Author Topic: Worm or Meatball?  (Read 655 times)

Offline JayUtah

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Worm or Meatball?
« on: May 30, 2020, 01:31:00 PM »
NASA's so-called Worm logo is back.  Which do we like, and why?
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2020, 06:06:36 PM »
I'm kinda old fashioned and like the meatball though I wouldn't be pouting if the worm turned.

Offline Ranb

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2020, 11:44:09 PM »
Worm.  I need things spelled out to me in big letters.

Offline LunarOrbit

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2020, 02:55:47 PM »
I prefer the Meatball, but I could accept the Wormball as a compromise.
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
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Offline jfb

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2020, 10:22:19 PM »
To me, the worm represents the post-Apollo hangover when the manned program became more about perpetuating itself than actual exploration. 

It does have the virtue of being readable from a distance, so it works on the side of a rocket or spacecraft.  Otherwise, meh.

The meatball screams late 1950s / early 1960s design aesthetic, which is weirdly both timeless and dated. As such, it appeals to me. 

Offline PDI-11

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2020, 12:29:42 PM »
I prefer the meatball. It is elegant and somehow inspiring. The worm is a font, not a design for a logo.

I think it was Administrator Bridenstine who said (during the Crew Dragon countdown) something like there are generations out there who grew up with the worm logo. Since that is what they grew up with, that is what they know and like. I can appreciate that.

Offline bknight

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2020, 12:06:01 PM »
I prefer the Meatball, but I could accept the Wormball as a compromise.

I agree with that statement.  Original is good but if need be change is muted by redesigning the original.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
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Offline Zakalwe

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2020, 12:22:21 PM »
Who wants worms in their meatballs?  :o

I prefer the meatball, its more classy and aspirational to me. The worm is too 1970's- all chest hair, toxic macho and reeking of Brut33  ;D
"The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' " - Isaac Asimov

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2020, 05:32:21 PM »
Who wants worms in their meatballs?  :o

I prefer the meatball, its more classy and aspirational to me. The worm is too 1970's- all chest hair, toxic macho and reeking of Brut33  ;D

Oi! Nothing wrong with Brut 33! Next thing you know, you'll be bagging out Blue Stratos! (JK)

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2020, 12:23:51 PM »
I agree with a lot of the sentiments expressed.

The Meatball is nostalgic for many of us.  It's the "simplified" version of the agency's formal seal.


But even in terms of what was known about graphic design in the 1950s, it's an objectively terrible design.  It's crowded, containing too many elements piled on top of each other.  It doesn't scale down well -- the stars end up looking like reproduction artifacts.  It doesn't reproduce well in grayscale -- the red airfoil and the blue background are the same value, differing only by chroma.  Sadly none of these problems are fixed by using the so-called Wormball.  All that does is change the typeface.  The typeface is the least of the Meatball's problems.

The Worm is very much a 1970s design.  It is more than just a typeface, though.  In the jargon of graphic design, it's a "logotype" -- a logo made from elements of type, often custom designed.  And strangely enough, some people find the Worm nostalgic now too.  I think that depends on when you started paying attention to space programs.  I applaud NASA for trying to look more modern in anticipation of the Space Shuttle.  Keeping designs fresh for the times is also a tenet of graphic design.  But it's still anachronistic, even if it is highly recognizable, good design, and as dear to some as the Meatball is to others.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2020, 05:04:27 PM »
Do you think it might be worth NASA having a competition for a new logo?

How about just us? Has anyone got an inner artist just waiting to burst forth with creativity?

Offline raven

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2020, 05:46:14 PM »
The worm has its uses, but I think as an emblem of the organization, the meatball is a better fit. I know if I got a NASA patch, I'd rather wear the latter.

Offline JayUtah

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2020, 03:43:58 PM »
A problem for graphic design is that the official seals and emblems of U.S. government entities are traditionally circular.  The name of the agency circumscribes the outside.  Often the graphic is a riff on the good old eagle.  Many can be quite detailed, in the heraldic sense.  All this wreaks havoc on traditional graphic design approaches.  "Simplifying" the official seal to make it more compatible with modern needs is probably not the way to go.  NASA's seal will probably have to stay somewhat the way it already is -- the formal one, I mean, not the Meatball logo.

The Internal Revenue Service has a logo that's separate from its seal, one of the few large agencies to do so.  The logo doesn't try to reproduce the seal or simplify it.  It's easily recognizable and designed according to the principles of good graphic design, for purposes such as variable scaling and monochrome reproduction.  Yes, I'm sure we could come up with a more timeless logo.  But it's legitimately a hard task.  This is why companies refresh their logos from time to time.  Graphic design, with a few notable examples, always seems to be a product of its time.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline raven

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Re: Worm or Meatball?
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2020, 05:18:40 PM »
Excruciatingly so. You can usually date books to the decade in the 20th century just by looking at the graphic design elements.