This past May 30, NASA, in partnership with SpaceX, successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the first from U.S. soil in nine years as well as being the first ever to come from a commercial partnership. The event was broadcast and promoted as Launch America, which has been a theme for launches associated with the Commercial Crew Program and has now been expanded into a formal graphics identity for use on NASA TV and other NASA channels and platforms. Spearheaded by Paul Wizikowski who was the Executive Producer and Creative Director of the entire Launch America broadcast the identity and broadcast graphics were designed by Oxcart Assembly.
Design Week has a good interview with Paul Wizikowski where, among other things, he equates this project to the NFL’s Monday Night Football: “Within Monday Night Football, you have the overarching entity of the NFL entity brand, which in our case would be Launch America, and then you have each individual team’s branding too, which this time was NASA and SpaceX, but in the future will also be NASA and Boeing.”
LAUNCH AMERICA (LA) has been a theme for launches associated with the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) and has now been expanded into a formal graphics identity for use on NASA TV and other NASA channels and platforms. More specifically, NASA has developed a LAUNCH AMERICA graphics package for CCP launch awareness campaigns, CCP launch press briefings and CCP launch broadcasts beginning with the first crewed CCP flight, NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2. This work is a series of animations and graphic design elements based upon the pre-existing LAUNCH AMERICA logo and incorporating NASA’s ‘Meatball’ and ‘Worm’ branding as well as SpaceX branding. This guide is expected to grow with each new CCP mission to weave in the stories and partnerships involved.
The logo wasn’t designed by Oxcart Assembly and while I couldn’t find an official credit I am guessing it was designed in-house at NASA, which has a knack for so-bad-they-are-good graphics and this one fits the style with an awkward drawing of the International Space Station, some generic-looking sans serif, and obligatory stars. It’s not super bad but it’s not necessarily good. It’s important to start this review with acknowledging the logo because it highlights the Herculean achievement from Paul and Oxcart Assembly to take that as the starting point and build something… anything… good. In a hypothetical world where I am approached to do this, I would have been like “Nah, sir, can’t do anything with this. Pass.” But not this team, so major pats on the back to them.
The first step was to ignore the typography in the logo —