future potential.
I’ll actually be talking about this galaxy, our earth to be exact, but the opening sequence to Star Wars always brings up a kind of romanticized nostalgia for new tech introduced via sci-fi (you’ll see why this bears relevance soon).
In 1963 Hermann Zapf walked into an American design school, snapped a piece of chalk in half and, with its side edge, drew a perfect lowercase g on the blackboard. He went on to give an inspired lecture on the different angles that a calligrapher uses when holding a pen, and how strokes differ between calligraphy and typography – all illustrated, not with slides, but with impeccably executed chalk drawings.
Zapf, who has died aged 96, showed off these sumptuous drawing skills on many occasions over his long life, not always with the calligrapher’s usual tools of nibbed pen or fine brush. He could draw a faultless line just as easily with chalk on a board or with a ballpoint on a school pad, and in 1960 was chosen to write out the Preamble of the Charter of the United Nations, held at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. He also brought his calligraphic talent to the design of a string of typefaces over seven decades, a period in which the industry moved rapidly from hot metal typesetting through photocomposition to digitisation. Zapf is one of the few people who designed letters for all three methods.
Immediately after the second world war, Frankfurt became the centre of West Germany’s book trade. Its type foundries needed new Roman types since blackletter, the traditional script once regarded by the Nazis as quintessentially German, had been replaced by the Roman alphabet as the standard in 1941. Zapf worked for the Stempel foundry and in 1949 he designed the Palatino typeface for it.